Yesterday I attended a conference called eMarketing for Entrepreneurs. As the title would suggest, the conference was geared to helping small business owners wade through what can often be the overwhelming and ever-changing world of Internet marketing.
The conference included a great keynote address from John Jantsch of Duct Tape Marketing who stressed the importance of marketing as the #1 activity in any small business. While the conference covered topics from SEO (search engine optimization) to blogging and podcasts, a couple of things became evident to me as the day progressed.
Already overwhelmed small business owners find it difficult to keep up with the latest & greatest trends in online marketing and figuring out exactly “how will a blog help my restaurant?” The thing to keep in mind with any of these latest & greatest marketing strategies is that they are simply tools. Tools in the sense that at the core they are no different from print advertising, billboards, or direct mail. The key part of any marketing strategy is knowing who your target market is and what do they care about. The podcast, website or catalog is just a chosen vehicle to deliver that message to your market.
So if you’re new to this thing known as eMarketing, take a deep breath, relax, and smile! The focus of your marketing strategy hasn’t changed, there are just some cool new toys to use to deliver that message and open up conversations with your customers in ways that historically haven’t been possible. So before you go barreling ahead with a revamped web site that is fully optimized for search engines, a blog, a podcast, a pay-per-click advertising campaign, and a vodcast to boot, make sure you have enough time to continue to service those current customers so that when you pop your head back out of the virtual world your business is still there!