This is one of those conversations that needs to happen. No one’s saying what they’re really thinking when it comes to online marketing. Until now, that is.
It’s information overload and a downright jungle out there when it comes to digital marketing. And if you remotely keyword search for anything related to online advertising or
marketing best practices, you’ll feel the world pointing at you with every search engine results page (SERP.)
Do SEO this way. Don’t keyword stuff. Make sure you’re leveraging social media. Don’t pay for Facebook Ads. Blah, blah, blah.
How can you know what advice to really follow? Everyone’s an expert. And yet, no one’s helping you figure it out for your business.
Not to state the obvious, but digital marketing can be confusing. It’s complex and requires more time, money, and strategy than most small businesses can afford without some guidance. If you’re in this camp, frustrated with finding the best way forward, stay tuned. Here’s what everyone’s really thinking about online marketing and what you really need to know to find your way.
What Do We Really Need to Know About Digital Marketing?
All buzz words aside, digital marketing and online strategies are relevant. Actually, if you’re not online, you’re soon to be extinct. And by online, we don’t just mean having a website. Having a beautiful website won’t increase your bottom line if you’re not doing anything to promote it. It’s the digital marketing strategy that will attract visitors to your site and, ultimately, your products or services. Without it, you’ll be obsolete, especially in today’s commerce.
Here are some HubSpot stats to support the critical need for digital marketing:
- A website is the second most popular channel used in online marketing, with social media being the dominant channel for customer engagement.
- 69% of all marketers invested in SEO efforts in 2021
- 71% of all marketers indicated “strategic keywords” were the primary SEO factor in 2021
- 3.5% of eCommerce web visits using mobile devices converted into online purchases, while 3.9% converted using a desktop application.
- 52% of consumers using a “voice assistant” admit to using them daily, sometimes several times a day
- The average American consumer has more than ten “connected devices” in their homes as of 2021
So, yes, you really need to know about digital marketing. It’s where you’ll find and attract buyers. And now that you know you need to develop a strategy, you can take a look at your current positioning and online presence now to create a roadmap for improvements.
How Can I Tell What Advice Makes Sense for My Business?
Knowing you need online marketing is one thing. But what everyone’s really thinking is, how can I tell what digital marketing advice is right for my business?
The short answer is you’ll just have to do your own homework.
Yes, there are best practices out there that make sense for every business model. But there are also so-called experts out there advising marketers and business owners to buy ads, run campaigns, and invest in lofty strategies that may not necessarily be the right fit.
The only way to really know which advice is legitimate for your bottom line is by conducting your own analytics and metrics research. Based on your company’s efforts now, look to identify who your target buyers are, what methods you are using to generate leads, where customers find you the most, and what conversion rates you’re experiencing now. Use your precise data as a starting point for exploring solutions, improvements, and new ways to tap into digital marketing.
You’re likely more of an expert in your business than you are in digital marketing strategies. So, with your data in hand, it’s absolutely recommended that you find a partner to help you put together a roadmap and plan. Just make sure you work with a marketing partner that will listen intently to your ideas and who will understand what your company needs. Be thorough when vetting marketing partners so you don’t end up being “sold” a slew of expensive or unnecessary online marketing investments that won’t generate the results you need.
How Much Is This Digital Marketing Really Going to Cost Me?
Speaking of expensive, you’re now wondering how much is it really going to cost? Here’s the thing. It’s only a waste of money if it doesn’t work. Therefore, the key to understanding a fair investment is first identifying how much a lead or customer is worth to you. Customers have an immediate value as well as a lifetime value, too. Would it be worth it to spend $50 to get one new customer for a lifetime of purchases? What about $500? Or $5,000?
If you’re spending on campaigns that aren’t generating leads, then stop. If you’re investing in something that is generating leads, but you’re struggling to convert those leads, it’s another problem altogether. Whatever you do, don’t stop online marketing. That’s a must. You may instead just need to realign your investments with strategies that produce the results you’re needing to justify the investment.
Remember, if you had an unlimited budget, you could afford to do it all. But if you’re like most companies, budgets are tight. That’s why it’s even more critical that you be precise about where you allocate it.
I Can’t Afford to Guess My Way to Results
You don’t have to, nor want to, guess your way through digital marketing strategies if you make smart use of your metrics ongoing. What you don’t want to do, and no matter how much you feel like doing it, is throw up your hands and fling ideas to the wall to see what sticks. That’s a surefire way to waste money.
And you don’t want to be biting off more than you can chew either, meaning you don’t have to invest in every online channel, chase every shiny new digital marketing object, or be on every social platform to see success. Instead, sample a few channels or ideas at a time. Invest enough to make them worthwhile and work them diligently. Monitor the data to see what’s working. And much like you would approach changing your diet when your doctor says your cholesterol’s too high, add and subtract small changes at a time. See what works. See what fails. Explore new improvements. And when you find something that translates to more leads and conversions, dominate it!
