When it comes to marketing, there is no “easy” button

Courtesy Flickr, slgckgc   

Courtesy Flickr, slgckgc


Never blindly delegate or spend your way out of critical decisions about promoting your business.

By Roy Harryman

I love the Staples’ easy button (available here for $6.99).

But, as Beverly Sills said, “There are no shortcuts to any place worth going.” 

When it comes to marketing your business (or yourself), there is a circling flock of buzzards eager to take your money and “fix” your problems. No thought is required. Just write a check.

Here are a few examples:

  • “I can sell you a million emails! Imagine the possibilities if you just spam millions of people with your products. You’ll retire early!” You’ll also destroy your email sending reputation and likely be shut down by any email service provider you use.
  • “Hello, I’m with Google and I’d like to charge you $200 per month for what is actually a free listing.” Hint: They’re not with Google.
  • “Take advantage of our search engine optimization (SEO) package and get pushed to the top of Google rankings!” Hint: No one can guarantee this and SEO is a long-term process, not a one-time event.

On behalf of legit marketers, I apologize for these folks. They often charge you for what is free, give you “solutions” that cause problems and leave you dependent upon them for every minor change to your plan.

Certainly you must hire service providers. I am a service provider and I’m proud of what I do. 

However, I hire an accountant to do my taxes because I’m too busy marketing to dedicate the time needed to do taxes right. And I honestly don’t know how to do my taxes right. I would need to spend a disproportionate amount of time to simply complete my returns and then I’d probably mess something up. I’d end up losing money by “saving money” doing it myself.

We all need expert help, and it’s no different with marketing.

There is a balance between wasting time doing a mediocre job at what you’re not good at and blindly sending money to a program you don’t understand.

If you’re not a marketer, you probably won’t understand every technical point about email campaigns, search engine optimization and Google Analytics. But, at the end of the day, you must still own your marketing. 

What does that look like?
Before you write a check to a communications professional:

  • You and your marketer need to understand your goals.
  • You need to be able to explain – and your marketer needs to understand – what success looks like.
  • You need to understand your marketer’s strategy and the “why” behind it.

And of course you must know what it will cost.

The bottom line

  • Know what you want and need
  • Get several recommendations for a marketing pro
  • Ask lots of questions

Then partner with a marketer to make a big impact for your business.

Roy Harryman is the principal of Roy Harryman Marketing Communications, a firm helping small businesses to effectively connect with their customers, prospects and "suspects."