When I started my business everything I read, everyone I spoke to and my own logic told me that I needed to write a business plan. But I always struggled to write one. I never knew why until 5 years on, when I can look back with a bit of perspective. Sure the time was always hard to find although I would find the time and just start writing. I realise now that the real problem was because I didn’t really understand how a business worked nor how it grew, I lacked experience. I honestly didn’t know what to plan for.
After all my experiences with building and continuing to grow Freestyle Media, I feel I could easily write a business plan for a new business. I could probably estimate expenses and predict revenues quite easily. I have learnt that I won’t be able to predict to 1 decimal place since business is dynamic and things change. I have learnt that businesses grow slowly to be sustainable and they tend to grow at the speed of experience the people running it have.
Throughout my journeys the way in which I learnt what to plan for in the business was through asking other people who had already been down the path. I also hired more experienced people to guide me and give me insights as to what to consider.
Is your 2008 online marketing plan like your business plan tough to write? Do you feel you need some more experience? Online marketing experience is rare to find although easily learnt.
4 Tips to Quickly Build Your Online Marketing Experience
- Read voraciously – Consume books, videos, dvds, articles and whitepapers to fuel your hunger for knowledge. Normally, you will take out 3 or 4 things from each piece of material. Most of it is usually filled with filler or things you already knew. Read it quickly and skip over areas that you feel are not valuable. Because you have so much information to read try and be conscious of how fast you are reading and try and speed it up.
- Test your new knowledge – Create experiments and little websites, emails, buy small amounts of paid search engine marketing or tinker with a current website. Your experience will grow in the mistakes and wins that you get from these and your real experiments. Copy a competitor’s tinkerings and create a similar experiment to learn from what they have done.
- Talk to people in a similar situation – Other people in other niches will have brilliant ways of solving problems that you experience right now. Sometimes they can illuminate a long way down a knowledge path. For example, how do they use analytics and what program have they put in place to manage and maintain it.
- Go to events – The difficultly with just reading is its 1 way learning its not 2 way, where you can ask questions and immediately solve that little problem in your mind. After you read things on your own you tend to build up a series of learnings but also a whole knew series of other questions. If you can solve those then and there on the spot that is when you get speed learning.
If you want to help points 1, 3 and 4 perhaps consider my online marketing seminar “Online Traffic Power” on the 28th of February. Meet other marketers in your position, share experiences and ideas and most of all improve your online marketing knowledge to gain more traffic and leads from your website.
4 ways quick ways to increase your traffic
- Write new content – Add some new content about some recent news, a review of a latest trend or even review the content and add to some of your services pages. This will give Google some new content food to eat and hopefully give you another chance to get more traffic.
- Start search engine marketing – Get yourself on Google and run a little test of Google adwords. If you want to take it to another level hire a search engine marketer and do an audit of your website.
- Send an email – Sending an email to your database with links back to new content on your website will get you instant traffic. People in your database already know who you are and have already shown interest in what you have to offer. Give them another reason to come back and you will see an increase in traffic.
- Audit where you promote your website – make sure your website address is listed at every promotional opportunity such as :
• Business card
• Email signature
• Print advertisements
• Business shirts
• Promo cars
• Blog comments
• TV ads
• Signatures in forums
• Facebook profile
• And every single other interaction you have with the web
- Bonus Tip! – Swap databases with a partner and promote your content in their newsletter. If you are a florist partner with a wedding planning company and include a little snippet promoting your article on “How to choose the perfect wedding flowers for your wedding?”