Is in house small business marketing a viable proposition or is it always best to buy in marketing services? The answer, I am afraid, is not clear cut but depends primarily on the time available to the business owner or key staff to deliver the marketing process on an ongoing, consistent basis.
Can In House Marketing Succeed?
If the time and the will are there to take on raising the profile of the business in house there is plenty of evidence that those with little marketing education or experience can achieve results.
Despite what marketing agencies and freelancers may wish to portray the majority of online marketing is not particularly difficult but it is time consuming. If there is information available to point in the right direction and overcome the inevitable short term experience gap then it is possible for the small business owner to achieve real results.
DIY Marketing – The Basics
For any small business to make a success of in house marketing the key requirements are
- A willingness to learn
Time to both learn the process and achieve meaningful results is perhaps the crucial ingredient. If the business is either desperate for short term sales or the time is not available to both learn and deliver marketing on an ongoing and consistent basis then it is best not to start the process at all and simply hire in the required services.
It is fair to say little will go as expected and there will be many times when the results obtained appear to be not worth the effort but this is normal. The will to carry on and a firm belief that the marketing process will deliver results in the medium to long term are vital to success.
Small Business Marketing Tools
To deliver a successful local marketing campaign requires appropriate delivery of
The website is the hub for all marketing activity. It must deliver the key company messages, act as an information hub, facilitate ongoing customer communication and ultimately convert visitors to customers.
However, if a website cannot be found when a local prospect types in a relevant search term then it is of little use. There are various studies that show that over 85% of potential website visitors never go past page 1 Google when search for suppliers of goods and services. Appropriate, localized search engine marketing (SEM) is therefore crucial to success.
Link building is a vital component of search engine marketing activity but local link building requires a different approach. Local links are required and to secure those requires networking. More details can be found in this post from Hallam Internet
Finally, content is the fuel for the marketing process. It builds SEM, builds credibility, facilitates ongoing communication, builds relationships and has a significant impact on conversion rates.
In House Marketing – Useful Resources
So where can you find good quality education resources to help you build your own, in house, local marketing process? Unfortunately, it is not as easy as may be imagined. Best practice internet marketing develops at a rapid pace and books on the subject are often out of date soon after publication. There are a vast array of blogs and information online but it always important to check the date of publication and the source.
The vast majority of information online is either regurgitated from another source, plain bad advice or of little value. Some good, reliable sources I have found include
Local website design – this post may help you get started
Content Marketing – Some useful material here from Iconsive
Search engine marketing – Search engine Land
Google+ – Key to local marketing success – A number of useful posts from Daniel Sharkov
Social media tips and resources – The Social Media Hat
General online marketing tips and advice – from Kikolani
But there are many others that are out there to be found and utilise
In summary therefore, in house small business marketing can deliver results but those results will take time to come through. Time and persistence are required to learn a process, to make mistakes and to go again. However, if the time and energy are available then the savings over buying in services can be substantial.
The risks of hiring a marketing supplier who then fails to deliver on their promises are also minimised. It is an unfortunate fact that although there are many high quality suppliers available marketing does tend to attract those with little expertise, who are aware of the relevant buzzwords, who can talk a good game. It may be worth saving your hard earned cash and givivng in house small business marketing a try.
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