To this point, we’ve discussed how Over 50 Starting Over’s mission is to help people over 50 years old launch that career of passion that has been eluding them thus far by utilizing (mostly) online marketing techniques without the need for coding.

We then discussed several methods to help find this passionate career choice and now, we’re going to dive head first into the nuts and bolts of your marketing essentials that we’ll develop in order to bring it to (virtual) life.

First, know that if you ask 10 online marketers their opinion about going about this, you’ll likely get 10 similar answers in regards to framework, but with very different components within that framework. What I mean by this is, while we all may agree that you need a website, we’ll all likely have different opinions on what kind of architecture it’s based on and what kind of framework to use from there. Likewise with our recommendations for content development, social media channels and so on.

Whether you’re a solo entrepreneur or large company, the online marketing process and channels are the same

What differs is scale – the scale of your online footprint and the scale of budget to create that footprint.

Over 50 Starting Over primarily focuses on solo entrepreneurs that are looking to provide their products or services relatively locally (business consulting services, health and fitness coaches, career coaches…) so the target audience and competition are at a very digestible scale. You’ll be able to market your company and actually provide the products or services yourself… and should have a fun time doing it.

marketing automation for the solo entrepreneur | Over 50 Starting OverIf you’re looking to sell commodity products on a national scale, then you should be studying up on affiliate marketing and selling on eBay, Amazon and Zulily. These are viable options for making a modest living, but don’t fall under careers of passion, in my humble opinion.

You need more than a website

I’ve mentioned before that websites have become commoditized and it has caused a lot of disinformation in the marketplace. Let’s be very clear about this: designing a website alone will not produce leads for you. At best, it will serve as an online brochure that you can point people to with your sales materials and business cards. At worst, it will penalize you with Google and not show up in Search Engine Result Pages (SERPs) due to improper structure and poor content.

Here’s the truth about websites and their role in online marketing

You definitely need a website. And… you can do it yourself… as long as you know what to do, and what NOT to do.

But, paying someone an unrealistically small fee to develop your website for you is likely going to get you screwed. The chances are high for a poorly structured and inflexible website (free templates!) that will cause you unnecessary headaches down the road. Or, you may get stuck with one of those companies that get you in the door super cheap (or free), so they can hold your site and content hostage and upsell you garbage for the rest of your online life.

The point that I want to make is that your website is only one component in your online marketing efforts – but, arguably the most important one. If you educate yourself on how to build and use it correctly, you can have a very effective and low cost marketing component that will be the hub of your marketing efforts.

But, it’s not all that you will need.

 

An overview of marketing essentials for a complete online marketing effort

My ideology is efficiency first. We should put together an online presence that is cost-effective while producing results and is manageable for one driven individual to implement. It’s a balance of these five things.

  1. Website
  2. Social media presence
  3. Email campaign
  4. Content marketing strategy/Sales funnel
  5. SEO (Search Engine Optimization) implementation
  6. Analytics

If this seems a bit overwhelming, I can assure you that I will show you how to make them work together as productively as possible with as much automation as possible within a very reasonable budget. But, this is exactly the time to address the alternative of full service marketing automation platforms.

Marketing automation platforms are expensive

HubSpot is the most well known marketing automation platform that integrates the above 6 features. It’s equally well known for its hefty price. I see they now have a “Basic” option for $200/month plus $600 onboarding (training) fee. But Basic option is extremely limited in features. Their “most popular” option is $800/month with a $3000 on boarding requirement. Enough said.

HubSpot is big time overkill for most very small businesses – both in its price and its features.

A quick Google search will reveal tons of competitors with pricing structures and features that are all over the place. If you got lucky and found one in your price range that happens to click with your level of expertise (in other words, gives you a decent ROI), then keep doing what you’re doing.

InboundMethod.com has a nice review of HubSpot alternatives, including one that is aimed at the solo entrepreneur, Hatchback, for $100/month. The author does admit that he is an affiliate, so if interested, do a bit more research first.

 

Marketing automation tools are selling you a process

Marketing automation is a combination of a sales funnel fueled by a content marketing strategy that is made possible with SEO. They usually do have a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) component to them as well, but this isn’t a top priority at our scale and there are cost-effective options that we’ll discuss at a later date.

HubSpot carved its niche several years ago due to the perceived complexity of the process. And if you’ve never been exposed to this process, it can be daunting. These marketing automation tools are just an integration of tools that guide you through the inbound marketing process. But, if you think it’s going to alleviate the workload from you – creating and sharing a ton of great content – it’s not. Not even close.

I often use the analogy that your online platforms, website, social media channels, email campaigns… are the engines. Content is the fuel. And these engines need a supply of quality fuel to beat the competition.

Your bottom line

But, the fact is, you can assemble the six features above for the price of your website hosting fee (approximately $100/year) along with a few premium plugins (about $75/year). The free utilities and tools that we’ll use are powerful and plentiful.

You don’t need expensive marketing automation tools to guide you if you know the process.

In the coming posts, I’ll cover how to put your online engines together, how to brand them and how to push content through them that is efficient and will create an online platform of your own that you will be proud of and will help you generate business.

The process requires keeping Google best practices in mind each step of the way to ensure maximum exposure versus online penalties that would nullify your hard work.

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