If you’re going to engage in internet marketing to promote your company’s products and services, you need commitment, flexibility and patience. Characteristics that also come in handy if you’re training for a marathon. I speak from experience. Last Sunday, I completed the 2014 Walt Disney World Marathon.
I didn’t finish in the top ten. Heck, I didn’t even finish in the top 1,000. I was out on that course for over 8 hours (counting the 45 minutes waiting in the corral to start the race!) but I finished. And more importantly, I raised more than $1700 for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, got my Mickey Mouse medal, and basked in the pain and glory of joining an elite group of people who have completed multiple marathons. (Yep, I’m a glutton for punishment. This was my 2nd marathon.)
Keys to Success: Preparation and Training
As anyone who does long distance running will tell you, you don’t just decide to run a marathon one week, and do the race the next. I made this decision last summer, and trained for five months to get my body ready to handle the distance.
That training involved trying out different types of food to eat to see what worked best to sustain energy during a long run. I also tried out different clothes and shoes to wear. I didn’t run 26 miles the first day either. I ran two or three miles a day at the beginning. Those daily miles slowly increased each week to allow my body to adjust to the demands being placed on it, and to prepare it to compete effectively in the race. Once I had a few long runs under my belt, I was able to complete the full 26.2 miles when it mattered on race day.
Successful Marketing Requires Time and Effort
Generating sales for your business also requires a lot of time, effort and a willingness to try different strategies. No two businesses are alike and no two customers are alike. You have to experiment to find the right combination of marketing strategies that will allow you to connect with your target audience. Once that connection is made, then you have the opportunity to make the sale.
Internet marketing used to mean launching a website and waiting for the phone to ring. But those days are long gone. Since the vast majority of people search online, your website has to rank high on Google to get found. But ranking high on Google for a certain keyword phrase is getting tougher to do all the time. Every time there’s a Panda or Hummingbird algorithm change, panic sets in among marketers, and cries of “SEO is dead” are shouted from the rooftops.
Here’s the thing. SEO’s not dead. You still need an optimized website, and it should be easily accessed on a mobile device. But you need more than a website to be competitive. Your online marketing strategies should include email and social media. Now, both of these methods require time to nurture leads. That’s where the patience I mentioned earlier comes in. If you’re not patient and willing to try new tactics, you’re going to be unhappy and ultimately, unsuccessful.
Variety is the Spice of Spcial Media Life
If I were starting a new business today, I would launch a website and a blog. Uploading keyword-rich articles to your website on a regular basis keeps the search engine spiders happy. It’s also a perfect vehicle to address customer questions about your product or service, and establish yourself as a thought leader in your industry. Each article you write can be shared across various social media channels like Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn. This helps more people learn about your company, and provides much-needed backlinks to your website. I’d also repurpose my blog articles as videos, and upload them to YouTube and my website. Then, I’d also explore other, newer social media channels like Pinterest and Instagram to see if they would be useful as another way to reach my target audience.
The road to success isn’t easy. There were times on Sunday when I wanted to give up. But I didn’t because then all that marathon training would have been for nothing. It’s the same thing with business. Some days are going to be harder than others. Your phone may be ringing off the hook one week, and dead silent the next. But as long as you stay committed, are willing to be flexible and patient, you can go the distance and enjoy the rewards of a successful business.