The Only 5 Ways Small Businesses Can Do Digital Marketing and Social Media

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.

Not effectively.

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 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:


  1. Do nothing.
  2. Do it yourself.
  3. Hire an inexperienced employee.
  4. Hire an experienced employee.
  5. Hire an agency.

That’s it.

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.

Choose results.

5 Ways Facebook Can Save An Entrepreneur From Business Failure

invisible400The Top 2 Causes of Failure for Entrepreneurs Are…

  1. Lack Of Funding: If you don’t have enough running capital for 3-6 months of startup, you’ll probably go out of business before you’re profitable.
  2. Lack Of Sales: If not enough people are buying from you to keep going, you’ll have to shut down.

You need money, honey. A Lack of Sales typically is caused by one of two problems:

  1. No One Knows You Exist: A lot of businesses feel invisible. You can’t sell if you’re invisible. You need more awareness- more publicity- more buzz! And of course, maybe we’re exaggerating. Some people know about you, but not enough.
  2. Product/Service No One Wants: You can’t put lipstick on a pig. No way to fix this except move on to a better idea. It’s better to test the market before committing a ton of time and money to what could be a BIG OL’ DUD.

A lot of entrepreneurs make the mistake of selling something people don’t want. They’re selling [what they think people need], not [what people want]. Don’t do that! Experts make that mistake a lot. I’ve been guilty of it myself! We do it because we think as experts we know exactly what these poor people need… But they don’t care. They want what they want. Even if we’re right, people don’t want to eat their vegetables. Don’t treat your customers like you’re their mom and they’re bratty kids. Do this instead: SELL people what they WANT… GIVE them what they want AND what they need. This makes it easy to over-deliver, which is a good way to keep customers happy. “Wow, they gave me a ton!” For example, Flintstone Vitamins: Kids want cartoons and sweets. Moms want kids to take vitamins. They each delicious-tasting Flintstones vitamins, and everybody wins. FREEDOMVITAMINS

How To Use Facebook To Ensure Entrepreneurial Success

There are five things you can do that will help a great deal- not only to avoid a lemon but to help you succeed with your marketing from the start.

  1. Identify Your Potential Buyers
  2. Research & Understand Them With Facebook Audience Insights (you need a Facebook ad account for that)
  3. Test Your Product/Service Ideas And Throw Out The Bad Ideas
  4. Test Your Slogans And Find Most Effective Ones
  5. Test Your Unique Selling Proposition


You’ll Live Or Die According To Your U.S.P.

Do you have a Unique Selling Proposition (USP) for your new company or service? Here’s how to create one. Tell us in 20 words, how is your company, product or service different from and better than the competition? What does it do for me? What’s the primary benefit? Is it for me or someone else? Here’s the formula: “[Company] is the [superlative:only/first/premier/best/fastest/biggest] [what] that delivers [what benefit] to [which people]?” For example, Brian Carter is the only social media speaker who delivers practical digital marketing takeaways, comedy-club level entertainment and inspiring motivation to marketers and business owners. Isn’t he amazing?

3 Things To Test With Facebook Ads BEFORE Going To Market

  • Test Your Product/Service Ideas: Do people really want it, not just need it? The ultimate test is to sell it, but if you can get clicks on an ad, that’s a good indicator. If you can get them to opt into something (to qualify for the beta when it’s ready, for example) that’s even better. And my favorite is Kickstarter, because you get paid for something before you’re ready to sell it.
  • Test Your Slogans: Which ones really resonate with your market? Finding out what works here will help you write your marketing copy later, and may help you prioritize how your develop your product or service now. What features or options do people care about? Getting verification on this increases your chance of success.
  • Test Your Unique Selling Proposition: Is your USP working as well as you expected? Try three different versions.

You can also survey your market with surveymonkey. Here’s one I did while working on new online course ideas: survey1 Good thing I did it, because some of the things I thought would be number one weren’t at the top of anyone’s priority list. survey2 I used the results to come up with some course ideas, and then I tested some potential course names with Facebook ads. I’m not going to show you the best ones, because I don’t want anybody creating a similar idea until mine’s ready! But I’ll show you some of the worst results: fbad2

Find Out The Demographics Of The Most Interested People

You can even use Facebook ad tests like this to find out which demographics respond best to your ideas. Whether you use that targeting later on, or just use that intel in developing your product or service, it’s supervaluable to know the age, gender and location of your best potential buyers. For example, from a tests we did a couple years ago for a financial-niche Facebook app: demographics What could you have tested about your current company? What can you test about your next project to avoid wasting time and money and start off on a stronger footing? Ok, so go do it!

Business Building Live Interview with Jay Baer

In this second episode of my series interviewing entrepreneurs, I am very excited to present Jay Baer. You probably have heard of him. He’s super smart and does everything with the highest quality and taste. Jay started five multi-million dollar businesses from scratch. He’s an acclaimed keynote speaker, entrepreneur, technology investor, social media and digital marketing consultant and author. He’s consulted for 29 of the Fortune 500. Author of two best-selling business books. Named one of America’s top 3 social media consultants. Runs the world’s #1 content marketing blog. Has given speeches to hundreds of organizations, including the US State Department and the US Olympic Committee.

Learn how Jay grew his business and what principles guide him today.

Business Building Video Interview with Michael Stelzner of Social Media Examiner

You’ve heard of Social Media Examiner and the Social Media Marketing World conference?

Michael Stelzner launched Social Media Examiner in October of 2009 and it has exploded. Last year more than 7.5 million visited the site, and they email tips daily to more than 230,000 people. Mike is also the author of two books (Launch & Writing White Papers) and is host of the Social Media Marketing Podcast. He also founded the parenting blog My Kids’ Adventures.

I interviewed him on the topic of Business Building: starting from scratch or how to grow an existing business, specifically in the digital age. Great answers. If you run a business or are thinking about starting one, watch this now!