The New Year is slipping away, and we are about to jump into Q2. It is always helpful to take an introspective moment to understand why we're operating the way we are, but making sure your reaching for the right goals is something to re-visit before too much of the year passes. Lots of buzz starts early, picking up steam in mid to late December and exploding onto the scene in January. But like most ambitious, life-changing endeavors, the efforts are short-lived if we don't check-in and hold ourselves accountable.
The same is true for your business. There's no better time than now to take a hard look at the strategy (or lack thereof) behind your marketing and determine what perspectives could use changing for optimal success. Time is ticking, so let's jump in and look at the five most common digital marketing hang-ups and how to reframe your approach to them.
You Don't Have a Plan
According to Smart Insights Digital Marketing Report, nearly half of all businesses reported that while they were carrying out digital marketing, they didn't have any form of a strategic plan in place. With the benefits of digital marketing so clearly proven at this point, it seems baffling that so many businesses could be operating a digital presence without a real game plan.
The PRIME Fix:
How can we put this more simply? Have a plan. It's the PRIME philosophy that many companies have become overwhelmed at the idea of developing a marketing strategy, and frankly, they're clueless as to where to start. Stay calm, though, here's nothing to be ashamed of in this.
We understand the amount of pressure involved. Both your budget and your time are precious, and the idea of spending either unwisely can sometimes be stifling. When you are at the end of what you can do, that's where we come in. We like to work with something called S'marketing. (click here or below to read more about it)
A lack of a strategy can also be a lack of time. Companies know they need a digital presence, but don't have the time to sit down and hammer out a well-defined path of actionable items that can be simple, measured, attainable, reasonable and time accountable. Instead, they react to the urgent need to be a player in the digital space, and the solution is just throwing something up into the digital sphere and check it off the list.
But in reality, this helps no one. Without a real plan, marketers can't measure their success to understand what is and isn't working — not being systematic about your measurement makes it difficult to demonstrate the value of daily tasking toward specific goals. What we suggest is forming SMART goals. These don't have to be complicated; you don't need a 50-page presentation of how you're going to conquer your digital space.
Once you've got that down, you can move on to more ambitious strategies. But in the meantime, we just encourage you to start somewhere. Set an hour or two aside and sit down with your marketing team to create a strategy based on smart goals that will help set all of you up for success.
You Don't Know Your Audience
Maybe you've got the plan, but you've never really done the legwork to figure out who you are pitching that plan to. You can come up with email campaigns and scheduled social media posts all day, but if you're talking to the wrong people, you're not really doing any good.
The PRIME Fix:
Now more than ever, business owners and marketing departments have tools at their fingertips to be able to determine who their audience is, or what segment of a marketspace they are targeting. While Google Analytics gives you broad overviews of numbers like site visits, that doesn't really help you as far as what kind of person you're talking to. Are they 16 or 65? Do they care more about convenience or quality? Do they live in blue or red states? All these things can be garnered through a little bit of digging.
Well we know that people don't like giving up their precious information, we do know that people like talking about themselves. Use this to your advantage by pitching valuable questions to your website visitors and social media followers. There is a myriad of tools available for free that allow you to survey your website visitors. Or, if you really want to get your fingers in the dirt, head over to Instagram and take a poll.
The beauty of social media is that sometimes true connectivity really does happen there. You can ask questions that offer them AB choices, multiple choices, or fill in the blank. It doesn't take some massive, time-consuming endeavor to gather data on your customers. Go where they are, ask them what you want, and record your answer so that you can better serve them online.
The effort here is to build personas that you can engage. This is similar to the development concept of persona or the sales concept of persona. You need to know who your marketing to so that your win/loss metrics see more W's than L's. Once you put that together, you will give some insight into what kind of message your audience needs to bring them down the funnel.
You Don't Have a Strong Value Proposition
In layman's terms, a value proposition is something that makes you attractive to customers. To understand this, let's look at the wisdom of that cultural sage of the Western world, Beyonce. "If you like it, then you shoulda put a ring on it."
If you want the value, there is a two way street to engagement. This is true in digital marketing, as well. You can't ask for interaction or engagement without benefit. If you're seeking information from others, without offering anything in return, you are, in essence, trying to catch bees without honey. The same is true for your business. If you only exist to ask your customers for their business, odds are you'll end up hearing crickets.
This is why digital marketing has taken over 70% of the sales cycle. There are a lot more interactions and information exchanges that are happening before you can speak of doing business than ever before. So let's check out what we might need to do.
The PRIME Fix:
One of the easiest ways to steer clear of this and develop a strong value proposition is to follow the 80/20 rule. It refers to giving things away for free 80% of the time and only asking for things in return 20% of the time. Whether that is a white paper, or an e-book, or a webinar that offers your potential customers something of great value to them, there are many ways you can find to serve your audience and develop your value in the digital space.
