Are your internet marketing efforts in vain?

by on October 19, 2011

Small business internet marketingIt’s tough. You work hard at your social media. You plug away at your website. And it seems to be getting you nowhere.

You’re not getting likes. Retweets. Shares. Comments. Mentions. Hits. You feel like you’re putting yourself out there, but no one is noticing.

Have you ever considered throwing in the towel? Thought that this online stuff just wasn’t doing it for you?

This post isn’t so much about tips and tricks. It’s more of an inspirational keep at it post.

For the most part, what you’re creating and putting out there for your small business online will not get the outward recognition that we all crave. How else are we supposed to know that our efforts are worth it? But don’t despair! Here’s why you should keep at it regardless…

It takes time

In online marketing, patience is a very important virtue. It does not happen overnight. It takes time and consistent effort to build and maintain an online presence for your small business. And you will start to see jumps and spurts. You just need to be a little patient.

It’s not a numbers game

Many individuals and small business owners make the mistake of thinking that the most important thing in internet marketing is the numbers. Number of Twitter followers. Website traffic. Facebook likes. Blog comments. Email subscribers.

They are important, but the true holy grail of marketing is engagement. You can have thousands upon thousands of connections online, but if none of them are actually interested in your small business, where does that get you? A hundred connections that are keenly interested in your small business will do you more good than a thousand that completely ignore you.

Stop the comparisons

We all compare ourselves to others. We’re so hard wired to compare ourselves to others that we’ll often do so even when it just doesn’t make sense. We’ll look at the social media guru with 15,000 Twitter followers and get discouraged.

There are just too many variables at play in social media success, even when it is a direct competitor or someone who works with the same target market. You can drive yourself crazy trying to think about how they achieved their success. You can follow their every move.

But why don’t you just concentrate on delivering value in the way that you do best? Focusing on helping people and sharing your skill set is what your small business marketing should be focused on. Not how many likes your competitor has.

When the little green eyed monster rears its ugly head, or that voice in your head tries to tell you that you will never succeed at online marketing (or anything if the voice is particularly nasty on that day), take a deep breath. Replace that negative emotion with a positive one. Praise and see their success as inspiration, not discouragement.

If you want (or have the time) spend a little time looking over their strategy from a learning perspective. And then let it go. Focus on yourself and the value that you are bringing to your people. That’s all that matters in the end. Do your best and keep on learning.

You are reaching more people than you know with your efforts

We tend to look at online marketing activities in terms of concrete ways that we can prove the value of what we are doing. We’ll look at how many people like our update. Retweet our promotion. Comment on our blog post.

Yes, these are great metrics to look at, but let me tell you something, the great majority of people that read, notice and APPRECIATE your content, will not interact with it in any way. We’re all busy and not all of us are super into social media internet stuff. There is a silent hoard of people that are loving what you do – without you knowing it. I can vouch for this personally.

With time, with consistent effort, with a desire to learn and improve your skills, with a commitment to providing value, you will make progress in your small business internet marketing. It may come in spurts. It may get your down for months with nothing happening. You just have to persevere. I promise that you will see a return on your efforts.

Image source: prozac1 /

Comments, likes and tweets are always appreciated! Did I mention that I LOVE your feedback?

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{ 21 comments… read them below or add one }

Loretta Zortman October 20, 2011 at 2:09 pm

Thank you for the timely email! I was SO feeling like that today — and I’m going to stop being a Negative-Nelly and start re-energizing. Being a one-person marketer though has its inherent downfalls and, in this rather “challenging” economy, it’s extra-difficult. Stuff can play on your mind! I enjoyed your email! Thanks again!


Martina October 21, 2011 at 7:52 am

All of us solopreneurs feel this way at one point or another, if not every week 🙂 The challenge is to rise above your negative thoughts and fears and persevere. Thanks for your comment Loretta!


Navine October 20, 2011 at 3:11 pm

Best piece of advice I have today. I needed to be reminded of this. Thanks and keep the good work


Martina October 21, 2011 at 7:53 am

Thanks Navine! So glad it was useful.


A Website Designer October 20, 2011 at 3:56 pm

Hi Martina, nice post. I think content marketing is a big leap of faith. It requires an incredible amount of effort and likely little or no reward for months or years.

I totally understand the need to measure your progress otherwise how do you know if you are wasting your time (there is a chance that it’s not working right?). If you can’t measure it you can’t manage it right. It’s totally different from other forms of marketing in that respect in that it’s very difficult to measure with numbers because you might be right on the cusp of breaking through to an audience but you may not know it.

I still like to measure or keep an eye on different aspects of what I do (i.e. comments on my blog posts, retweets, visitors from Google, visitors form forums, Klout score (which is pretty crappy) because I want to see some indication that I’m making progress.
A Website Designer recently posted..SEO case study – 6 months free SEO competition winner announced


Martina October 21, 2011 at 7:58 am

Thanks Dan! You hit the nail on the head – little or no reward for month or years. This can be a really tough pill to swallow, but as long as you’re aware that this is how it works, it can help quash the negativity. You’re right though that measuring is important – and it’s so easy with online marketing. You do need to keep track of your efforts and try to learn what is working. Just don’t let a lack of response get you down. Remember what your marketing goals are and keep on working towards them.


