There are a lot of ways to market an Internet business these days. Off the top of my head, here are 10.
(Free cookie to the first person who catches the connecting theme.*)
- Serious, very active blogging
- Serious, very active video production
- Serious, very active podcasts
- Serious, very active social media usage
- Serious, very active in-person networking
- Serious, very active advertising
- Serious, very active outreach like guest posting, interviews, etc
- Serious, very active PR campaigning
- Serious, very active SEO
- Serious, very active public speaking
(*It is a virtual cookie. It is a cookie of the mind.)
Now, I have repeatedly said that if anybody says you MUST do any of the above, or any other marketing activity specifically, that you should throw eggs at them. If someone says you MUST blog, or MUST make videos, or you MUST whatever, well, yes. We implement the egg rule. (If you do happen to hate and/or suck at blogging, for instance, we have addressed that topic here.)
But while it is true that there's nothing we specifically have to do, the one specific thing we have to do is… something.
One of the common complaints floating around in the zeitgeist ether lately is people saying that they don't like blogging, they don't like podcasting, they don't want to do video, they hate social media or only want to use it socially, in-person networking events gross them out, they can't afford ads… and so on, and so on, and so on.
I can understand that. Not everything is everybody's cup of tea, and not everything is within everybody's means, reach or capacity. But considering all the hates and the don't-wannas and the ain't-good-ats, one is called to ask, “Well, what kind of marketing DO you want to do?”
Answer: “I don't KNOW!!! That's the PROBlem!!!”
Hmm. Yes. I can see how that is a problem. The next logical question is, “Ok, well, what kind of marketing do you like?”
Answer: “None! I HATE marketing!”
(Running a company and hating marketing strikes me as a little like being a massage therapist and hating touching people, but I would say that. I'm in marketing.)
This makes me think of marriage.
It makes me think of a world in which not one person, but dozens, hundreds, thousands, and possibly tens of thousands of people are in forums saying this:
“I have to get being married sorted out. I HAVE to make this work. I NEED it. I'm DESPERATE. But…
- I don't like sex,
- I don't want conversations,
- I don't want to share activities,
- I don't enjoy cooking,
- I'm crap at homemaking,
- I don't like other people's families,
- I don't want kids,
- I don't want to contribute financially,
- I don't like sleeping in the same room with other people, and
- I don't like church.”
They yell, REALLY loud, that they hate men, and they honestly wonder why getting married isn't working.
Then they're taking Get Married classes, and going into Get Married communities, and demanding help finding a spouse, but complaining about every suggested option.
They say things like, “[audible sigh] I know I have to do marriage stuff. I just don't want to do THAT kind of marriage stuff.”
Or, “[audible sigh] I tried sex. It didn't work. Nobody liked it.”
Or, “[audible sigh] I don't have time to be involved with a man's family and have conversations and do stuff together. What I'm looking for is a way to get a husband without having to do all that stuff.”
It's almost like you can hear them winking. Like they know you have the secret, and they're fully confident they've uttered the magic Abracadabra that unlocks the easy, fun way.
It would be ridiculous if we said that to a matchmaker. But people say it to marketing professionals all the time.
It has been said that until an enterprise achieves traction, the proprietors of that enterprise should spend 80% of their time marketing. Based on an eight hour work day, that's 384 minutes, or just under six and a half hours. For service professionals or those with day jobs, that's not necessarily feasible.
In the absence of six and a half hours, the proprietor must then unfortunately content him- or herself with every spare minute.
So what do you do if pretty much every known expert, guru, teacher, leader, coach, consultant and hack says that you're supposed to spend somewhere between 384 minutes and every spare minute of the day doing something you don't like?
Since there is no non-marketing option, and there is no seminar to attend that will teach how to build a business without marketing, and there probably isn't a seminar that will teach a marketing method that doesn't at least a little bit suck, maybe it's time to fully commit to the one we hate the least.
Cue up the big text.
Maybe it's time to fully commit to the marketing strategy we hate the least.
If we resist doing that, it seems like the remaining options are getting a job, living off someone else forever, or starving. The fact that those options suck does not, unfortunately, conjure up a new kind of marketing we'll love.
And yet that's what a lot of people seem to think is going to happen. People tell me, to my face, that they can't get a job, can't face living off someone else, and are already near starving.
And then they pause, like that changes the answer.
Like they hope I'll say, “Oh, you're screwed? Well, then! Why didn't you say so? Here, in that case, I'll tell you the way millions of people just like you are getting paid to eat brownies all day.”
So, in answer to the most common question I get, which is OMG I JUST DON'T KNOW WHAT TO DO WITH MY MARKETING OMG?!?!?!, here goes:
Pick between one and five items up there on the list. Try for the ones you hate less than you hate the other ones.
Do your best to work on them for 6 hours and 24 minutes a day.
No more than one of those hours can be spent “learning”.
You should be fine.