Marketing is easy …

… or is it?

Looking from the outside in, it seems easy. All you have to do is make your product or service look appealing, advertise in the right places and there you have it.

At least, so I thought a few months ago. But I have to admit to being wrong.

Marketing is hard.

Take online marketing – something I’ve been trying to get my head around over the past few weeks.

My expertise lies in producing effective content and publishing, or getting it published. This works fine when I’m talking to editors, journalists, and face to face with potential clients.

Our website is starting to look pretty sharp and our blog’s going pretty well, attracting links and comments.

Site visitors and blog subscribers are on the up.

But it ain’t that simple. Window-shoppers are one thing – converted customers come much harder.

Taking those window-shoppers by the hand, drawing them through your site on a journey of discovery and convincing them to click that order button – now that’s the art of online marketing.

Then there’s SEO and a whole world of analytics to help you optimise these opportunities – that’s the science of online marketing.

From there you might move into pay-per-click advertising, managing databases and auto-response emailing (we use aweber.com), e-newsletters, reciprocal linking, online referral programs, creating and distributing effective offers.

Then you remember that there’s a real world out there too – working with the media remains important, as do opportunities for networking, joint marketing initiatives, giving presentations.

You can do it all yourself. Here’s one lady who is – and this is one of many blogs that can help you do it.

But if you’re exhausted by just reading this, don’t be too proud to ask for help.

A good story isn’t enough – it’s how you tell it.