Who Has Time for All This Digital Marketing?
That’s a lot of work. You’re running a business. Do you really have time to babysit social media posts, blogging schedules, or Google Ad campaign metrics? Don’t overextend yourself, risking burnout or oversights. Recognize that when you embark on a digital marketing journey, it’s likely time to get help managing your efforts.
Depending on your organization’s size and the nature of your industry, you might be best served by partnering with an outside strategist to help. But there should come a point when you need to hire internally to have a dedicated staff member responsible for posting, managing, and monitoring results. Once you start an online marketing plan, you can’t stop. And whether you’re failing or succeeding, you are going to need help to fix and scale your results.
How Do I Know I Need Help with My Digital Marketing?
If you’re confident you have a good handle on developing, implementing, managing, adjusting, and evaluating your entire digital marketing plan on your own, you’re on the verge of needing help. If you’re growing and scaling, your strategies will only need to grow and adapt with you. Get ahead and make sure you have the tools, resources, and staff in place to maintain that momentum.
On the flip side, if you’re struggling, you need help, too. Don’t take it personally. There’s so much to unpack and plenty of changing elements involved. Be smart and recognize when you need a hand, and take the steps to get the help you need. Your bottom line depends on it.
Here’s what everyone really thinks about online marketing. UX/UI Designs, AI, PPC, CPV, and what? There are too many acronyms to keep up with every trend, every tool, and every resource. The good news is, as a business owner, you don’t have to know and understand it all.
However, what does matter, is that you know what you don’t know and lean on the professionals who do know. If these acronyms are foreign territory for you, it’s time to bring in an expert to help.
Can’t I Just Stick with My Vehicle Wraps and Yard Signs?
Just because digital marketing is an essential pillar of your business doesn’t mean you have to abandon your non-digital marketing efforts. Look, if it works, keep doing it. And there are certain business models that absolutely rely on traditional channels like mailers, vehicle wraps, and signage. And trade shows are downright money makers for some companies.
With that being said, there are ways to use digital marketing to get more traction with those non-digital efforts. And, of course, if you’re not getting leads from your yard signs, they’re probably not helping much. So, if you have a really great offline marketing technique, consider boosting it with online marketing promotion. Share video and images of your stunningly wrapped service vans on social media. Use your online channels to help promote an upcoming mass mailer. But remember, non-digital efforts alone won’t likely sustain the results your business needs to grow.
Social Media Is Too Much Time, Effort, and Drama, Isn’t It?
You have a hard enough time keeping up with your personal social media profiles. How are you supposed to know what to do or have the time to do it with a company social media presence? And with the experts suggesting that you need to post regularly, do live videos, and boost ads, that’s more time than you have to dedicate. Never mind the dramatic nature of the social ecosystem, and you’ve heard horror stories of other small businesses struggling with trolls and terrible online reviews.
Wouldn’t it just be best to avoid social altogether? No.
You really do need it. And there is a right and a wrong way to do it effectively. Like all your other digital strategies, you don’t have to do every social channel to be successful, and you don’t want to overextend beyond what you can manage. Find out which social media channels are most popular for your target customers first. Then look to be engaging on one or two platforms by offering content in the form of posts, images, and videos that are less about asking for the sale and more about solving customer problems and aligning your brand in their minds.
Does Blogging Really Work?
With campaigns, online ads, messaging, social media, and metrics, the experts say you should also consider blogging. And you’re probably thinking, really?
No one is any more of an expert in your business than you are. And believe it or not, you have really important ideas worth sharing and solutions worth discussing. Your audience would love to hear more. But you don’t necessarily have time to sit down and reflect and write thoughtful essays. And for some, there’s some anxiety about writing anything for fear it won’t be well-received or put together.
Blogging and thought-leadership articles are huge assets in your online marketing toolbox. They can help position your brand as an authority in your space. And it provides you with a library of digital assets from which you can cross-promote and cross-post elsewhere online. You can repurpose old topics with fresh views. You can share unique ideas and new solutions. And while blogs and articles might not result in immediate lead generation, they will create a movement of awareness and brand identity that can certainly translate to better lead gen over time.
Like every other aspect of online marketing, you can’t blog part-time. It’s a snowball that will only make an impact if you’re able to keep it rolling. So, be prepared to commit to it once you begin and tag other leaders within your company who can be contributors, as well.
Don’t be mystified or intimidated by digital marketing and online marketing strategies. Your business needs them. And you don’t have to do it all to be successful. But you do have to do some of it really well to see results, which may just require finding a little help to guide your efforts. The best advice of all might be to find the right digital marketing partner to help you execute the right online strategy.
Don’t forget, too, that when you’re ready for a committed blogging schedule, newsletters, or thought-leadership content, let the Ghost Blog Writers team help you produce the most engaging content with your voice!