Website Marketing Is Easy…Until It Isn’t
The Sprocket Report
Recently we spoke to a prospective client who was honestly mystified at the cost of marketing services. He’d read plenty of blog posts and had used various services during his corporate career. Surely this marketing stuff was easy – how could it be so expensive?
We weren’t the first agency he contacted so by the time he talked with us, he was getting frustrated. All he wanted to do was launch a simple on-line business and make a little money. Couldn’t we just whip it all together before lunch so he could start raking in cash by the afternoon?
One’s first reaction is to snort derisively, but a couple of us at Sprocket recently experienced a sobering reality check. We are breaking in new computers which, considering we use them ALL THE TIME, should be easy…until it wasn’t. Things sure are different when it’s new to YOU.
So, humbly, we’d like to point out some common aspects of web marketing and explain why they will cost you time or money to pay for somebody else’s time. We want you to be prepared for your next marketing discussion.
A Viral Video, Photo, Meme, etc.
We are frequently asked to provide this. If you could just order it like a hamburger, don’t you think everyone would be “going viral?” So much of viral success is plain dumb luck.
While viral sharing doesn’t cost you, putting together the video or graphic image does. It starts with planning, then you shoot video or photos and finally edit a shareable product. Ownership of and experience with professional tools can streamline the process, but it’s still time-consuming. A one-minute video is easily an 8-10 hour investment.
An Interactive Website
Since a website is active 24/7, that means you can “make money while you sleep.” All you need is a little bit of code written, right? We’ve had people ask us to build a site like eBay or Facebook with user logins, credit card interfaces and all of the other functions. But they forget how many full-time employees it takes to create and run websites like that.
That said, today’s technology can give you a website that would have blown your mind a couple of years ago – and at an amazingly reasonable cost. It’s easy to become blasé about what is possible to do online and want more than you need. Your basic business plan should tell you how much website is appropriate for the best ROI.
A Popular Blog
Every marketing guru advises blog content for branding, credibility and search optimization. Since actually running the business takes up most of a business owner’s time, hiring a blogger seems like a good idea. But think through how much you are willing to buy.
What’s common knowledge to you will need to be researched by a writer unfamiliar with your industry, which takes time. If you want more personalized stories about your business philosophy, your employees or your products, you’ll need to provide that information in a timely fashion so your blogger has something to work with. And don’t overlook the fact that writers are not necessarily marketers. Blogs need to be marketed like any other product to get noticed.
An Email Campaign
A whole lot of preparation goes into an email campaign. You need eye-catching graphic design, well-written, useful content and analysis for the best delivery. A list of appropriate email addresses is also a need people tend to overlook. An impressive open rate on a tiny list isn’t going to help much and spamming a long list of un-qualified addresses is likely to get you shut down.
Building a good list and consistently sending email that gets opened takes serious work, which is why many folks aren't already doing it.
A Free Website
Everyone knows websites are free – we’ve all seen the advertising. But few have seen the asterisks and don’t realize that these free websites aren’t what folks think they are. Want your own domain name? Would you rather not have someone else’s advertising on your site? Need more pages? Selling a product or collecting donations? Once you add up all these “extras,” your website is not free.
The cost can be even higher if you've settled for what’s available rather than what you need and when problems arise with no one but you to fix them. Compare the pros and cons of those “free” sites with a semi-custom solution from a web developer. Your peace of mind is worth something, too.
That perplexed prospective client was not dumb – he had gone far in his field before deciding to launch his own business. But his success was supported by employees of other departments, by technology tools the company invested in and by accountants who figured out how much to spend in order to make the most profit. As a new entrepreneur, he still had much to learn.
If you’re focusing on being the best in your field, it makes sense to delegate the rest. Sprocket is your website marketing partner. Contact us today to share the load. We’d be happy to help.