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Unless you are a professional marketer, it can be hard to know where best to spend your marketing dollars. You have to rely on a marketing expert to guide you, but how do you know if what they are selling is snakes oil or not. The reality is that many marketers sell businesses serves you don’t need or aren’t effective.
Of course, with marketing, not all of your money will see a positive ROI – that’s just the nature of the business. Think of your marketing budget a bit like the stock market. Put 80% into mutual funds that will see results in the long run but use 20% to experiment and put into more riskier propositions. You might lose that 20% but you also might hit it big. Any marketer who guarantees you immediate results is overselling themselves.
I’ve put together a list of things you should be wary of and if a marketer tries to sell you on one or more of these services then you will be armed with the right questions to ask them.
SEO – Now don’t get me wrong, SEO is important but the way a lot of companies do it is ineffective. SEO experts make it sound very technical and difficult but it really isn’t that difficult to setup and maintain. Many moons ago, you could trick Google with SEO techniques but right now, if you want to rank on Google, you need to be revenant to your target market – that’s it. It’s as simple as it sounds. If people are searching for what you offer or provide then you’ll rank higher.
This means you mainly need good content on your website. Once you have your initial setup, the only thing that is going to move the dial in your favour is fresh and relevant content. If a marketer tries to sell you a monthly package without a major blogging component, you are wasting your money.
Pay-Per-Click Advertising – It’s so easy to spend a ton of money on Pay-per-click advertising and not see any results. Get frustrated and give up. You need to monitor your Google and Facebook ads for at least thirty minutes on a daily basis. Look at your results, your goals, and your budget. If you’re not getting the desired results then you need to come up with a hypothesis and try something different.
If you can’t do it personally then hire a professional to optimize your ads for you. It may seem expensive but if they can bring your cost per click down significantly then the investment will be worth it as then you can then scale your sales quickly. Pay-per-click can be effective, especially for small businesses but only if done correctly.
IT – This is another department that is easy for companies to waste money in. It usually comes down to not understanding what IT companies are selling. Again you should be careful of any monthly packages IT companies try to sell you. You need good IT setup and backup but don’t give the IT company too much control over your systems, otherwise there is a possibility they will take advantage.
Social Media – Social media, as any millennial can tell you, is a big time suck. This is the case for businesses as well. Unfortunately, most companies do social media poorly. Social media is all about being personal and engaging. It’s not something that should be outsourced without considerable thought. Or if it is, then the social media team should work closely with the business owners to come up with some amazing original content. A lot of companies believe they should be on social media because they believe the hype but the reality is that a lot of businesses, don’t do well on social media. Usually a business needs to be image based to work well – something like a restaurant can gather an organic following, but a roofer? It’s probably best to concentrate your marketing efforts elsewhere.
PR – Is Public Relations dead? It’s not really worth the money to try and get exposure in newspapers or television shows anymore. If you want exposure, then create your own channel on Youtube or start your own blog. You’ll get about just as much exposure these days for a fraction of the cost of a traditional PR campaign. Unless someone approaches you with some very unique and intelligent tactics, then it’s best to stay clear of PR.