Most small business owners want:
- More publicity
- More sales
- More leads and
- More new customers
Some businesses need them desperately.
Business owners hear you can get these things from social media… or digital marketing… or Facebook ads or Google ads, and they want it NOW.
But many discover the hard way that it’s not that as easy as it sounds.
In my keynotes, I speak to groups of retailers, franchisees and other small business owners , giving tips and advice based on 20 years of digital and social media work, spending millions of advertising and marketing dollars for clients…
I realized last year that I had been making a big mistake.
I had been leaving out a very important piece of information!
99% of business owners can’t do digital marketing and social media themselves.
Digital marketing and social media, done well, where you get the kinds of bottom-results that business owners want – like sales, store visits, leads, profits and new customers – is a serious and complicated profession that takes years to get good at.
In the meantime, people waste a lot of time and money.
Without thinking about it, I went along with the idea that everyone can learn to be an expert marketer.
The idea that every business owner can quickly become a brilliant digital marketer is a pipe dream sold by salesmen selling online courses and tools to entrepreneurs desperate to get rich quick.
But the truth is…
Business owners need help with digital marketing. But there are a lot of pitfalls.
A lot of people say they’re Facebook ads experts, or Instagram experts, or whatever experts… but aren’t.
They may honestly think they are, or they may just want to sell you something, but they won’t help you.
A lot of young people know how to post on social media but can’t market for a real company- at least not yet.
There’s a reason why most of the digital marketing job descriptions on sites like Indeed.com ask for at least 3 years of experience… because it takes that long to learn how to be effective.
It takes at least 3 years of experience to be good enough to reliably get bottom-line results for businesses. Even that may not be enough time.
So if you’re a small business owner, you really only have 5 options with digital marketing or social media.
Here they are:
THE ONLY 5 OPTIONS FOR DIGITAL & SOCIAL MARKETING
- Do nothing.
- Do it yourself.
- Hire an inexperienced employee.
- Hire an experienced employee.
- Hire an agency.
Ok, maybe an alien could do it for you. Or magic. Or an alien with magic.
But I didn’t include those.
Let’s go through them in a little more detail:
OPTION #1: Do nothing.
Technically not really an option…
You’d be living in the 1980’s with dot-matrix printers, dial-up modems, and, well, phone books.
And the 80’s weren’t all bad, but…
Your competitors would get ahead, and you’d eventually go out of business.
OPTION #2: Do it yourself.
Like you don’t have better things to do!
…like run your business or do sales or manage people.
To do digital marketing yourself and do it well, you’ll have to sacrifice at least 10-20 hours a week… probably more.
You’ll need to invest in training courses, which are not free.
You’d better like learning and detail-work and writing and testing and math and data and analysis. Sounds like fun, right?
We have a client who is a former rocket scientist who does pretty well at understanding it. He’d agree: digital marketing is not rocket science. It’s worse.
And it will take you one to three years to learn to get reliable results, unless you’re a very lucky outlier.
We have worked with some outlier business owners, like Dr. Eric Berg, who can not only run their own businesses but also create a ton of their own content and even run their own ads for some time- and get results!
But they are the exception. And he is a doctor.
Even with someone like Dr. Berg, when he wanted to find revenue and profits in a new area like Facebook ads, it took our agency’s experience and expertise to help him do that.
So, if you’re not a scientist or a doctor… and even if you are, I wouldn’t recommend it.
OPTION #3: Hire an inexperienced employee.
Maybe you want to go cheap.
Maybe you think “young people” are magical.
Some people have experience posting in social media but don’t have any expertise in marketing businesses for bottom-line results.
They may lack the kind of digital marketing experience where they’ve driven store visits, leads or sales repeatedly.
That means- no matter what other strengths they have- they’re incompetent at digital marketing, at least right now.
You’ll have to train them (paid training courses) and wait 1-3 years to get reliable results.
And of course, as was said before, they had better like learning and detail-work and writing and testing and math and data and analysis.
Or they might be the wrong person for the job.
I can tell you from experience that it’s really hard to hire successfully for digital and social marketing solely on the basis of talent, because these jobs require a rare combination of talents (left and
right brain) and drives (OCD analysis and creativity and diligence).
You’ll find a number of people don’t have what it takes, and you will waste time investing in them, so it’s smarter to get someone who’s already stuck with it for some time and had success.
OPTION #4: Hire an experienced employee.
This is the first viable option so far.
Pay $40,000+ annually for someone with 3+ years of experience.
The only consideration here is that you may need:
- Google ad expertise
- Facebook ad expertise
- Google Analytics expertise
- E-commerce expertise
- Content marketing expertise
- And more…
And each of the above is a separate job descriptions. Each merits at least $40k annually.
So, it may be tough to get everything you need from one person. You may need to grow an entire internal marketing department.
A less committed version of this option is hiring a freelancer from a site like Upwork. Just look at lots of them and vet them thoroughly.
OPTION #5: Hire an agency.
This is the other viable option.
Pay $30,000+ annually for an expert marketing agency.
An agency can be more affordable than hiring employees.
You may get more expertise and access to more people overall. Possibly more experience across more companies and industries. That’s not always true- just make sure find out and compare when considering employees, freelancers and agencies.
Now we conclude things…
If you want to be assured you’ll grow your business, revenues and profits, then, as soon as you can afford it, hire a freelancer, employee or agency!
That’s your best insurance against wasting money and time.
Invest in expertise and experience.
Brian Carter is a popular digital marketer and keynote speaker with Fortune 500 clients like NBC, Microsoft and Humana as well as small businesses who delivers motivational keynotes with practical takeaways based his ad agency’s 15 years of daily cutting-edge work driving awareness, leads and sales for their business clients. His agency, The Brian Carter Group, creates marketing that excites customers and increases brand visibility, sales and loyalty. Brian is a bestselling author you’ve probably seen on Bloomberg TV or in Inc, Entrepreneur, The Wall Street Journal or The New York Times. He has over 250,000 online fans and reaches over 3 million people per year.