If you are headed into the online marketing space, or if you are deep in the trenches of social vs SEO there are many shortcomings that need to be addressed. The market has a lot of noise and I’m going to clarify ten truths you can always rely on. #1. Know why your customer will buy from you. Product fit and market placement. This is the first step in learning how to swim in the online marketing space. One of my friends had thousands in a market budget to spend. And she got referred to a Facebook ad agency based on the fact that they raised millions of dollars on Kickstarter. They knew how to raise money on Kickstarter, but spent thousands of my friends marketing money with no return on investment. Zero. The lesson is to decide based on market fit, not just statistics. #2. Neutral advice is important to your business development. Your internal staff, your investors, cannot give you neutral advice for decisions. But customers and outside business coaches who don’t have a stake in your company can give you great advice. They don’t rely on you for their income and have the ability to speak from a neutral point of view. The neutral advice will keep you from making bad decisions. #3. You are not doing the thing you should be doing. Stop right now. Stop reading this article. Go do the one thing that you should have already done. It is usually a hard decision or an investment decision. An example from my past: When we started Planet Ivy in 2012, we saw Facebook rising as a publishing platform, but we didn’t jump in right away. We had success on Twitter and other platforms. The fun ended really quickly and anyone not publishing on Facebook got little or no funding, investment, or big deals. It became the only way ad-driven publishers got traffic to their sites. To the tune of ten million plus visitors a month. #4. 90% of the marketing advice out there is not for your company. Startups, lean teams, or small businesses will not profit from the sea of tactics out there. The pitch of, “Dump your marketing budget into Facebook and Google ads.”, or “Burn your budget experimenting on ads until you can turn a profit.”, will not do for 90% of you. They are not wrong about their advice but it will not bring significant traffic or paying customers for your smaller product or service. And anyone in a high competition market will not scale their traffic thru paid ads first. That type of marketing advice is aimed at large agencies and big brands. There is a famous marketing guru who does this a lot. His name slips my mind right now. #5. Your problem is not a marketing problem, you have a sales problem. A lot of companies that I turn away from working with have a sales problem. They want my marketing help to pick up the slack in their hustle. They need to pick up the phone, call, hustle, email, speak at events, create partnerships, and use influencers, but they don’t. They want to use Twitter and Instagram hype to make up for their own lack of effort. If you have a digital product then hire Charlie Price. His cold email services will get your sales problem sorted. You will live or die responding to the leads you get. #6. You are not authentic about your company or business. No one seems to care about your newsletters, or social outreach because you don’t even believe in it. Quit comparing yourself to other blogs, other companies, or other groups. Stop copying their methods and content and produce your own! Find your voice. One example is my current mentor, Dan Meredith. He stays clear about his authentic voice. He runs multiple businesses, is authentic about swearing, and his personal life. His audience respects his professional and personal life together. His core audience exists because of his personal Facebook page, and group. He is talented at partnerships and his mathematical understanding of leveraging the internet. He also writes all day, every day, and gets paid to. This is his version of authentic. It is not for everyone but it is his. You need to find your voice. #7. You don’t know where the ‘whitespace’ or ‘blue ocean’ is in your industry. You have to dig in and not just be generic. Are you in music startup land? Musical.ly has 10 million users, low barriers to entry, and a great platform for influencers. Kik is not overrun by agencies like Instagram and Snapchat. Those two startups saw whitespace. And claimed it. Can you predict the future of your industry? This is critical. You must know the future and ride the wave of top-level strategy above your marketing tactics. #8. You have missed the top producers in online marketing. Russell Branson, Ryan Deiss, Mike Dillard. Their formulas and systems work and work well. You are too lazy to implement them. Get into a system. Find something and implement, make it work. #9. You don’t have a coach to get you out of your own head. If you are not running into people who constantly tell you, your ideas need improvement or will fail then you are doomed. You will sink if no one is pointing out the icebergs in your plan or the market demand that you are missing. If you are not talking to someone who took action on your idea and make it work, then they can’t give you good advice. #10. You keep reading articles on Business.com and don’t spend any time implementing them. These ten points are not theory. They are tactical. Make a list out of these and go do them. By the end of this week. Some of you aren’t even saving this list for yourself. I took the time to write out ten course corrections I took recently so you could win. Please go do these ten things in your company and business. You will see success as all boats rise together.