Old School? Time for Some New {Online} Tricks

I don’t know about you, but I kinda hate being the dumb kid in the room.  

You know what I mean: you feel the conversation swell around you, everyone getting a word in, and the group excitement builds. You realize in quiet horror that you have no freaking clue what these people are going on about. You can understand a word here and there but, for all intents and purposes, they’re speaking an entirely different language. You want to slink out of the room before someone calls on you sniper-style like Mrs. Richardson in 6th grade history. Ooof. Mighty unpleasant.

Because you have nothing to contribute. Zilch.

I started feeling this way myself about two years ago. After 15 years of consulting businesses on how to market, present, engage with clients, and build and grow, I realized I was woefully underprepared to talk to them about online marketing.

I mean, like many of you, I had built a pretty significant following on Twitter early on, and I’d created a decent Instagram presence. My Facebook moves were basically creating solid, brand-forward business pages and also posting stuff on my personal page. Translation: my skills were pretty weak. And utterly related to shouting into the abyss.

What I mean by that is: any “marketing” I was doing was push, outbound…shouting. Which honestly worked for awhile because the algorithm monsters hadn’t crawled under our digital beds yet and there was a pretty good chance that, with a little insight and planning, my posts would be seen by my audience. Today? Not so much. The odds are stacked against us.

Which has meant two things: One, entrepreneurs are increasingly frustrated that the “old ways” aren’t working anymore. And two, they aren’t able to take advantage of the “new ways” yet because they don’t have the vocabulary to speak this new, evolved language. The language of attraction, pull, inbound marketing…on this magical online platform called the interwebs.

It’s time for us old schoolers to learn some new tricks.

It was with THAT mindset that I struck out a couple years ago to start educating myself in the strategies and tactics of online marketing. And in that time I’ve spent hundreds of hours (and thousands of dollars…yep) learning from the best in the business. I’ve absorbed and implemented what I’ve learned from tips, tricks, podcasts, courses, webinars, seminars, books, blog posts, and the myriad ways of delivering information and education these days.  

(Side note: how incredible is it that we can do this all from the comfort of our bunny slippers and yoga pants?!)

I’ve also culled out the crap, too. The fly by night, get rich quick, flash in the pan stuff that either works for a minute and then flops, or isn’t remotely helpful for small businesses? I took it with a giant flake of salt, filed the lessons away, and kept moving on to the strategies and tactics that actually matter. Through the lens of a marketer, I nailed down what actually helps a small business grow. Simply, effectively and without sucking the resources out of a business.

And one of those things is an effective online presence.

Recently, I put together a beta test of a new product I’m selling – an Online Presence Audit & Assessment. The idea here was to take a comprehensive look at a business’s growth goals and activities and weigh them alongside their online presence. We’d see gaps in strategy, as well as just some basic fundamental improvements the business could make in their social media platforms, website content & functionality, audience building activities, and so forth.

Not surprisingly, many of the same issues were prevalent from business to business – no matter what type of organization, whether they had an office or a store or an online shop – having to do with how businesses presented themselves today.

Today being the operative word.

If you created a website 3 years ago, guess what? It’s going to need some love again. If you have collected email addresses and merely sent out a random newsletter? You’ll want to look at those tactics with fresh eyes. If you created a Facebook Business Page and become an “oh shit” poster (as in, “Oh shit, I haven’t posted in a week…I should throw something out there!”) or you’ve done little more than boost a post here and there? Yep, it’s time for a reboot.

I spoke with a number of business owners during this beta process, and they all expressed similar thoughts:

I know I could be doing more.

I realize things have changed online again, and I haven’t kept up.

I’m just not sure where to even start.

Which totally makes sense. And it’s 100% where *I* was 2 years ago.

My goal has always been to make marketing simple and straightforward. Instead of trying to be everywhere, I’ve helped businesses pick and choose the MOST impactful places to “show up,” and to tie their activities with some sort of ROI. Meaning, whatever they do, it has to provide a return towards an intentional, designated goal.

There’s a number of things to pick apart in that statement above but they all start to boil down to:

  • Knowing who your Ideal Customer is
  • Knowing what they need from you
  • Knowing how to build and engage your audience
  • Knowing how to create and/or deliver the right products
  • Knowing how to announce, promote, and sell those products at the right time
  • And, knowing what to do next

I know it sounds like a big “le duh” but the elements here are simple, straightforward, and painfully critical to business success.  NBD, right? Wrong. Getting these pieces nailed down can mean the difference between an effective Facebook Ad or one that just burns cash. It can mean the difference between crushing your aggressive subscription/membership goals, or struggling along drip by drip. It can mean the difference between thriving or surviving.

It’s taken me awhile to figure out how I can best serve in this new environment. My days of consulting on big marketing projects are all but over…mostly because I dream of serving smaller businesses and entrepreneurs that simply don’t have the budget for it. I want to share my 25+ years of experience, my unique skills, and my passion for online leverage but in a new way.

Which is why I’m VERY excited to present the next evolution in my own online presence.

This website is now chock full of new coaching, seminars and workshops designed to serve those smaller businesses with grit and tenacity and limited budgets – businesses like yours and mine.

Have a peek around but let me also call out a few highlights that you might want to check out:

  • A free 5 day eCourse coming up next week to get you back up to speed on how to use Facebook for Business…these days.  Sign up here!
  • A quick guide to the 5 Mistakes You’re Making Online right now…and how to fix them.  Grab the download.
  • My up and coming Facebook Live show! Yep, you heard it here first. I’ll be going live on the weekly starting this week.  Make sure you “like” my Tracy by Design page and watch for me this Thursday at 2pm Central! This week we’ll be talking Facebook, baby.

See you there!