One product of the American education industry is a passionate belief that all people should go to college. This standard has served as a backbone for the American middle class for decades – and for good reason. College graduates on average make much more money than those who did not go to college (first-round draft picks notwithstanding) and generally enjoy a “higher quality of life”.
Over the past few years that position has been challenged by the economic downturn, which has seen college graduates thrust into the workforce without any job positions to accommodate them. Students are drowning in debt instead of finding careers to pay off the price of their education. It’s a sink or swim environment and for many entrepreneurial types, the best way to stay afloat is starting a business.
Marketing is an essential part of any business and unless you are well versed in the theory and practice of advertising through education or experience, it can be a hard button to push. But the Internet has democratized things considerably, and small business owners may have a secret weapon up their sleeve they had forgotten about: that dusty college degree.
In this tumultuous economic landscape, you’ve got to work with what you have.
If you went to college, perhaps you got a degree in something. After college, you may or may not have used that degree, but at some point in your life you started a small business. Here are a few ways you can use various degrees in your small business marketing efforts.
To PPC, or Not to PPC: Using your English degree
Content is highly important for being found on the Internet. Writing a blog for your company or a putting together a solid email list is a great way to pull customers back to your brand and attract new ones. Relevant text is a cornerstone of SEO strategy and English majors can thicken up their site’s relevance by deploying the writing skills learned in class. Groupon is a great example of a web marketing team essentially run by English majors; the blog posts are witty, the daily email is interesting and engaging. These are qualities that are indispensible when it comes to advertising your brand on your website and the Internet at large.
F = (vm + pA): Building Marketing Momentum with Engineering
Computer engineers obviously have a leg up: they can build websites, understand how infrastructure works, implement SEO strategy to a high degree and understand the inner workings of the digital presence. Though there is a lot of variation in flavors of engineering degree, basic concepts and skills unite them all: understanding equations, ability to identify patterns and intense scrutiny of algorithms all come in handy with the more technical side of running a site and generating interest/traffic, especially with regard to SEO, Google Analytics, et.al.
You may think that acting won’t help your Hamster Emporium web page get views, but have you heard of YouTube? Viral media? A cleverly executed video series might be your best bet to gaining digital relevance outside of your target audience, which in the case of a Hampster Emporium or haberdashery is likely to be pretty niche. Again, Groupon does this with hilarious videos promoting new features like Clicky the Clickable Value Wheel. One of the best examples of using performance skills to advertise a local business is the Montgomery Flea Market Mini Mall commercial, which went viral and racked up well over a million worldwide views:
Marketing your small business in the midst of a gridlocked economy is difficult, but try to consider that degree and what skills you already have before you hire in an outside firm to do your Internet marketing and advertising.