Sometimes I get the question that goes like this…
“This shouldn’t be so hard. What’s the easy way to market my business online?”
People want easy solutions. Something you can sign up for and your business will automatically pop to the top of Google search for your target keywords. Or some place they can post their company information and it will quickly and easily get in front of people who might be interested. They want an “Easy Button” for online marketing – just like the Staples ads. Sound good?
The Easy Button is a Myth!
Well, I’m here to tell you why the existence of an Easy Button for online marketing is a myth and why you wouldn’t want it anyway.
1) Easy = SPAM
“Easy” marketing methods – low cost, simple methods – lead to spam. Email is basically free to send out. You can send an email pitching your product or blog post or personal beliefs to all of your contacts..right now and for just the cost of your time. That’s pretty easy. Because of that, email spam is one of the biggest problems email providers face today. With spam filters we generally have it set too low so spam still gets through or too high so you miss important emails and have to dig through the spam folder to find them.
Any easy marketing method quickly gets overrun with spammers – evil ones as well as well-intentioned people like those people who think it’s okay to share their all of their thoughts, jokes and political views with everyone they’ve ever known. Beware of anyone pitching easy and cheap solutions.
2) Easy = No Barriers to Entry
For anyone who is willing to work, easy is a bad thing. If everything was easy there would be no barriers to entry for anyone. The competitors in your niche and in your town would all be able to market easily and in the same way. How would you stand out?
Things that are hard or take work create barriers to entry. Each action you take leaves behind one more competitor that is not willing to take that action.
3) Easy = Temporary
There are some marketing methods that are free or cheap and are very effective…for a short time. If it’s really easy and truly effective it won’t last long. The sellers will pitch this product or service far and wide. If it’s free, people will pile in. Copycats will come out of the woodwork and start mimicking the successful users. Suddenly this effective marketing tactic will be overrun with a lot of competing information and spam and it will become much less effective, very quickly.
4) Easy = Escalation of Force
If online marketing was easy there would be no obvious differentiation between you and your competitors. Clever companies would to find other ways to stand out. Maybe they would submit their company 50 times to “Easy Online Marketing Service” so they show up more times. Maybe they would find a way for their listing to flash in day-glow colors. Maybe they would type their company name in ALL CAPS to stand out. Of course, “Easy Online Marketing Service” would implement a premium service for people to stand out and that leads to the next point….
5) Easy = Expensive
In order to differentiate your company in “easy online marketing tools”, you generally have to pay. There are premium listing options on most popular directories and websites that list businesses. In Google Adwords, one of the easiest marketing methods, you have to pay…a lot. It’s easy to get in front of customers with Adwords in one day but it’s not cheap and it still takes a lot of time to get your campaigns set up! For Facebook ads, you need to constantly change the pictures in your ads because people become numb to them. This costs money and time.
So what’s the solution?
Focus on marketing methods that others have had success with and that fit with your company’s strategy, culture and capabilities. Don’t look for the “Easy Button” for online marketing. Put in the work. And take heart, any work you do improving your company’s marketing via proven strategies (while adding in your own twist) leaves behind your competitors who are just looking for easy solutions.