The last time we were together, I said that we were going to name the top 12 areas of digital marketing that we’ll be studying here together (as well as in the next digital marketing challenge.)
And we will.
Later in this post, I’ll name the 12 areas, and why we’re going to focus on them.
To get ready to get ready though, we need to talk about this concept of “free”.
Marketing is Free like a puppy is free
Have you ever been walking down the street and seen a sign that said “free puppy?” Or gone to the pound instead of the pet store to pick out your dog?
Unless you want one with a pedigree or one that has already been trained, you can get a puppy for free.
I remember begging my parents for a free puppy as a kid.
I didn’t understand then that money isn’t the only currency. The puppy itself may be free of charge, but you have to put in the time to walk the dog, play with it, house train it – it’s going to take up time on a daily basis unless you can hire someone to take some of the load.
And of course, there’s no point in getting a puppy instead of a full grown or security dog if you’re not going to take on some of that responsibility yourself. it’s part of the point, right? Why get a puppy no one is going to play with?
And even if you’re getting a full grown dog, or your dog is mostly for security, it’s still a living creature.
Someone should care for it, your kids, other people who live with you. And if you have the money, there’s no shame is hiring a dog walker, or sending the dog to be trained by a professional. It’s much better than no one is doing it
The only question that remains is how much of a monetary investment is worth not doing these things on your own.
That may vary from person to person or with the quality of the skills of the professional you’re hiring versus your own, not to mention how much you care whether your dog can sit, or if you want it to do tricks, be a support animal, or defend you on command.
You guessed it. Digital marketing is conditionally free as well
There are three ways you pay for marketing- always with a combination of two of these three things; money, time and knowledge. One will be your primary currency, the other will be your secondary currency.
You can pay with money.
Ah but don’t forget the secondary currency. You need to know enough to determine whether the ad space you’re buying is valuable, or if the consultant you hired is actually worth what you’re paying them for their help.
You can pay with your time.
But how much time you’re going to spend vary with how much you know about what you’re doing. If you’re trying to fix that clogged toilet yourself, you’ll be done quickly if you know how to snake a drain.
You could even pay with another person’s time. But there’s that secondary currency again. You may have to compensate them for their time. The more you know, the less money you’ll have to spend, no matter whose time it is you’re spending.
You can even pay with your knowledge. This is a trickier concept to get.
Think of it this way. If you know how to change the oil in your car, it will take some time, but you won’t have to spend your money. If you don’t know how to do it, you can take your vehicle to a mechanic. But if you don’t know what a fair price is, brace your wallet for a rip off.
So sure, you might not always have to go into your pocket to get more leads for your business.
But don’t get it twisted. You ALWAYS pay for marketing.
Get foundational knowledge
and save some – or all- your money
If you’re an Eric B and Rakim fan like I am (let’s pretend I didn’t just date myself), you understand what that quote is about.
If not, I’ll put it to you like this.
Learning about digital marketing for entrepreneurs, or as we call it here in the web ghetto, free traffic, is a bit like learning to live by your wits as a hustler.
A lot of people will tell give you tips. all with different motivations. The vast majority of them are decent small business owners like you are. But due diligence is key.
Some of them will have vast expertise- but only present you tips that worked last year. Others will have very little experience – but more than you, so they know how to be slick enough to sell you – then you get behind the curtain and there’s no substance.
I’ll tell you my motives up-front:
- I hope you’ll sign up for my newsletter. It’s where I often share my best tips, but also where I tell you about my available products and services.
- Proving my expertise is important to me.
- I know some people can’t afford help. So if that’s you, I hope you’ll use my free tips, then come back for more as I help you bootstrap into the next stage.
- These posts are also proof of my popularity to people who send me invitations to their conferences. There isn’t much time for me to promote myself but I put up good enough numbers to show that I’m not a flash in the pan.
- It ain’t hard to tell that I could make a lot more money keeping my mouth shut and only selling my knowledge. But truly? I’ll still do this when I’m a millionaire, just like I did when I was flat broke. Because it’s partly just for the love of it.
A handful of us being open about how traffic generation isn’t rocket science has gotten rid of a lot of the scam artists in this industry.
Are my reasons better than any one else?
I doubt it. All I’m saying is, be wary of people whose motivations for helping you are unclear.
Our Top Focus Areas of Marketing
Our next post will go into a few primer resources by respected colleagues of mine you can reference ahead of time, to get some deeper insight or beginner tips.
From there we’ll spend the rest of April talking about how to get started for both newbies and those of you who have already used various marketing methods to promote your site.
Sidebar: If you’re more advanced than that, you probably need one of our quick guides, coaching, training or consulting from your favorite expert on the topic at hand (which I hope is me, but I sincerely hope you’ll do what works for you.)
Starting this month and for the next year, we’ll be tackling the following areas. I’ll go back and forth but concentrate mainly on one primary area each month.
- Research and preparation
- Email marketing
- Blogging as the rock of social media
- Social and new media beyond blogging
- Expert content marketing
- Lucrative search engine marketing
- Link building as traffic generation
- Expertise marketing
- Local and Mobile
- Multimedia featuring video
- PR & Publicity
- Partnership and cooperation
That’s not to say we aren’t going to get into other areas. We are.
And I may not go in that order, it’ll depend on what makes sense. The only thing I can say for sure is that we WILL start with prep and research. If you want to build a palace that lasts, you don’t use puffy clouds as a foundation.
Digital marketing is one of those things that has a higher potential to go wrong the worse your start is.
But you can recover even if you start poorly. We’ll talk about that too.