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Do we put too much emphasis on online marketing?

Discussion in 'Marketing mastery' started by bluepenguin, Nov 22, 2011.

  1. bluepenguin

    bluepenguin Renowned Member

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    Hey hey!

    Here's one to get you all thinking.

    I've been thinking about how much money, energy and time I've spent in the last couple of years on my website, social media and email marketing - and I'm starting to wonder if it was all worth it.

    While online marketing often seems very affordable compared to other forms of marketing, if I were to put a monetary value on all the hours I've spent on designing, writing content, tweaking, SEO, replying to website enquiries etc., and then add that to the actual money I've spent on outside services, and then factor in the money I could have earned if was working on billable stuff instead - the cost is a lot more than it seems. Many, many times more than what I've spent on print marketing over the same period - and far more than I would have spent if I realised the cost earlier.

    If I were an online retailer this would be fine, but in a business like mine, if I were to pick up one quality client per month, I would have far more work than I need.

    The majority of my quality clients come through word of mouth and I believe that's by far the best form of marketing there is, so why haven't I focused my money, energy and time on encouraging my existing, happy clients to spread the word?

    Because the business world has been hammering me with things like, "You need to build an online presence", "you need to get to the top of Google", "why don't you have a twitter account?", "print marketing is dead", etc.

    While I don't deny that online marketing can be a very powerful tool for business, I'm starting to think that maybe some of us may be putting too many eggs in that basket, not realising what it's costing us, and neglecting some other very rewarding forms of marketing.
  2. DanielM

    DanielM Active Member

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    It really depends on what industry you are in. I don't think people are going overboard with internet marketing because it is more affordable in most cases than offline marketing and you can hit a more specific target compared to offline. Sure, it may cost a bit online but if you think of the expenses with an offline store (rent, utilities, body corp, offline advertising etc) it does not compare.

    On another note I completely agree. One should not hold all their eggs in the same basket and should try and incorporate a hybrid model.

    Daniel
  3. bluewoodstudio

    bluewoodstudio Active Member

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    I think I have similar feelings to you BluePenguin.

    I am at a point where I am about to do more online marketing (blog, seo etc)... but at the same time I am also putting feelers out to face-to-face networking as a means of getting more work and connections.

    It is definitely a case of word of mouth bringing in the business for our industry in my experience.
  4. King

    King Renowned Member

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    I think for MANY businesses a website is valuable. For some essential, for others a waste of time.

    Social media to me is not worth any input other than to have blog posts auto publish to Facebook and Twitter. If people want to interact with you they will do so via phone or email.

    The digital tool many business should be looking at is SMS - it is very powerful.
  5. AgentMail

    AgentMail Renowned Member

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    Hey BP,

    I guess my business is similar to yours in some ways. One of my major competitors has had his website 'under construction' for about 3 years.

    I see the value in online marketing, but I am trying to align my online efforts to offline results. My customers need a physical conversation. They don't transact with me without having a proper conversation, there is no simple 'BUY IT NOW' I would imagine the same within your area of print (you know, the non-Vista Print world)

    For next year, I have put together a marketing plan for about $10,000. I have allocated approx. 25% of this for online. The rest will be in event sponsorship, print advertising, direct marketing and telemarketing
    1 person likes this.
  6. NickHumphries

    NickHumphries Active Member

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    This is all nonsense,
    A website is essential to EVERY business. We don't live in the 1990's, nearly everyone has a computer and nearly everyone uses the internet everyday. In what case is it a waste of time?

    Social media is so hyped up for a reason. Your presence there as a business is to create and maintain relationships. Have conversations and educate others. Phone or email = old school thinking.

    SMS is annoying and is becoming increasingly irrelevant. BBM and iMessage are taking over.

    Sorry for being harsh, but as a web developer who knows the ins and outs of these things, I thought I'd let you know what I think.
  7. yourvirtualboard

    yourvirtualboard Active Member

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    Online marketing is flavour of the month and everyone is doing it, so should I. That's what catches a lot of people - as Daniel has indicated, comes back to basic target market. Who are they and where do they get their info from?

