Yes, there are still people out there that think the online world is optional. I recently chatted with a long-time business owner who had this to say:
“I’ve been running my business this way for over 15 years. My phone book and newspaper ads work, I still get business. I put up a simple website, but I don’t get people from there anyway. People that call still tell me they saw my ads. Why would I spend more online? I just don’t think its necessary.”
Not much you can do with someone with these deep seeded beliefs, right? So I treaded carefully with my next step. I asked him:
“How do you know what potential you are missing by not expanding your online marketing? What if your business could double just with a little work each day in the online world? Would that be a good thing?”
This particular owner didn’t get it. He believed in his old marketing strategies, and wasn’t willing to consider anything else.
“Nobody cares what I have for lunch. And frankly I don’t feel like putting any more time into something that doesn’t show me a return. My website is more than enough for now.”
Has this been your approach to the online world either now or in the past?
I know. New technology can be overwhelming at times.
In years past, it was easy to let the newbies focus in on new technology and bring it to market. Your business would be okay if you ignored the “new” and stuck with the “old”.
No more. Things change in weeks, days, even minutes at times. And with every change brings a rapid decline to those relying on older methods.
Even if you aren’t aware of it.
While I never got the chance to show this particular business owner a new direction, just as many business owners know and understand this is no longer something optional … its mandatory that you learn and master the online world.
What do I tell them to do to move forward?
1. Don’t settle for a static website – You have to be able to add content on a regular basis to be relevant in today’s world. And in my opinion, a customized WordPress blog is the only way to go.
2. Use your website – The key to a great website is to make it the platform of your online strategy. If you don’t build a strong platform, nothing else will work. Before you start signing up for every social media account out there, make sure your platform is set up and working well.
3. Add social media in small doses – Instead of signing up for a Twitter account and a Facebook account and a Google + account and a Pinterest account and a LinkedIn account and a YouTube account and a … well, you get the picture, start with one and put it into action before you move to the next. Having a half dozen icons on your site, with nothing there when you click over, only shows lack of follow through. Its okay to start small, as long as you start and grow from there.
4. Learn about online marketing – It isn’t what you do, and it may have no bearing on what you sell. But in order to run your own business, you have to understand marketing and sales just as much as the products and services you offer. So learn it. Dedicate yourself to classes and training, and make sure you’re doing all you can do. You don’t have to do the work yourself – you can hire out. But if you don’t understand it, you’ll never know when the people you are hiring are doing a good job.