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Tweaking your website ≠ marketing

If you are like me, you don't like a lot of marketing activities. Some of it has to do with the fact that I get nervous talking to strangers. I worry that I'll say the wrong thing. And when I'm nervous I tend to talk more, making that even more likely.

Plus I'm uncomfortable talking about my business because I'm afraid I'll look like a slimeball who is just focused on me, me, me.

I figure that programmers have a reputation of being socially backward, so perhaps I'm not alone on this. So can we talk?

Personally, I'd rather stab myself in the eye with the sharp object for several minutes than spend time on the phone cold-calling prospective clients. Or hang out at a networking event trying to look interested in some dude who wants to sell me life insurance. Or the dozens of other activities that are associated with trying to get your name out there.

The result of all this fear and angst about marketing was that when I first started out, I spent a lot of time on pseudo marketing activities. What are pseudo marketing activities, you may ask?

Pseudo marketing activities are easy and no-risk tasks that won't put you in the way of contact with human beings.

Things like: designing your business cards. Tweaking your web site. Reviewing your google analytics statistics. Anything that might be called marketing, but that probably won't directly translate into a connection with a prospective client.

I'm not saying these aren't valuable activities. Yes, you should have business cards. Yes, your website can be an important part of your business. Yes, you should occasionally look at and understand your web stats.

But these are not true marketing activities. And you shouldn't pretend that they are, because pseudo marketing activities make it easy for you to avoid the real activities.

What are the real activities? These real activities will depend a lot on who your prospective clients are and where they hang out. But the real activities are those that find you ways to connect with prospective clients. Maybe they involve cold calling. Or networking events. Or calling all of your current contacts and asking for referrals. Or something else.

But they definitely don't involve tweaking the layout on your website for the 5th time.

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