Some guidelines for internet entrepreneurs developing their early stage marketing strategy:
- SEO is about branding, it takes time, it does pay off, but don’t expect overnight success. Expect months of hard work to recreate the apparent look of overnight success.
- PPC is great if you can sustain it. Often you are developing or creating a segment of which it is hard to get a return on this initially. If you are in the rare stance of breaking even or making a profit (whilst in startup mode) go horizontal, invest in MSN, in Yahoo. Get their lower competition marketplaces to help you drive profit.
- Viral tactics are just as the term describes, tactics. They help provide a short term boost, or add the icing to the cake. Realise this and use it to your advantage. Solid business growth still comes from delivering insane value to your customers and looking after them.
- Marketing results always take double the amount of time that you predicted, it takes time to refine your strategy, make the technological changes, talk to all developed parties. However picking up the phone and calling your existing clients can be done today.
- Focus on building brand name searches, measure the numbers of visit by your brand, focus on pushing that. No one can compete when people are motivated to look for you.
- Do not skimp on metrics, use Google Analytics, capture all that you can (helps for future analysis) but focus on the key metrics that drive your business today. Match them to business objectives and real dollars in the hand.
- Blogging will be your #1 Marketing Tool if you use it wisely, so only blog if you’re going to do a good job of it.
- Communities are fantastic but like blogging require a lot of work, if you are time poor this may not be your best approach. It is better to not do it at all than do it miserably.
- The best people you can hire (if you need hire at all) come from referrals, they don’t need splashy websites to sell themselves, their clients sell them.
- Free is good, creating a product that people marvel you charge so low for it is better. Case in point Basecamp.
- Stick to your strategy, it will naturally evolve over time but if you quit because you don’t get instant results you are following the path to mediocrity.
- ALWAYS (and I mean ALWAYS) question those that provide marketing advice, it helps you understand their thinking and helps them learn about you.
- Once you have your strategy get onto it, there are a thousand ways to skin a cat, focus on yours. Marketing fads come and go.
And finally….Stop procrastinating and start now! Many entrepreneurs know what they need to do, they just don’t do it, like this blog I just do it, not spend all my time talking ….