To say running a successful business is challenging is an understatement. In the beginning, there will always be some immense challenges, and some hard choices that you need to make before anything can start getting done.
In this blog, we are going to educate you on why it’s risky to do your own marketing when your core competency is something else. With the internet being a free resource for you to use, it might be easy to say that you will teach yourself everything you need to know, but we promise you that eventually you will either be left scratching your head or fully understanding exactly what task you have attempted to assign yourself.
It will probably look something like this. Above is a graph displaying the Dunning-Kruger effect, a physiological study that shows how confidence to speak on a subject develops depending on experience and knowledge. According to the Dunning–Kruger effect, people tend to overestimate their cognitive ability until/unless their competence increases to the point where they become aware of their shortcomings. You don’t want to be left in the “Valley of Despair” realizing you wasted your time and money by trying to learn Google marketing on your own because you didn’t know about X, Y, or Z.
Why might you think it’s a good idea to learn Google marketing by yourself?
It might be easy to assume that Google marketing is easy for a variety of reasons. One, there are so many YouTube videos out there that have lots of information about how to use Google marketing. If you just spend enough time watching as many videos as you can you’ll become an expert, right?
Two, Google Ads certification is free. Hallelujah! All you have to do is take that course and you’ll be an expert in no time.
Three, Google makes it so easy. They tell you everything you need to do to optimize your campaigns with easy tweaks. The optimization score is right there, duh!
Four, you’re smart. No denying that; you will be able to figure it out yourself because you’ve figured out everything else before, too.
What is the harsh reality you will probably find?
Let’s get right to the point: it takes a lot more than YouTube videos and a crappy certification to bring in valuable potential customers and clients. Below are some rebuttals that show you that it’s, sadly, not that easy.
For instance, YouTube is a platform where anyone can post anything they want. This is great because real experts can help give out free advice to those who need it, but it also means you have to know when someone is just a fake.
How can you trust that they know what they’re talking about? You don’t unless you’re already a marketer. You don’t know if they’re only giving halfway concepts, or if they even practice anything they say themselves.
Next, YouTube content creators get a percentage of the ad revenue from the ads that are shown while you watch the video. What this means is that the videos have a catchy title, impressive images, and a lot of fluff. The more clicks they get, the more their watch time goes up, meaning more revenue for them.
And don’t forget the YouTube rabbit hole. It will suggest 100 different variations of the same concept. After all, there are multiple ways to skin a fish. This will leave you wondering who is right and who you should follow, leaving you in a continuous learning loop.
Lastly, if you have a question or need clarification while watching the video, who will you call? Who will you ask?
Another huge problem with YouTube is that things are continually changing in the marketing world. This means that videos get outdated pretty quickly, and you might not be able to decipher what is outdated and what is not.
In fact, last month our founder Sajid watched a Google Ads training video on CreativeLive (at present owned by Fiverr) only to see that not only the content of the video was outdated but the teacher in Sajid’s opinion was a professional course creator, not an actual Google Ads Expert. Another case in point example, Sajid saw an ad the other day that was supposed to be the VP of marketing for a big company, but in the video he called Google Ads by their old name, AdWords, meaning that guy had been out of the loop for a full four years by now. Small catches like this can be vital to determining if what you watch is legit, and if you don’t know how to look for it, you’re not going to find it.
But, let’s take it a step further. Say you do find a reputable source of information on YouTube, then you have to apply that to your specific business. Doing it on your own means a lot of trial and error. And that means a lot of time and money wasted. Also, a lot of the experts do not show you what happens after the video, a.k.a. the numbers. For example, there are a plethora of videos out there to show you how to create a Google ad or write a responsive text ad, etc. But how many actually show what happened after they launched that ad?
On cooking channels, they show you the ingredients and how to perfectly put them together in order to make a cake. If you follow the recipe, you get somewhat of the same cake in your own kitchen. However, business is not the same. The youtube courses will not be for the exact same scenario. After all, no two businesses are alike.
