But Mom, nobody else is blogging

Remember when you were a kid and wanted to do something that your parents wouldn’t give you permission? If you were like me, you came back with something like, “But Mom, everybody else is going to go.” Or perhaps, “But Mom, everyone will think I’m a dork if I don’t get to…”

The modern day, business corollary of that scenario is the way many businesses are responding to online marketing. They’re not comfortable with the technology or the science and/or the art of online marketing, so they say something like, “There is no need for us to do this blogging thing, none of our competitors are messing around with online marketing, and we’re doing just fine thank you very much.”

In some business sectors, such as industrial businesses, there may be a tiny hint of truth to their assertion. Not everybody is using online marketing – yet! Of course, quite often one or more of the more forward-thinking competitors are using online tools, such as blogging, email news blasts, pay-per-click ads, social media, etc. The company leaders for the foot-draggers are just too far removed to really know what the competition is actually doing on the Internet.

Those competitors that have entered the realm of online marketing are making significant progress. They’re learning the ropes, and having success nurturing prospects that have found them via Google, Bing or Yahoo searches. Those prospects “self-proclaim” themselves as being pre-sold on the merits of the company and its products. Internet technology and tools are proving to be powerful business development tools. The “nobody else is blogging” company is in danger of falling behind the curve.

Does your company’s leadership have blinders on in regard to the reality of how the competition is using Internet marketing tools? What can you do to enlighten them?

Most importantly, don’t tell management that your company should use online marketing tools just because everyone else is! At least not right away even if it’s true or you’ll right back into those dysfunctional roles of parent and child. Instead, be armed with insightful information and a dash of courage. Try some of these ideas on convincing management to incorporate online marketing, including social media, into your marketing mix.

Discuss how traditional marketing has evolved to include Internet marketing

Ask your leadership if the Internet has ever helped them to find a product or a vendor. If they say, “No,” you want to start your job search now. Or you might prove them wrong by probing with a few more questions. Unless they’ve never touched a computer, they’ve done at least some minimal product research. There’s a pretty good chance they’ve purchased goods or services over the Internet and haven’t realized how much they rely on it for information and products.

Point out that people research purchases differently in the past, the Internet has given people the technology and power to find products and to source the best supplier – from their perspective. It’s time for your business to evolve with how people use the Internet and how they often avoid traditional, interruptive advertising.

Show them the money (well, at least the road to the money)

It’s pretty easy to show how products and services your company offers are found via Google, Bing or Yahoo search engines. Google and Wordtracker offer a free and a low cost, respectively, keyword research tool. Plug in words that prospective customers might use to find your products. Share the results of how often your company is displayed in the search versus competitors. The data will likely indicate your firm could be doing better in terms of marketing on the Internet.

Present a plan for your company to embrace Internet marketing

You need to help transform your marketing from being “outbound” (broadcasting your message mostly to those who are not actually, or currently, interested) to marketing that is “inbound” (helping interested buyers find your company). Your plan should explain in simple terms exactly what the company needs to do to transform current marketing efforts into a lead- and revenue-generating engine. Be sure the plan links to the company’s financial and marketing objectives, and that you have realistic budget numbers.

Keep learning yourself

As a leader for your company, you must learn more about online marketing, inbound marketing, SEO, PPC and other buzzwords. There are many free resources on the web, and a number of good books. Those shown below are far from exhaustive, but I believe are quite useful for beginners and intermediates.

Online marketing web resources:

  • Hubspot.com offers a depth of information. Be sure to check out their Inbound Marketing University.
  • Mashable.com offers current online marketing information and a number of “How to” articles on social media marketing.
  • Socialmediaexaminer.com bills itself as, “Your guide to the social media jungle.”
  • Clickz.com features both news articles and free email newsletters from subject matter experts.
  • Websitemagazine.com offers a lot for the intermediate to advanced Internet marketer.
  • “New rules of marketing and PR,” by David Scott Merriman
  • “Inbound Marketing: Getting Found In Google, Blogs, and Social Media.” by Brian Halligan, Dharmesh Shah and David Meerman Scott. (Halligan and Shah  are co-founders of HubSpot, an inbound marketing company.)
  • “Content Rules: How to Create Killer Blogs, Podcasts, Videos, Ebooks, Webinars and more,” by Ann Handley, David Meerman Scott and C.C. Chapman.

Online marketing books

  • “New rules of marketing and PR,” by David Scott Merriman
  • “Inbound Marketing: Getting Found In Google, Blogs, and Social Media.” by Brian Halligan, Dharmesh Shah and David Meerman Scott. (Halligan and Shah  are co-founders of HubSpot, an inbound marketing company.)
  • “Content Rules: How to Create Killer Blogs, Podcasts, Videos, Ebooks, Webinars and more,” by Ann Handley, David Meerman Scott and C.C. Chapman.

Online marketing is moving at a fast pace. The longer your company waits to really get in the game, the more difficult it will be to catch up. I applaud you for reading this rather long post, and for acting to help your company get on the Internet marketing bandwagon. You will be rewarded for your persistence!

 




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