Jan 21

Online Marketing: Anybody Can Do It

If you sell a service — anything from auto repair to tax preparation — you’ve heard potential customers or clients say “I can do that myself.”

Try selling online marketing and social media services to small-business owners. Lots of them started their businesses after saying “I can do that myself.” It’s hard to argue against the point. Any business that wants a Facebook page, a Google+ page, a Twitter account, a LinkedIn page or an Instagram account can do it for free with a tiny bit of computer savvy. if you can upload a photo, you can set up a social media account for a business.

Online Marketing diagramIn fact, a great deal of the online marketing world was set up to be do-it-yourself. Want to buy ads on Google Search? Start an account for free and go to town. All it costs is the price of a click, and you can decide how much you want to spend. The same goes for Facebook advertising. To promote one your Facebook posts as an “ad,” all it takes is a few mouse clicks and a credit card.

You can even build a good website with free tools that are simple to use. I say that because I can do it, and if I can do it, anybody can. None of this online marketing stuff is rocket science. My website costs me about $100 a year in hosting and domain fees.

So, when a small-business owner balks at paying someone else to do that stuff and says “I can do that myself,” I have to agree.

When your car needs an oil change, you’ve got three choices. If you know what you’re doing and have the time and resources, you can change the oil yourself. Option 2 is take the car to an auto mechanic or one of those one-stop oil-change places. Option 3 is do nothing.

Each option has a cost, even doing nothing. If you never change your car’s oil, you gamble that dirty oil won’t make any difference to the life of the car. If you change your own oil, the cost is time, plus cost of whatever special equipment you need. It also costs the time to learn how to do it. Even if you’ve been helping your dad change the oil since you were 6, you and he invested extra time to make sure you learned to do it right.

I figure I could learn to change the oil in my car, but I’m not mechanically adept. I choose option 2 every time. I know regular oil changes extend the life of my 10-year-old Hyundai Tucson. I’d rather pay an expert to change my oil. It saves me some time, and I know it will be done right.

So if you own a small business and can handle all of your social media and online marketing yourself, have at it. But if your competitor pays me for my online marketing training, experience and insight, we’ll eat your lunch.

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