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Don’t shoot the Internet marketing messenger

Want to know how to make an SMB (small-medium business) owner or marketer crazy? Tell them that although they are completely convinced that they need to do search engine optimization, or paid search, or whatever else they heard in passing about Internet marketing, that they need to put the brakes on. The reactions range from shock to curiosity to relief and all stops in between. So why would someone who is providing search marketing services tell someone to slow down? It’s something that is not usually native to the search marketing industry. It’s called planning and strategy.

BrickArms Lewis gun and Brodie helmet prototypes

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My experience is that business people just assume that they need to do SEO and all other forms of Internet marketing. They hear everyone talking about techniques and what everyone else is doing so in their haste to do “whatever it takes” they rush in. As a result, they get overwhelmed, get scared by the cost, and then decide to do nothing. This process is typical for the SMBs of the world.
Here’s a solution. Be warned, however, that this requires logic, common sense and a little up-front investment. If this is too much to bear, then stop reading now.
The best solution here is to do a full blown Internet marketing assessment that includes the following:

  • Complete keyword research. No matter how much business owners think they know how people would try to find their product or service online, they need to get an objective third party evaluation of the best keywords for their efforts./li>
  • Audit of current efforts. Whether Internet marketing efforts like search engine optimization (SEO), paid search, blog marketing, and social media have been used or not, there needs to be audit of the effectiveness of current efforts (if already attempted) or the possible opportunity (if nothing has been done yet).
  • Competitive analysis. There needs to be an examination of what the biggest competitors are doing online. There are many clues for success in an evaluation like this.
  • Strategy. A game plan is absolutely necessary to give the best chance for success. More often than not, businesses dive headlong into one or more techniques without having a plan–the equivalent of taking your marketing dollars and burning them for heat.
  • Up-front spending. This is the tough one for most business people. They just want results but they don’t go about it the best way (deliberately), then wonder why they wasted so much time and money. Same story that is said thousands of times a day but doesn’t have to be recreated.

So this all seems logical and sensible but so few people actually follow these steps. Why? I honestly don’t have a clue, but until it changes there are going to be many more frustrated businesses owners who wonder why their Internet marketing efforts aren’t bearing fruit. If there was ever an area that “prior planning prevents poor performance” applies, this is the one. So what are you going to do?

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