That might sound like a dramatic headline for the sake of drama, but it’s based on several years worth of experience.
Having worked with and spoken to a great many business owners, I can honestly say that it isn’t the economy or the competition or the market that’s killing your business. It’s you.
On Friday of last week, I attended an event with around 40 business owners at City Hall on London’s South Bank.
When they found out that I’d done the marketing for the company that was hosting the event, most of them became very animated.
I heard things like:
‘I’d love to be able to spend more time marketing my business, but I’m too busy helping customers.‘
‘I know I need help with my marketing but I have no idea where to start learning that stuff.’
And many other similar sentiments besides. All of which fascinated me…
The people I met were intelligent, mostly empathetic, business owners who wanted to help their customers to get better results and get paid well for it.
And yet what they were telling me was that they weren’t taking the time to get in front of their target prospects on the internet, or if they were, it wasn’t working.
Based on my 5+ years experience of marketing and making money on the internet, I’ve compiled a list of reasons why most business owners are failing at promoting themselves online.
This is that list:
1) You Don’t Know What You Don’t Know
The biggest reason that I see business owners like you struggling online is that you quite simply don’t know what you don’t know.
Most business owners don’t have a background in marketing multiple businesses online. They have a background in their business and its service.
Most business owners started out as technicians – people who were good at doing a job and who did that job every day. They might have been a builder, or a financial advisor, or a writer.
Then they ‘suffered’ what business author Michael Gerber calls ‘an entrepreneurial seizure’, where they decided that they wanted to start a business that provided the service that they’re good at.
Unfortunately, providing a service and running a business that provides that service are two very different things.
Unless your job was online marketing (like mine was before I took over running RoarLocal) then you’re going to struggle to learn all of the things you need to know to generate qualified business leads for your business, simply because it’s not your area of expertise.
And that’s my point: You shouldn’t be learning how to do that stuff at all.
As with anything that makes your business work but isn’t your core service, find an expert whose research you trust andwho will tell you only what you need to know.
You don’t need more information, you need more insight from someone that knows what they’re doing.
I’ll talk more about this in a moment as I’d like to help you personally…
2) You Don’t Test Enough
The internet may be the best asset you have when it comes to testing new ideas and strategies for your business.
(If you want some insights into how Neil and I test here at Roar, then listen to this podcast episode where we discuss testing with regards to lead generation.)
But most business owners that I meet don’t test anything. Instead, they create a page or an ad campaign, and then when it under-performs, they throw it out and try something totally different.
If that’s you then this is costing you leads and a lot of money every year.
What’s even more ludicrous is that you could start testing your marketing for free. You can use Google’s own ‘Experiments’ platform for free to test different variations of your pages. I used Google Experiments earlier this year to create a test that yielded a 480% increase in leads for one customer.
‘But what should I test?’ I hear you cry.
In short, you should start by testing any page or any ad that aims to get a conversion (even if that conversion is simply someone calling for more information).
- First test the headline.
- Then test the call-to-action.
- Then test the images.
Testing is simple, low-cost and always leads to better results in the long run.
If you’re not testing something in your business, start this week.
If you’re already testing, test more!
3) You Don’t Measure What Really Matters
The main things that matter in your business are the ones that increase your business and make you more profit. Everything else is excessive.
The measures that matter in your business are your Key Performance Indicators (KPIs).
These don’t need to be complicated, but they do need to be done every week in your business.
After all, if you don’t measure what you’re doing, how on earth will you know when it improves?
Furthermore, how will you know if your new strategy really is yielding better results than before, or whether you need to change the strategy instead?
Unless you measure your KPIs and act based on them, you’ll just be floundering around and hoping for the best like the majority of business owners.
4) You Don’t Give It Time
Split-testing can yield some incredible results in a short period of time, but most of the time, it doesn’t.
Instead, it yields small (sometimes barely perceptible) improvements that lead to big wins.
The problem is that we’re all impatient. We want big results now.
Most business owners seem to want to have an idea, implement it and then when it doesn’t yield huge results, they cancel it.
Wouldn’t you rather create a marketing piece and then spend a few days or weeks honing it? The fact is, most business owners wouldn’t, and they’re usually the same people who say that online marketing doesn’t work for their business.
Give your marketing time.
If it’s a Facebook Ad, make sure at least 1000 people have seen it before you make any decisions.
If it’s a variation of an opt-in page, make sure that it’s had at least 100 visitors and 25 conversions before deciding whether or not it works.
Without time to gather the data, you’re using conjecture to run your business, not empirical evidence. If you do that too much, you won’t be around for very long.
Give it time.
5) You Don’t Outsource It To An Expert
You can hire marketing freelancers from sites like Elance to work on your business for you.
But be careful if you do…
The Outsourcing Method That Doesn’t Work
The approach that doesn’t work is when you go to a freelancer site and look for someone who knows online marketing. You find someone with great feedback and hire them, giving them an idea of what you want to achieve, then you leave them to their own devices.
After a couple of months, you realise that you’re spending a lot of money and not seeing a lot of return on investment.
You have to fire that expert and you go back to doing the marketing yourself.
The Reason It Doesn’t Work
It doesn’t work because you haven’t hired and worked with a marketing partner, you’ve just hired an ‘expert’ and hoped that they know more than you.
(There’s also the issue that everyone seems to be an expert these days but few people have the results to back up that claim.)
A random marketing expert does it the way that they think it should be done. This is laudable and with the right strategy, they might be very good. But they’re doomed to fail and it’s your fault for hiring them and not creating a strategy.
A marketing partner works with you to create a marketing strategy, then implements that strategy, providing regular feedback and insights to improve your business.
The Only Way That Works
You need to hire a marketing partner for your business and create a marketing strategy together.
This doesn’t have to be a long and complicated document (if it is then it’s almost certainly wrong).
It simply needs to bring together your skills and knowledge of your market, with the right methods for reaching that market on the internet.
You also need to work with someone who already has the systems in place to implement the plan that you create together.
Which brings me neatly to…
My Offer To You
I want to help you to come up with a digital marketing strategy that you can implement for your business.
So, with that in mind, I’m going to give a select few business owners an hour of my time to work on a digital marketing strategy for your business.
I’m doing this for free because I enjoy helping business owners with my insights. I also want to find more business owners and entrepreneurs who can become clients of our agency and this is a great way to do it.
If you want to have a FREE marketing consultation with me, then simply click here and fill out your details. I’ll select a couple of business owners each week to work with.
Places are limited as I’m giving up the time I would spend running RoarLocal to work with you. As a result, I can’t work with everyone.
So, click the link below and answer as many questions as possible in order that I can see whether or not I can help you.
I look forward to working with you.
As always, if you have any questions, or comments on this post, simply enter it into the comments section below and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can.