    In my consulting business my target clientele are very seldom on any form of social media and don't have time to browse the web. Should they search, it is very targeted but never trumps personal recommendation or WOM. Think about when you need a product or service, what's the process you go through? For me it's ask my network and only if I can't find what I’m looking for, then online. My business success is also from referral and I'd also estimate giving out over $150K in referrals per year.

    With SEO etc. we all know that it's not ability that gains ranking but deliberate effort in SEO or PPC and that makes choosing a little tricky vs. a recommendation from a trusted source.
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  8. yourvirtualboard

    yourvirtualboard Active Member

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    Very interesting Nick - what if your target market aren't yet on social media, who would you be having these conversations with and to what end? Do you really believe every post or tweet gets read even if they are?

    If you really want to communicate privately with someone (not just interact) it's always phone or email (for me anyway)

    Also interesting that as a web developer who knows the ins and outs of these things you have a "reward" in your signature for referrals
  9. nominal

    nominal Active Member

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    Interesting... I too am heavily invested, both mentally and in other ways, mainly in online marketing.

    I am still amazed when I am looking for information online and realise that some businesses still don't have a proper (relevant) presence.

    Having said that I am beginning to think that my view is a little skewed and that not everyone is as computer oriented as myself (or us in this forum).

    My website conversion rate is currently between 4% and 8% - which is very good. My conversion rate for anyone who contacted me over the phone is exactly 100%

    I should probably think of this statistic as a marketing hammer banged on my head :)
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  10. King

    King Renowned Member

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    Well Nick interesting to hear your views. But sorry, not every business is suited to needing a website. The local takeaway can be just as well served by registering with the local directories, but a website is not needed, nor generally viable.

    SM is a con and increasingly people are seeing it that way. People don't communicate with businesses that way - they ring or email. But I see that phone is no good for your Australian branch office - no Aussie phone number!!Even live chat is better than SM (but after mid-morning in Aust, your live chat is unavailable - after hours for you perhaps?)

    There are some things that while you claim are old school are still most used because they are most effective - this is why you have an email contact form (though I do note that your business is US based )


    On the SMS side - again it would appear you are speaking from a US experience. Regulations here in Australia have kept a solid lid on SMS spam and any messages you receive you will have opted in to receive.

    I only speak from decades of experience here in Australia.
  11. bluepenguin

    bluepenguin Renowned Member

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    ahah, thank you King... I've been trying to think of businesses that thrive without websites.

    My local fish and chip shop does a roaring trade without any online marketing. You can't even find them in the white pages. Come to think about it, their customer service is pretty ordinary too... But their chips are amazing, and people can't get enough of all their cholestorol-soaked perfection. They have a good product, and a good location and that's all the marketing they need.

    Thinking about my own business; if I just had a super-basic website, and had never put anything into SEO or SM, I doubt my business would be in a very different place right now.

    In retrospect, if I did it all over again, I'd spend much more of my time and money on the marketing that I now know is far more effective and economical for my particular business.
  12. SamanthaE

    SamanthaE Active Member

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    Blue Penguin - you must have been reading the same book as me last night :)

    After the crappy couple of weeks that I have had, I have been reading those good old self helps to reinvigorate myself.

    One of the chapters talked about referrals and how lots of people don't ask for them (the same with testimonials and feedback) after a service has been delivered.

    People who you have delivered a great job to (service/product and customer services, communication, etc) are your best sales people, but you need to ask.

    I am thinking of implementing the following line into my followup calls (where they are gushing that is) "Thank you for the great feedback, its always great to be able to pass the feedback onto the team to let them know that their hardwork is appreciated. One of the best compliments that we receive from clients is their referral of our product, it really lets us know that we are doing our job well. If you think of anyone that you think would really benefit just drop me an email with their details, or please pass my details them."

    I guess that you would never know if you don't ask for it, and it cost's a lot less than time than ALL other forms of marketing :)

    I do think that from this point you should have an online presence for them to have a look see before hand, but this will make searching very targeted.

    Can't wait to see if it works!!
    2 people like this.
  13. dextereugenio

    dextereugenio Active Member

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    im sure this has been covered somewhere in the threads before, even under a different title, but to answer the question of the title.

    No.

    Answers already on this post are correct in that you should put the most effort in, into where you clients are.

