Digital marketing, despite its innovation-focused name, can become monotonous. It’s easy for companies to fall into a rut: They recycle the same marketing strategies, simply for the sake of being able to do something easy and guaranteed to create an impact. This is great for quick launches, but what does it do for the growth of these companies?
Digital marketing, at its essence, is a field driven by innovation. Technology itself forces us all to stay ahead of the curve, but the task of marketing to a modern audience also asks us to change with the times. If we ignore the necessity of crafting new approaches to our markets, we’ll find ourselves growing stagnant. It won’t simply be us feeling lifeless; the numbers will look pretty dead, too.
What many companies’ digital marketing specialists do is wait to see what the next big movement is, and then jump on board. Yes, that ensures you’re not behind the times, but what about getting ahead of the times? The problem is that we’re all following these trends. People who are focusing on these trends exclusively need to reevaluate. The fact is, most of your clients have seen someone else doing what you’re doing, and doing it better. To get ahead, you must break the mold and create something new.
What You Can Do
To flip the routine on its head, you must do things that are new for you, as well as things that are new in your field. Here are some good “flips” your company can invest in this year:
Hire a digital marketing vendor who offers integrated web design and online marketing services. This specialist will be able to merge your design with the message you want to convey, as they have the benefit of knowing both the technical and relationship sides of your work.
Set up an integrated digital marketing strategy between your company’s website, SEO plan and social media marketing. This may seem like second nature to some of you, but there are others out there who participate in hit-and-run marketing. This means they throw out on the web whatever they have, regardless of whether it fits into the overall marketing scheme.
Stay ahead of the game with the latest technologies, especially with the near-daily changes we’ve been getting from Google, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and others. Many people read about upcoming technology changes with interest, and then promptly forget about them. When you read about these, be proactive. Start plotting what you can do to use these innovations for maximum gain. Will local marketing explode on Google? Make a point to tie local keywords into your work now.
Create a strong Google+ presence. Although this outlet is less than a year old, it’s already heavily impacting SEO results. You may not have as many followers finding you from Google+ yet, but don’t discredit its importance.
What You Should Stop Doing
Sometimes, the best change you can make is the removal of an outdated strategy. If you’re doing any of the things discussed below, it might be time to rethink your strategy:
Don’t build a digital marketing department. You don’t need a stable of people to work on this. It’s harder to synthesize your brand when multiple people, who could be working on other aspects of your marketing, have their hands in the pot.
Don’t allow a committee to design your website. How cohesive do you think your committee-approved website looks? I’m sure you understand why each piece was selected, but how does it look to your clients? It’s probably confusing and irrelevant to them.
Refuse to manage your digital marketing campaign around impressions, clicks or budget forecasts. These are all inconsequential factors in a successful campaign. They tell you what’s possible according to moments in time. You want to know what’s possible long-term.
Avoid participating in black-hat SEO tactics. Don’t pay third-party vendors to represent your brand, and don’t flood your prospects and clients with spam. Both of these are good ways to get labeled “clueless” by your audience. You’ll have shown that you don’t understand how they think.
How to Kick-Start Change with Your Website
None of these changes to your digital marketing strategy matter if you don’t have great material with which to start. Your company must have a professional, customized and dynamic website. This is the first, and most important, aspect of a holistic Internet marketing strategy. You want your site to be search engine-friendly to get customers there in the first place, but what happens after that? Ensure they aren’t disappointed with what they find by creating and maintaining a quality website.
The front end of your website defines the user’s experience. It needs to be easily navigated, as well as easy to understand. Remember that most web audiences don’t plan to spend a long time reading. They’re looking for quick bites of information before moving on. For this reason, you need to get to your point quickly, and you need to communicate why your product can fulfill their needs with a minimum of distraction.
The back end, where search engines cull information, needs to be W3C-compliant. Remember to keep the back side of your website light on code (with a good text-to-code ratio), and inclusive of the appropriate meta data. Missing keywords certainly won’t help your cause – or your customers’.
With a clean, user-friendly website design, tweaks and changes are easy to come by. It may be easy to fall into a rut, but it doesn’t have to happen to you. If you focus on delivering high-quality innovations, your users will be more excited about your brand – and so will you. Make sure your digital marketing is up-to-date as you are. Break the mold.