Think of it this way, when you’re trying to learn tennis, you can’t see your swing – you can only see where the ball landed. You could experiment and start tweaking stuff to change your swing, trying to guess what’s wrong, maybe even trying to find a YouTube video that might help in your exact situation, but that’s a ‘pin the tail on the donkey’ kind of approach to improving. Instead of you self-sabotaging by self-diagnosing, a far superior way would be to have somebody around you like a coach that said, “Here’s what you’re doing wrong, try and do it this way. If you do it this way, you’ll get a better result.” The same goes for Google marketing. An expert eye can see things that you cannot. What most business owners are missing is optics in their marketing and business growth. No YouTube channel can unlock all the answers for your specific business. Someone who can actually look at your business and assess what the problem is will go a lot further, a lot faster, than trying to do it all on your own.
Google Ads Certification
At marketANDgrow, we know that the Google Ads Certification has an ulterior motive. Sure, it may teach you the basics of Google Ads and how to use their software, but the bar is so low to get the certification, it’s designed so anyone can pass. The certification is just an indoctrination course; they want you to trust that Google will do right by you with your money. In reality, they’re teaching you how to spend as much money on them as possible.
Think of it like a driver’s license. Anyone with a driver’s license can drive a car, but that doesn’t mean they’re any good at it. If that were the case, then anyone with a license could drive professionally in NASCAR, and there wouldn’t be so many idiots on the road. A certification doesn’t mean you’re an expert in Google Ads.
Optimization score in Google Ads
The Optimization score by Google was created to give you an estimate of how well your Google Ads account is set to perform. In our opinion, it is a helpful aid however if you blindly follow all the recommendations then you will not have a good return on your marketing investment. It’s like your pharmaceutical company assigning you a score on how many of their medicines and how much of their advice you are following. An expert would be able to tell you what is actually a good practice, vs Google’s code telling you what to do when it does not have a clue about you, your business, or your goals.
What about a Google Account Strategist who wants to help me?
Google Ad Account Strategists are basically a fancy title for Google’s salespeople who are not Google employees with a Google email address. To a regular person, they will think it is a Google employee reaching out. The Account Strategists are really good at helping you set up your account, but also good at helping you spend a lot of money. They don’t have the time to learn about your business (usually the calls are 30mins long) and give you personalized advice. To learn more about the experience that Sajid had with his Account Strategist and how it failed him, read our blog on why you should avoid Google account strategists. We also have a helpful YouTube video on the topic. Below is a screenshot of what an email from an account strategist might look like.
Remember, Google makes money every time someone clicks on your Ad. You only make money when the visitor who clicked your Google Ads performs the action you deem to be valuable. They are two different things. Listening to Google’s Advice will surely help you first but that will not make you money or pay your bills.
Think of Google as a casino. You would never ask the Casino for advice on how to play your hand at the blackjack table. Or you would not ask the medicine company to tell you what medicines to take. Surely, they will give you advice, but there is a conflict of interest at work. And Google (whether through optimization score or an Account Strategist) is there to give you the illusion (albeit unintentionally) that they will run your ads efficiently and make you win big. In reality, the Google casino is the big winner and you are quietly being drained of all you have.
In our blog on retargeting, we touched on this; if you’re going to use Google Ads you have to draw a line, or Google is just going to take your money and plaster your Ads on the most expensive websites (often on a lot of scam and spam websites) at the highest frequency possible. That makes for an annoying user experience and spending way more money than you need to. If you want more tips on this, click “retargeting” or scroll to the bottom to find the link.
Applying the information
The internet has made it so that everyone has information about anything they want at any time. So, you do have the access to all the information that we do at marketANDgrow. However, think of it this way: everyone has access to the stock prices every day, and yet, some people make millions of dollars while others spend years losing money. Granted data is valuable and we all have access to the same data, but it’s how you access that information that makes the difference. Wisdom is 1000x more valuable than data. Anyone can sit in a cockpit, but you need to know which buttons to push to fly the plane. Another way to look at it is: If I give the ingredients and ask you to bake a cake. If you do not do things in the right order, your cake will turn out to be a disaster.
