As the owner of a Michigan online marketing company, sometimes business owners that I know will pick my brain to learn more about online marketing so that they can do it themselves. So, if you will, let me give you some marketing execution pointers while regaling you with tales of my DIY failures.
The Story: My husband had ordered these really neat vintage sports posters and I got this idea that I would put them in the stairway going up to our game room in a stepped pattern. Eager to get them up ASAP, I went out and brought matching frames for the posters but I never actually made sure ahead of time that I had everything I needed to do the project. So when I went to get our laser level I discovered that the batteries were dead and we were all out of spares – uh oh. But, being excited to get the posters up as quickly as possible, I concocted a way to use a tape measure and several rulers to do the job. It looked decent, but not nearly as good as it would have if I had just made sure I had everything I needed before starting, or even if I had postponed the project until I had the proper tools to use.
The Lesson: Planning is integral to the success of any online marketing venture. I’ve said it time and again, Google stresses it in all of their online help articles, and your Mom has probably been telling you this since you were a kid – planning is important! Know what you want to accomplish before you set out do any form of marketing. Knowing where you want to go will help you determine what you need to do to get there, and which resources you’ll need to help you along the way. If you don’t spec out the resources that you need, you can really find yourself in a bind, and the time and money you’ve spent thus far may go to waste.
2. Read… Everything
The Story: We were putting our house on the market and I wanted it to look really great for showings so I went around to all the trim and touched up any little dings or chips. It all went flawlessly until I went to wash off the paintbrush. I didn’t want to get any paint in the kitchen or bathroom sinks so I went outside to wash the brush off at our outside spigot. Once I turned on the water and started rubbing the brush with my hands to get it clean I realized I had a big problem. I had never actually read the paint can, so I had no idea that it was an oil-based paint. The paint stuck to my hands and instantly turned into a sticky gooey painty mess. I began to panic because I had no idea how I was going to get back into the house without touching anything or how I was going to get it all off my hands when I did. When I calmed down I managed to get in using my elbows to open the door, prying open the bathroom cabinet with a pen, and retrieving nail polish remover that I then used to strip the paint off of my hands.
The Lesson: If you’re a business owner learning about the intricacies of online marketing, there’s a lot of information out there to help you out on just about any marketing approach you can think of. If you don’t take the time needed to really make sure you know what you’re dealing with, you can end up paying for it later!
Now, whether or not you have the time to educate yourself about all of this and stay current with everything is a whole different issue – if you feel like there are never enough hours in the day you’ll likely benefit from hiring a digital marketing agency to do your marketing for you, but just know that there’s plenty of information available to learn how to do anything.
3. Understand the Relationships Between Things
The Story: The rear brake light cover inside my car had come detached after the little clip holding it broke. It’s hard to get parts for my car (and they’re usually pretty expensive) so rather than ordering a new one, I decided to fix it using some heavy-duty peel and stick Velcro. It worked just fine. Then I was driving down the road at highway speeds and it fell off, clamoring onto the back seat and scaring me half to death. Now I understand why Velcro is usually used on stationary objects – it doesn’t do well holding onto weight when it’s subject to vibrations. I could have just given up, but no. I then tried some duct tape that I rolled into circles because duct tape is supposed to be indestructible. I stuck the tape rolls up there and it secured the cover nicely. But at the time I was in Texas and it was 105 degrees out, which meant that after my car sat in a parking lot all day it was more like 115 or 120 degrees. Duct tape is an all-purpose wonder that can be used for almost anything, but apparently duct tape doesn't do well in extreme temperatures! The duct tape basically melted and the cover fell to the seat where it got adhesive slime all over my rear seat. Then, I gave up. The cover really needed that little specialty dealer clip to hold it on because it was what was engineered with the car’s operation in mind to do the job.
The Lesson: Knowing about one facet of marketing is enough sometimes to achieve your business goals, but understanding how that can integrate with other aspects of your business will likely provide a better and faster results overall.
4. Know When You Need Help
The Story: After some heavy storms our fence had a section that was starting to pull away from the fence post. The nails were sticking out, making it both unsightly and dangerous. I don’t like asking for help when it’s something I think I can accomplish myself, so I didn’t even mention that anything was wrong with the fence. I just went out with a hammer and hammered the section back into place as hard as I possibly could and hoped for the best. Easy enough, right? No. Every day for about four days I went back out and hammered the section back into place. Finally I had to ask for help. The section was quite large, which meant that putting some small nails back into the existing holes on one end wasn’t going to cut it. The whole thing needed to be secured and that was too big of a job for one person. The job really needed one person to hold the section up and in place and another person to hammer it in to get it secure. My husband and I held the section in place and hammered it in securely as a team. He also added a few extra nails for good measure, and wouldn’t you know, it stayed put!
The Lesson: Sometimes a situation calls for multiple people working together to achieve a goal, and sometimes calling in an expert may even be necessary. There’s nothing wrong with asking for help when you need it. Getting help from the beginning when you’re investing in marketing is sometimes the best decision you can make because it can end up saving you a lot of money and sparing you the disappointment of putting effort into something and having it fall short of your expectations.
Everyone makes mistakes, but the important part is to learn from them. Most businesses really can’t afford to make the same mistakes over and over again! Need some help with your online marketing? Whether you’re new to the game, you’ve tried it on your own and made mistakes that hurt performance, or had someone else handle it and were unhappy with the results, we’re here to help! Contact us today to see what LionShark can do for your business!
By Kate Pierce. Kate Pierce is the owner of LionShark Digital Marketing LLC, a West Michigan internet marketing company. Her areas of expertise include Paid Search, Search Engine Optimization, Social Media, Web Consulting for small businesses, Copywriting and Local Online Marketing. She lives in the Grand Rapids area with her husband and enjoys cooking, watching sports and spending time outdoors. Like a true digital marketing expert (i.e. geek), she loves talking about marketing theory and SEM trends… so don’t say you weren’t warned!