Online marketing real talk

I’m going to switch gears today because I often get asked marketing questions, probably because even though I am a performance coach, I worked as an online marketing consultant for small businesses owners for about 8 years. And in that time, with my boutique marketing agency, I did it all. And that included everything from google ads to social engagement, website landing pages, email drip campaigns, LinkedIn long posts….literally everything and anything in that online space. So, it makes sense that people still ask me about it, and even when I start working with performance coaching clients – often the conversation comes back to marketing. 

There are a lot of people out there who give absolute answers. They are usually trying to sell something, but I also think they have a deep rooted (naive) belief that there is “one way” to see success at online marketing. And, I think any kind of marketing is much more complex than that and so my advice is much more flexible.

Define your goals. What do you want? What does success look like? And this isn’t always clearly defined in a marketing strategy. So, ask yourself, what is the purpose of your online marketing? I can’t tell you how many times people would not even know exactly what their marketing “person” or company was doing for them, or how much it was costing let alone what their main outcome was.
– For example, do you want a strong google presence? Does google search matter to you and is that how your customer finds you? Because if you do, you need to start working on SEO, and google ads, and probably make sure you have an active Google card and you are consistently asking your customers for google reviews. Again, this all comes down to your individual goals with your online marketing. And these goals are specific to you and your business. No other agenda matters.
– In contrast, if your business is built off of word of mouth, or referrals, you probably need search-ability but you don’t need to spend thousands of dollars on google ads. You just need to show up when someone searches your name or your business name.
Again, your goals. Your business. Your decisions.

Know your limits. And even better, reduce the friction. I always told my clients to market online where they like to hang out. If you hate Instagram, you won’t build your business on there without significant friction. Because these online platforms are designed to “like” you if you spend time there. Engage with others, post images and videos, and really get to know whatever app you are posting on, inside and out. But if you spend little to no time on the platform you want to grow your business on, and only schedule posts, and never engage….it doesn’t matter the platform, you won’t grow. 

You can do an activity log of where you hang out online. And that’s probably where you should focus on growing your brand/business. If you read a lot of blogs, then start a blog. If you like Facebook for business, head over there.
For me, I want to grow on LinkedIn. So in order for that to happen, I have to spend a fair amount of time on the platform watching, engaging, and curating content. I have to curate my feed to be somewhere I want to hang out. And this part just takes time. And energy. Remember that energy thing – well, online marketing takes a lot of energy. Prepare for that. 

And the last takeaway, building off that last comment, is that things worth doing take time. Online marketing is no different. If someone promises you page 1 of google search, and they haven’t asked you any question about your goals or your marketing strategy for the next 8-12 months, I’d give them a hard pass. Working consistently on your online marketing efforts take up to 1 year (or more) to see much traction. It’s the long game, and anything less will disappear just as fast.

That’s why setting goals from the very beginning is so important. You have to know where you are and where you are going before you can get there. 

Success in anything takes time. And it doesn’t matter if we are talking about sales, coaching or online marketing. It all takes time and consistency. Stick with it, and stay consistent. The rest will start to flow in time.

Donita Fowler

Coach + Creator
Manage your emotions and you can navigate challenges with a balanced perspective.