Do you want the latest news about what to do to improve your AMP or SERP? No? Well, I don’t either. And yet….?

Oh my…If you only knew about the things I read to try to keep you in the loop! This is an example of a headline that arrived in my inbox today! (Yes, I actually read about half the article before my eye’s glazed over and I realized I would never go this deep for my own site nor cover this in a blog post to you.)

Google’s AMP’s are set to appear in all mobile SERPs, rather than just the news carousel.

Google’s AMPs are designed to make mobile browsing a more frictionless experience. Rather than taking sites designed for desktop and making them responsive to mobile, AMPs are mobile first and only. It will mean clean, non-cluttered pages which will load far faster on mobile devices than your average responsive site. (Here’s the link if you actually want to learn more!)

So did that make you feel smarter – or just make your stomach ache a little?

Or are you still trying to figure out what AMP and SERP means? Well, I am here to tell you that I mostly ignore this stuff. While I do care about SERP; Search Engine Results Pages, a tiny bit, I don’t see myself caring much about AMP; “Accelerated Mobile Pages”. Maybe someday, I will try to figure out what I need to do. But for now, I am not deeply concerned about AMP.

I certainly try to understand what it takes to get good rankings. However, there’s only so much time in a day for a solo business owner, like me – and the vast majority of you reading this – to get that far into the weeds. When I have a “marketing team” working for me, I will tell them to read this article and go do the “code” stuff.

Priorities are priorities

For me, building an online selling platform is never going to be quite as important as building my client list. I have proof every week that the one thing that always brings me the most inquiries for my services and brings me the most sales is my blog posts. I send out two separate posts in weekly rotation. This one, which is all about marketing any small business with a service or a product and my Artist Only Blog. And then I do the magic part separately.

When I hit “publish”, I shortly thereafter hit send on my email lists and stuff happens. I will usually get contacted by one or more readers who finally realize it’s time to investigate hiring me. Or at least get a few high-fives from people telling me I am making a difference. Sometimes I even get comments! Woo Hoo!

That means that the time spent getting this post out to my readers is of value. I have an impact on those of you reading this right now and potential impact if someone needs my services. When I am hired, sustained financially, I am able to keep writing the posts and increasing my value to each of you. Win Win.

SO —– YES! I am beating this drum again. I don’t think I can say this enough times: Email ROCKS.

You MUST use email marketing. It's still the best way to control your marketing message. Click To Tweet

Are you snickering a bit? After all, I just encouraged you to tweet about using email marketing. Ironic? A little, but mostly it’s practical! If I can get someone signed up to read my blog posts, someday they might be a client. But that won’t be from one tweet, it will take time. But it can’t hurt and eventually, with me staying top-of-mind with emails, the phone calls and emails roll my way from potential clients.

Oldie but a Goldie!

It’s been a while since I have put out this graphic, but I saw it in a twitter post (Oh my! The irony continues!) recently and being the person who designed this infographic, I was thrilled to see it’s still traveling around the internet.

Email Marketing is 40 times more effective than social media

And even though the research is over two years old, the statistics are still totally intact. In fact, if this study by the world’s leading business management firm Mckinsey & Co., were done again today, it might be more like 50%!

This study was completed before the three major shifts on Facebook. At the time of this study, notifications of postings on FB were in the 20 to 30% range. Today, they average 2%. And while your mileage may vary – and from post to post you may have higher results – social media, in general, has never been as profitable as email marketing. Email effectiveness is still the same: around 90% of all the emails you send arrive in your subscriber’s inbox. Ah… the Power of the Inbox!

So do you like your chances of a sale with a 2% reach or 90%? Do you want people to head over to see your Facebook page and get caught up in the vast layers of enticing notifications and other activities or head to your website where you can control their journey and minimize their distractions?

Want likes or sales?

I know for many, you love your social media. I get it. You have grown your various accounts up to some impressive numbers and you are invested in those channels. Stay invested! If you have a good (and practical) method for staying on top of the posting daily or even just weekly and know that your target audience is engaging with you, then please keep doing that. Grow that audience, but use that opportunity to get their email addresses, too.

Just know this: all those likes and follows don’t mean sales. It’s tough to take people from that totally “fun browse” of their Instagram feed and turn them into a shopper of your product. They just finished reading ten (free) inspirational or funny quotes in a row or a mouth-watering pic of a fresh batch of cookies with a (free) “5-minute microwave in a cup recipe” and now you are going to try to turn them into a shopper? That’s quite a shift! They are in the shopping mood for sure when they are on! But on their Twitter Feed, Pinterest Pinnings, and going through Facebook notifications? Not so much!

The history of Social Media has its roots in sharing incidental information with “friends” and “likers” and “followers”. Facebook started as a way for students on a single college campus to gather online. Here are the first seven months of the timeline:

February 2004: Facebook starts on the campus of Harvard University.

March 2004: begins allowing people from other colleges and universities to join.

June 2004: moves its headquarters to Palo Alto, Calif.

September 2004: introduces the Wall, which allows people to write personal musings and other tidbits on profile pages.

Not a shopping cart in site for many years to come! And even though we now are all comfortable spending online, you are you own test case: where do you spend money online?

Play or Pay

I’ll openly admit that I am pretty darn inconsistent with my Social Media postings. I am still trying to figure out the vague nuances of Twitter. I keep avoiding Pinterest for some reason although I have had an account for a few years. Instagram totally alludes me as a content and service oriented business, but maybe it will make sense some day. I know some artists who make it work for them from time to time so visual arts may have an advantage. Oh… and Google+…. let’s not forget Google+! Just kidding. Go ahead and forget about it.

I am getting cozier and posting a bit more on Facebook and I have even run ads. And like all advertising, it takes some “golden words” and some other understanding of marketing to be effective. And Facebook makes it crazy simple to get really complex and target an audience. (And no, I don’t think that is a good thing.) Be very afraid. It’s really easy to spend money for no results on Facebook.

So in the end, if you don’t know how to write a killer ad and don’t know the rules behind the various “best practices” of Social Media advertising strategies, save your money and spend more time and money on emails.

All alone in a vast web with no clear set of instructions

We “soloprenuers”, we small business owners have some serious challenges. We face an ever-shifting set of rules and new technology that we are certain “must” be used. We are convinced that if we aren’t doing it all, we must not be good business owners. And we think everyone else is successful, so we must be missing out. It’s a vicious circle

Do you feel overwhelmed? I am here to tell you: just relax and go for the tried and true marketing tool: emailing. It’s the one simple tool that remains dependable and easier than ever to use. (Ask me about the NEW totally awesome editor in Constant Contact) Just start emailing! Got 10 emails or 1000 – hit send! Make sales.

Just start emailing! Got 10 emails or 1000 – hit send! Make sales. I am standing by to help, so feel free to share your marketing challenges – including email marketing – in the comments. And reach out anytime if you think I can be of any help.

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