Only then, after you have done this over and over, do you ask your customers for something in return. Maybe it's a webinar or training seminar that costs something. Perhaps it's an eBook that requires them to give a little more information than just their email. Whatever it is, keep it in your back pocket until they have done their initial research and come to their own point of decision. Once they are in that stage of the funnel, you can head toward your value proposition, and the percentages of adding them to your win column go up exponentially.
You're Not Agile Enough
Do you feel like Agile is just a business buzzword? Like telling a middle-aged guy, "Well, buddy, you're no spring chicken. If you were more agile, you could compete." While people like to put agile in this context, as if marketing was a young man's (or woman) game, it's about the furthest reality from what Agile Marketing.
The Agile Methodology comes out of product and software development where a team would develop in what they called the waterfall. They would research, build, test, and then publish something. Then they would assess the bugs, research, build, test, and then release the 2.0 version: Each time going down the waterfall of process and having to wait until the end to make adjustments. Then Agile Development came along, allowing teams to pivot mid-process and accommodate changes as needed, without having to reinvent the wheel to implement the change.
Marketing used to exist in the same parameters. Develop a campaign, run it, and then wait the appropriate time to see how effective it is. These campaigns were built on progressive and prolonged learning, and often reactive with results. Practically, it usually looks like a company that knows it needs to carry out marketing to be successful. They develop an online presence, maybe through hiring a firm or hammering it out themselves, and then that online presence sits as is.
Now that there's a website, they start trying to drive traffic, using social media, email, ads, etc. They get frustrated because they approached it with an "if we build it, they will come" model, rather than seeing that they need customize marketing to the audience, not condition the audience to want to reach out to them. Even if you paid a lot of money, ten years ago, for the site, if it is not agile in hitting your audience, it will feel like a big waste of money, time, and effort.
The PRIME Fix:
In order to stay competitive, you need an Agile Methodology. The digital space is an ever-changing place, and if you can't make analytics and pivot based on that data a part of your workflow, you won't be able to keep up with the competition. Your digital marketing is never just a checkbox or to-do list, that once completed, is completed forever. Again, it's not spring cleaning; it's daily household chores.
When you let your marketing efforts grow stale, you're not only out of touch with your customers; you're essentially opening the door and laying out the red carpet for your competition to sweep in with a more agile approach and gobble up your space. By staying agile, listening to your customers, adjusting your digital marketing efforts to meet their continually changing needs, you can remain a competitive player in the digital space at any point in time.
You're Not Giving Digital Marketing the Time or Money it Deserves
This is a problem that plagues many companies, from boutique firms to powerhouse companies. This problem can come to be from a host of different reasons. Often more old school businesses take the stance of, if it ain't broke, don't fix it. And while incoming business may be decent, this approach to marketing is like staring at a river full of gold and refusing to pan for it.
Another way businesses fall victim to this is when they see marketing is important enough to undertake, but they don't devote the right attention to it. They stick the responsibility on a current employee who is not a specialist in the field of digital marketing, or any marketing for that matter, or they relegate it to an intern or entry-level employee, because, "young people are on social media anyway." They don't have a clear strategy of what needs to get done, but they have heard that marketing is important, and so the task falls to an untrained employee.
The PRIME Fix:
It boils down to appreciating the power of digital marketing and setting your team up for success instead of failure. Business owners need to begin viewing marketing as an essential tool for their business's success. For the same reason you wouldn't skip a tax break, you shouldn't overlook marketing and the potential it has to change the income of your business. Not only does it generate more revenue, digital marketing done well will save you money, as time and energy become more streamlined and trackable.
As for the employee whose plate just got a steaming serving of digital marketing, it's the business' responsibility to set that employee up for success, not an inevitable failure. If you don't have the money to hire a marketing expert or an agency, it's fine to ask your team to take on the roll. But, you still might need a consult from a marketing pro; to find out what methods, software, and practices are returning on the investment of the discipline.
You might also consider sending your current employee to a training conference or seminar, where they can learn the basics of their new role. You can also look at Lynda.com or Coursera to help them put their best foot forward. You might also check out a Marketing Agency who would take on training your staff for what they are doing and helping them make reasonable goals for their efforts.
If you haven't noticed, most of these shifts boiled down to having a healthy respect for what digital marketing can bring to your company, and setting those around you up to be able to manifest those results. 70% of your funnel relies on these tactics in today's marketplace. If you are at the end of what you can do, and you are looking for a partner, PRIME is here to serve you. Contact us today, and we can help you plan your future.
What do you think, are you ready to kick your bad digital marketing habits out the door and take on new perspectives for the rest of the year? If nothing else, you can subscribe to our blog to get more tips and tricks in the arsenal of your understanding.