Alison Dias-Laverty October 20, 2011 at 5:26 pm

Very inspirational! I’ve had this thought when I first started our business but after awhile, without knowing it, we actually create awareness of ourselves. Thanks again Martina and thank you also for featuring us. I appreciate it.
Alison Dias-Laverty recently posted..How to use YouTube for Business


Martina October 21, 2011 at 8:00 am

It’s amazing how things just ramp up over time. It almost seems to be like magic sometimes, but it comes down to all that hard work you put in already. Glad to hear that it’s worked for your biz. An absolute pleasure to feature your business this week! You’ve been a fantastic supporter and I really appreciate having you with us 🙂


Jasmine October 22, 2011 at 10:19 am

Hi Martina,
Thanks for saying out loud what many of us must think at times.
I am relatively new at internet marketing, especially social networking which I have been at for less than a year.
When my ex-business partner asked me why I was tweeting, I said that honestly I wasn’t sure why. It’s something that I’m trying. I have no idea if this particular activity will work for me or not. Is it worth my time? It’s still too early to tell.
In the meanwhile after reading this post I feel encouraged. Thanks.


Jasmine October 22, 2011 at 10:21 am

Mmmmm, let me modify that. When I think about it I see that I tweet to make new connections, and to develop and reinforce old connections.


Martina October 24, 2011 at 11:45 am

Thanks for sharing your personal experience Jasmine! It can be really hard to keep at it and all kind of self doubt creeps in when you’re not seeing results. You just have to focus on your end goal and keep at it. There’s definitely something to be said though for making sure that you are using the right online marketing strategy in the first place. You will most likely have to make adjustments and re prioritize over time as you learn more and more about what works for your business and your customers.


Management Direct October 27, 2011 at 2:22 am

Thanks for a clear discussion of this issue. Many do get discouraged which is not helped by the sort of expectations that some unscrupulous companies are in the habit of raising. Your return to the maxim ‘provide for your customers needs’ is the best advice. Brian


Martina October 27, 2011 at 9:32 am

Thanks for the comment Brian! You’re so right that there are a lot of unrealistic expectations out there when it comes to social media. Trying to pump up your numbers in any way you can will not necessarily help out your biz. It’s all about being of value.


Cyndra November 3, 2011 at 7:03 am

If you are running an online business and blogging your heart out most days, you know what I mean! Don’t get me wrong, I adore blogging, getting my message out and helping others.


Martina November 3, 2011 at 8:20 am

Thanks Cyndra! Adoring what you’re doing is an important part of the equation. Despite this so many of us worry that it’s not getting us anywhere. Just keep on focusing on that passion.


Ivan Walsh November 3, 2011 at 11:07 am

Hi Martina,

Google Panda has made many people re-think their marketing strategy. Some sites who played by the rules seem to have been caught in the crossfire, so to speak. Social media may be another avenue to explore, so it’s not all in vain

Ivan Walsh recently posted..10 Ways to Write B2B White Papers That Generate Leads


Martina November 4, 2011 at 7:48 am

Yes, the Panda upgrade was a challenge for many a small business. You’re right that with internet marketing, there are so many avenues. Sussing out opportunities is an important part of creating your online marketing strategy. Thanks for the comment Ivan!


Bridie Jenner November 7, 2011 at 11:28 pm

What a fantastic post, absolutely spot on!

I get a little sick and tired of people who crow about how many Facebook fans or twitter followers they have – they’re missing the point entirely.

I’ve been blogging for just over a year now and there certainly have been times when I’ve wondered why I’m wasting my time with it. Other than one post (which has almost 300 retweets!) I’m lucky if a post makes it to double figures in the tweet department, but my business has benefited from my blog in other ways. For instance, just one retweet by a follower ended up in me landing my very first twitter client, purely a case of “right place, right time” but if I hadn’t had a blog post to tweet they would never have known about my existence.
Bridie Jenner recently posted..Your essential networking checklist


Martina November 8, 2011 at 8:43 am

Thanks for sharing your personal experience Bridie! That’s a perfect example of the power of social media.


Gina Lofaro aka the wordmistress November 8, 2011 at 6:25 am

Loved this post! I expend a lot of energy in trying to convince business owners that their efforts are not in vain. Let’s face it, online marketing strategies are often instinctive and as such, unmeasurable. And no one can keep up with the ever-changing algorithms that are set down by the powers-that-be. Forget comparisons with competitors. Set your own benchmark and keep aiming to raise it with every achievement. Numbers of followers mean squat if they’re not interested in you. Keep it real, be authentic, keep talking and even though a big chunk of your audience may not respond visibly or audibly, they may just be taking in everything you say … and sharing it with others!
Gina Lofaro aka the wordmistress recently posted..Great Copywriting Starts Before Your Website Build


Martina November 8, 2011 at 8:45 am

Hear, hear Gina! You just never know where your efforts can take you, or who is silently appreciating all that you do. Thanks for your insightful comment 🙂


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