I’m just going to say it. A lot of marketers scare me. They are absolutely essential, don’t get me wrong. They do amazing things and the vast majority of us have a LOT to learn from them. That said…They’re old-school in their experience, but entering (because they HAVE to) and teaching, a world they do NOT UNDERSTAND well enough. That world? The internet. Social media. Technology. And what scares me is not their good intentions, or that they aren’t good people. It’s they don’t know enough to know their gap in knowledge.
How does this happen, exactly?
Well, marketing is about selling yourself well. The problem is when a marketer isn’t tech-saavy, they may focus on the WRONG THINGS. Or they may focus TOO TIGHTLY on one thing and ignore huge issues.
Focusing on writing good content, at the expense of how the HECK are you getting people to READ the good market-saavy text? Great text, unread because you can’t get website traffic is, well, great, unread text! (This is why I have not just a website content training but an ORGANIZATION training…how to organize your website for search engines and your reader.)
Learning one little piece of wisdom and not knowing the nuance. You’ll hear people say “get a website with the phrase of what you do because search engines like it.” I finally got tired of hearing that and created an entire lesson on website names, your options, and the NUANCE. There are short and long term issues to consider in your website name. Do you know what they are? Do you know what your options are and how you can take advantage of technology to enhance your website name? Do you know that advice is actually costing people quite a bit of wasted money?
Marketers love passive income and love to tell you how you too can make passive income. But again, they may tell how to come up with the book/podcast/ezine, but they’re not likely to tell you how to actually market it, nor tell you how much insane amount of time and effort it takes to actually make real money. They’re also not going to tell you that you’re a crappy writer, or have an awful topic, or let you know that famous authors with amazing publicity machines behind them still rarely make a lot on their books. Books you can find in book stores, books with brand recognition, books you know when you buy you can resell used and make some money back. I know someone who makes probably 3 client sessions worth of money every month from sales on her website. Pretty cool, eh? But what she’ll also tell you is that it took years, still takes huge effort, and that she would not suggest most people try. If you took the amount of time she spent to build up, and get ongoing sales, it is far higher than her therapy fee per hour.
Marketers love marketing. They love going to meetings and conferences on marketing. They are not, however, usually nose-to-the-ground where the real people are that you’re trying to attract. Nor are they going to conferences on “how to market tiny websites with minimal website traffic.” This is what most therapy websites are. If you were to tell me that you only had 3 hours to get training or insight on marketing your website, I am pretty sure my advice would be to spend those three hours in the online world, finding a website, forum, live chat, somewhere that YOUR client hangs out. And read. Absorb. Observe what people are writing about and what responses they get. Don’t engage. Just observe. You will learn more in those 3 hours about how YOU fit in as a solution because hopefully you’ll learn that what YOU care about doesn’t matter. It’s what your customer/client cares about that matters. Then, you have the most amazing, rich fodder to start building your website, so when you do market it, you aren’t marketing generic crap, but amazingly unique, grounded, real-world information that your reader is going to love. (This is the origin of Take Back Your Wedding, a book my father and I wrote based on thousands of posts on bridal message boards, with real life stories as well. It doesn’t read like a top down boring list of family systems theories. It reads as real world,engaging principles that you happen to be able to apply to family systems theory.)
Finally, marketers have a lot of rules about how you need to run things. You “need” newsletters. You need to contact your customer every x days/weeks/months. They stress you out and make you feel like your own instincts can never really work or be right. In my few years of doing websites and meeting with tons of varied therapists, one thing I know for sure is there is no guarentees. Some therapists (like my dad), are crazy lucky, get on Oprah, 20/20, all the national morning shows, get high paid corporate gigs where he gets to share his Ph.D. research skills and expertise. My dad is the most unbusiness man you can imagine. He doesn’t do things for the money. He doesn’t do things that don’t sit well for him. He doesn’t *gasp* collect names and addresses when he speaks to groups. He has never had to market to get clients. But, as the daughter, I see the nitty gritty. I see why he gets journalists calling him about 2 times a week (hint: he has learned to speak in sound bytes, he knows to never sell himself but to directly respond to what the journalist wants, and he gets back to journalists ASAP.) I see why he speaks to groups (amazingly rich fodder to share with journalists as well as to learn what is happening on the ground, away from academia land.) I see why corporations love him (a great combo of media saavy, research skills, sociological perspectives, and practicing marriage and family therapist.)
In summary, this may explain why I hate thinking of myself as a “web marketer.” Even though I am one. There aren’t a ton of rules and there is room for a lot of creativity. And as I struggle to closely guard my integrity giving website advice, I hope you closely guard your instincts when it comes to how to market.