Do-it-yourself (DIY) online marketing is more widely practiced by more small businesses than you might think. In fact, marketing professionals have spoken about DIY as an emerging trend for years, but only as a small percentage of the total sum. However, recent surveys indicate a much higher percent than expected. The question you have to ask, “Is it working out well for small businesses with the results they need?” After all, they have access to machine learning and artificial intelligence with promises to simplify digital marketing through automated creation and optimization. It’s kind of like owning a dog and teaching it to respond to cues. The more complex the expectation, the more intelligent a dog has to be to get the instructions and respond accordingly. That being said, digital marketing has become increasingly more complex making it extremely difficult for a small business owner to keep up and do it themselves. So are you really getting the results you need and the ROI you expect?

So why do small businesses want DIY online marketing in the first place?

I believe the main reason is because of entrepreneurial self-reliance. For most business owners, keeping costs low and a lack of trust in marketing providers promotes DIY. Recent surveys indicate that half of DIYers assume they are getting good enough results and the remainder didn’t want to spend the money. Having said that, business owners who DO find a competent marketing provider they trust, realize that the marketer’s expertise outweighs the cost of using a professional with much better results, time saved and ROI. To put it another way, unless you’re an expert dog trainer with lots of time on your hands, teaching fido to do somersaults and complex maneuvers is not going to happen.  

What are the success barriers with DIY online marketing? 

Having talked to hundreds of clients over the years, some key stumbling blocks become apparent. These include not enough time (wear too many hats), lack of marketing knowledge or training and not enough budget available for good results or to hire qualified staff to do the work.

Help from the marketing industry

Facebook and Google have been trying to simplify their ad platforms using machine learning and artificial intelligence, but even with that, time is still a factor for small businesses. Setting up a Facebook page or a Google My Business listing are relatively easy, but monitoring listings can be much more challenging. Following up and following through can be applied to both having a well trained pet and growing your business. It’s a comparison many can relate to.

Most small businesses need help

Do it yourself online marketing presents distinct challenges and limitations with more successful small businesses considering outside firms and agencies rather than trying to do everything themselves. Marketing agencies that offer a complete array of services or all in one marketing services are a preferred and trusted source. Having said that, many are aware of the scammers and big claim companies that give the industry a bad name. Make sure the agency has good references and sound business practices. The old adage still applies “If it’s too good to be true, it’s too good to be true.” Just like a dog is man’s best friend, a competent agency is just that for small businesses.

DIY versus Done FOR You

If you are just starting out or have a small budget and lots of time to invest, DIY online marketing can be satisfying and can save a few dollars. But unless your are trained, your results will be average at best and may not provide the best ROI. Hiring a capable agency with a team you trust with provide the strategic plan you need coupled with proactive marketing services to grow your business successfully. There’s nothing like getting a high five at the end of a successful day of doing business.