Attention: Internet Marketing, Contrary to popular belief, is NOT FREE

by Jonathan Marshall

Frank Reed from Search Marketing Standard wrote a great article about SMBs (small and medium businesses) and the disconnect between understanding they need to make a serious push to increase their online marketing efforts, and then paying for those efforts. When it comes to discussing payment, they hit the brakes and start and start bartering. It gets ridiculous.

We deal with these clients all the time, and you can always immediately tell the difference between the ones who understand what they are paying for, and the others. It’s a circular song and dance that comes from SMBs about how they are aware they need to take a more active approach toward their Internet marketing strategies. Many get that concept, but unfortunately just understanding that fact is not enough. The other end of that unfortunately is the part that leads to the eventual breakdown of their business. This is where their internet marketing efforts usually stop, and it stops with this statement, “but I don’t want to spend any money. What can we do for free? At this point, search marketing consultants should pack their bags and run, because this mindset leads to a horrible business relationship, and ultimately doesn’t allow them to execute appropriate search marketing services and strategies. Frank goes on to discuss this circular debate below- well said Frank.

I see this happen in Chamber of Commerce environments where everyone wants to meet you and buy you a cup of coffee so you can talk all about your knowledge of the Internet, but when it comes to the reality of “these things cost money,” you can hear crickets during the stunned silence. SMBs attend every free event that gives them the most generic advice, but when it comes to the point of paying for a real service that will produce results, they run like mice when the lights go on.

I know the economy is bad. I know money is tight. Does that mean, however, that you don’t need to still spend money to make money? Here’s some advice for all Internet marketing service providers and those looking for their services. As we rapidly approach that time of year when SMBs need to decide if they will again throw good money at their Yellow Pages presence, there needs to be some serious thought applied to this traditional advertising play. SMBs will be assaulted by aggressive sales people and then be put into the spin cycle about how they can get the best of both the online and offline world with the Yellow Pages offerings. Must … resist … the …. Yellow …. Pages … sales ….. pitch.

Everyone needs to stop, listen, and truly think. I am going to suggest something truly revolutionary. It actually may not cost the SMB anything more than is currently spent for advertising to effectively do Internet marketing! I call this process the “Budget Theory”. Maybe as an SMB you have been buying YP ads for ages and it’s just something you do. Well, this year, why not take that dead marketing spend [unless you can truly say that you are experiencing a real ROI with that YP spend, in which case it’s not dead, so keep doing it] and apply it where you know you need to be — on the Internet. That’s right; say no to your Yellow Pages rep and start to apply that money to the place you really want to be.