    That's why I keep fish and chip menus when i get them in the mail, and throw out computer sales brochures as i buy everything online.

    if your clients are online, then put an emphasis on online marketing, if there not, then advertise where they are (trade magazine, school newsletter, etc).

    I agree with the website and social media theories, theyre not for every business, but do agree that email and instant messaging are the communications of the future (video once the nbn comes in).

    personally, i hate making and receiving phone calls and will email or IM as much as is needed. i know most of my friends are the same as phone calls are one on one and messaging is all about many to many

    but getting back to online marketing, what else are you gonna do, use print? :p
  14. JamesMillar

    JamesMillar Renowned Member

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    I don't think there is any magic bullet when it comes to marketing and irrespective of the industry we find a portfolio approach works well (as in we look at all forms). That said I think that not all business types are well suited to online marketing and advertising.

    King - I'm not sure SM is a con as such for business. I too was skeptical at first and I don’t use it extensively for personal communication. SM is a conduit for messaging and from what I've seen it can definitely generate sales for business (most that we have invested in use FB as a sales tool in some way and they have all demonstrated a clearly positive ROI for it). I might add that half of those businesses are traditional offline operations, entertainment, professional services etc.

    Slightly off track. Whilst we have a great interest in (and investment in) the ecommerce sector at the moment there does appear to be a dot.com bubble creeping back. There are some great innovations on the web, marketing tools, business tools etc but there seems to be a gap developing between sentiment and substance.
  15. Keeta Nova

    Keeta Nova Active Member

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    This is the exact answer, and why it is different for every business.

    My problem is that I spend so much non-productive time on my computer - because I enjoy it. I just personally need to get off it, and find some other hobbies that don't fry my eyes every day. This has nothing to do with money.

    Although we can spend a great deal of unpaid time experimenting and exploring options online, I consider this as valuable education. I also spend hideous amounts of unpaid time on my postgraduate university studies, but again, I do this because I enjoy it, and I have a relentless need to improve, learn and explore.
  16. Shaukat Adam (Khalid)

    Shaukat Adam (Khalid) Renowned Member

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    there is a difference between on-line marketing and having an on-line presence. the latter does not have customers beating down your door to throw money at you.

    most people have an on-line presence by setting up social media, websites, blogs, podcasts, etc but don't know how to market them to attract and convert clients.
  17. Shaukat Adam (Khalid)

    Shaukat Adam (Khalid) Renowned Member

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    Nick,

    you are confusing web developing with web marketing. most websites are just glamorised brochures that dont generate sales. all about being pretty, clever, corporate and very little to do with client engagement or client experience.

    most don't even have an optin form to collect details and those who do don't have a compelling offer to entice visitors to dive up their contact details.

    As someone who has deep understanding of business growth, the last thing businesses need is a website that feeds their hopium of business success.

    What they need and have always needed is a simple but effective business strategy that gets them what they want in less time and cost whether it's online/offline or both.

    MY friend who is a web developer has a website but makes his money from cold calling businesses and selling them websites.

    a tool without a marketing strategy makes the owner a tool for wasting their money and energy into something that does not create sustainable growth.

  18. Geronimo

    Geronimo Active Member

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    This is a great thread bluepenguin.

    I feel it depends on your business model. I am like you, in that there is only so much I can do, so more hits to my site won't scale to more profit. If I were offering a product not tied to me, then sure, more hits = more profit.

    Despite what the Ninja said, I actually make an effort to pick up the phone before I resort to any electronic media, as I believe that as a consultant it's all about personal relationships. The more I connect (in a real sense), the better it is for my business. It encourages WOM and genuine relationships with people.

    Consider this too. All my work comes through WOM. This means that someone has gushed over how I awesome I am and that I and can leap tall buildings in one bound. At this stage, a prospect has all they need to set up a meeting with me because someone told them they'd be nuts not to. The more content I have on my web page at this point, the more reasons for them to think I specialise in a different field, or have written something they disagree with etc. So really, there is little up shot for me.

    Elsee (who's had the same one page website for nine years).
  19. King

    King Renowned Member

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  20. businessforsale

    businessforsale Member

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    If your running an online business well definately you should be concerned about SEO and online marketing.

    I believe no matter what business you are running there is a place for it online.

    I think some people may spend too much online however this is usually only because they dont really have an understanding and take the easy and expensive road.

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