Online marketing, like many other things in life, has several levels of, um... let's call it "luxury", for lack of a better word. You go from your basic model online marketing campaign (which is often someone who simply knows you have to edit some meta tags) all the way through to the most luxurious, no-holds-barred, damn-the-torpedoes, throw-everything-at-it-regardless-of-cost marketing that has everything you need (plus a lot of stuff you don't).

The question is... what kind of marketing campaign is right for you?

I've written many times about website marketing being an investment. Over the years, however, I've realized that most people spend more money on their own entertainment each year than they do on business marketing, which is what puts entertainment money into their pockets in the first place.

Don't get me wrong, I'm a big fan of entertainment. I likely watch more TV and movies than your average Joe and I'm unapologetic about it. But I also understand that, in order to make money, you've got to invest in those things that will help you bring a return. For most of us, the television doesn't produce money.

Enter SEO, SEM, PPC, SM, LB, RM, etc. et al. These are just some of the things you can invest in that will help your business make money online. The question is, are you going for the Camry or the BMW? Or, maybe just the orange Pinto?

Depending on the size of your business and your budget, you may think you have the Camry and are working towards the BMW. In reality, however, you really only have the Pinto and you're reaching for the Yaris.

And believe me, it's a very different world between them.

The problem is that many small business owners don't know much about marketing their sites online, so that BMW they're working towards is really only a Camry. And, what they are doing now is something much less.

But, why does it matter? What difference does it make what level you're at, as long as you're striving for something better?

That's a good question, and for the most part, as long as you're working to use what you have to work up to something greater, you're on the right track. But, there is the issue of mindset. If you think you've got something comfortable, like the Camry, you're less likely to see the immediate desire to move up. Sure, we all have dreams, but we often find a "comfortable" place to settle. If that's not even the Camry for you, then you're settling way below your mark... and that can be dangerous.

Years ago I was working for a church in the inner city of Seattle. One day the pastor brought the staff up to the fellowship hall to have us look around. He asked us what we saw when we looked at it. Well, we saw the same fellowship hall we'd seen week in and week out. Big open space, some game equipment, a few tables, etc. Our familiarity with the room caused us to overlook the collection of junk that had begun to pile up in the corner. That hall had become a storage place for everything that didn't have a place to go. A large portion of the room had become the "junk drawer", and it didn't look pretty.

When you're comfortable and familiar, you tend to overlook things. While we saw a fellowship hall, anyone not as familiar with the room would have seen a mess. If you are comfortable in the Pinto, you may hope to have the Camry or BMW one day, but you're OK where you are... "for now".

So, here's where things get dangerous. Old cars don't get better. The more you drive your old beater truck, that doesn't help move you toward the nicer one. You may be spending a little on your online marketing efforts, and they may be helping a little, but all to often they won't help you move to that next level.

I've seen it time and time again. People want to start small and work their way to a more robust campaign. Sometimes they do, but many times they don't. Why? Because their small campaign brings a small level of success and they think, "Hey, this is working! I don't need to invest anymore." And, years later, when they realize that their competition is gaining or has blown them out of the water, they sit back and wonder what their online marketing company was doing wrong.

It's not the SEO, it's that your competitors are investing in the BMW while you've been content with the Pinto that you thought was a Camry.

Eventually, you're going to figure out that you don't have the marketing campaign you thought you had. The sooner you realize this, the sooner you'll be able to invest in a more robust campaign. But, until you do, you'll be content with small measures of success that really are doing more to hold you back than propel you forward. Sooner or later you will realize that your minuscule efforts just got you lapped by an old lady with a walker.

October 5, 2010

Stoney deGeyter is the President of Pole Position Marketing, a leading search engine optimization and marketing firm helping businesses grow since 1998. Stoney is a frequent speaker at website marketing conferences and has published hundreds of helpful SEO, SEM and small business articles.

If you'd like Stoney deGeyter to speak at your conference, seminar, workshop or provide in-house training to your team, contact him via his site or by phone at 866-685-3374.

Stoney pioneered the concept of Destination Search Engine Marketing which is the driving philosophy of how Pole Position Marketing helps clients expand their online presence and grow their businesses. Stoney is Associate Editor at Search Engine Guide and has written several SEO and SEM e-books including E-Marketing Performance; The Best Damn Web Marketing Checklist, Period!; Keyword Research and Selection, Destination Search Engine Marketing, and more.

Stoney has five wonderful children and spends his free time reviewing restaurants and other things to do in Canton, Ohio.


Hi Stoney - you raise a good point. Your mindset in business is really difficult to change and for most people, it's going to stay the same. If you manage to break away from your internal risk/reward gauge and achieve some success, it makes your next effort easier.

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Search Engine Guide > Stoney deGeyter > Is Your Online Marketing the Camry or the BMW? Probably Neither.