Trusting someone who knows what they’re doing, and can take the burden off of you – the business owner – who is already having to wear a lot of hats, makes it so you know that unnecessary money isn’t going to be wasted. And time too, since we already have a rough map of how to apply the information to begin down the right road to success.
Why should you instead trust your business with a marketing agency?
When you come to a marketing agency like marketANDgrow, you can trust that they will be able to cut through the misinformation out there, and offer a unique perspective that is valuable to your business. Not all marketing agencies are created equal. Granted there are lots of bad agencies out there. Use your judgment and research to find a reputable agency that works for your business. We have a blog on how to find an agency. What a lot of people don’t realize is that Google Ads is just the tip of the iceberg.
When you run an ad, you need to have a good landing page for visitors that you are sending to, you need to write calls to action, headlines, and be able to mix and match to create better ones. You need to drive people to a place where they can actually follow through on your call to action. What seemed easy, just became much more involved. Business owners make the mistake of putting their money into Google, and when nothing happens because their website isn’t set up in a way that makes sense for visitors, they end up blaming Google.
Everyone knows that Olympic athletes are the best of the best: self-motivated, dedicated, and disciplined. So, why does every Olympic athlete have a coach? Because there is immense value in someone watching you from the outside. Only someone who is watching you from the outside can tell you how you can adjust your swing to get the ball where you want it to go.
Sajid had an example of this in his personal life recently. He bought his daughter and son a piano app that promised to teach the users all the steps to playing the piano. His daughter did great, she was hitting all the right notes and he thought she was progressing. His son, on the other hand, couldn’t get the app down so they hired him a private tutor instead. After his first day, he told his sister that her finger placements were incorrect on a couple of the keys and then showed her how she was actually supposed to place her hands. He realized then that just because his daughter was playing all the right notes, doesn’t mean that she was progressing. Long-term, the app was causing more harm than good because practice doesn’t make perfect – correct practice makes perfect. You could be hitting all the right buttons, but that doesn’t mean long-term you are setting yourself up for sustainable success. Having an expert catch it early for you is a sure-fire way to know you’re on the right track.
But, no one will market my business better than I do
The problem most small business owners have is they have a bad case of the lone ranger syndrome, “Nobody can do it better than I can. If it’s going to get done right, then I’m going to have to do it myself.” And so they wind up not asking for the help that could literally propel them towards the dreams, goals, and financial independence that they desire.
Take a look around you, how many growing small, mid-market enterprises have their CEO, founder, or owner do their own marketing full-time? The owner can help – e.g Steve Jobs helped Apple. But Apple still had a marketing department. Did you know that Regis McKenna was Steve’s mentor and taught him marketing?
The choice is yours
Opportunity cost is the value of what you lose when choosing between two or more options. When you choose to try to go Google marketing on your own, you might think you’re saving money now by not hiring anyone, when in reality you are just losing out on future income. Plus you are taking away time for other business activities. Unless of course, your goal is to become a Google Marketing Expert. Spending money now to hire people who know what they’re doing, will set up a fruitful future that will see returns for years to come.
There are a lot of things you can DIY: your bathroom shower, your firepit out back, new paint for a bedroom, etc. But with your business, do you really want to play around with your money like that? Some things are just better to leave to the experts.
Similar to the Dunning-Kruger effect we talked about in the beginning, there are four levels of learning something. These four levels are Unconscious Incompetence, Conscious Incompetence, Conscious Competence, and Unconscious Competence. For the purposes of this blog, all we want to tell you is to avoid the Unconscious Incompetence phase of learning, where you don’t know what you don’t know. We hoped that if you started this blog with Unconscious Incompetence, this blog allowed you to step up into Conscious Incompentce, where you know that there’s a lot for you to learn. This article will help you learn more about the last two learning levels.
If you’re looking for someone who can help you with your Google marketing holistically, schedule a no-obligation discovery call with us today. We would be happy to take a look at your business’s specific numbers and let you know how we can help in a way that is tailored to you. And, if you’re not convinced and still think you can do it on your own, our blogs are a great resource. Scroll down to sign up for our weekly newsletter to get updates on all things marketing every Monday morning in your inbox.