You can’t expect to win gold if you simply pull on a pair of running shoes and step out on to a track, and you can’t expect to make a success of digital marketing without the same kind of thought, preparation and coaching & collaboration that goes in to winning an Olympic medal. As the 2016 Olympic Games get underway in Rio de Janeiro, we look at how to achieve digital marketing gold!
It doesn’t seem like 4 years since London set the world on fire, and now it’s Rio’s turn to host the Olympic Games. For 2 weeks, we’ll cheer on national teams and personal heroes as they execute carefully planned campaigns designed with a team of coaches, put together with winning in mind and backed up by plenty of hard work and training. And just as it is on the sports field, so it is in the complex world of digital marketing. Whether you are shaping a specific online campaign or simply working on digital ‘business as usual’, time put in to planning and training, to defining your objectives and mapping actions to achieve them, will reap rewards.
- First, let’s look at a case study
Working with a niche engineering customer, using a structured programme of content, social media, organic and paid marketing, we have seen business steadily improving with increased enquiries and 3-6 views a day coming from potential target customers (and competitors checking the business out!”). Business is certainly good and the statistics bear this out, with traffic up by 33.36%, page views up 68.17% and the bounce rate down by 19.65%. Mobile views are up by 289.93%. It wasn’t always like this though – we became involved after the client had been working with a digital marketing coach that had failed to identify where he needed to be directing his online efforts. This failure had led to a decline in business and a loss of competitive edge.
Time, effort and investment equals success
- Allocate time effort and budget to digital marketing
- Set objectives and understand how you will assess whether you have achieved them
- Plan, persist and refine – constantly!
Any business serious about digital marketing needs to dedicate time and effort to making it a success, just as any high performing athlete must focus on their training. There is a common perception, particularly among smaller businesses, that ‘digital marketing’ is all about popping a couple of posts up on Facebook while sipping a glass of wine after a hard day at the day job. The reality is that as with training for an Olympic Games, you need to take a structured, measurable approach to your digital marketing, to set objectives and understand how you will assess success using insights and analytics to continually refine your approach so that it is the best it can be.
“The success of Facebook’s paid ads has propelled its stock price from $20 per share in 2012 to $80 per share in May 2015” Mehroz Khan, www.jeffbullas.com
Digital marketing success doesn’t come overnight. It takes at least 6 months of persistent hard work to start seeing results. As the social networks that are an integral part of any digital marketing strategy become more sophisticated and as the technologies (both hardware and software) develop, it’s also unrealistic to think it can be achieved with no financial investment. Mehroz Khan highlights in this article on the latest social media trends, Facebook has led the move away from organic reach towards paid marketing. Complex algorithms mean that is no longer sufficient to post up a link and your 100,000 (or 10,0000, or 10) fans will see the post. Paying to boost the post is the most reliable way of getting your message seen – and the other networks are following suite.
Train and collaborate to avoid injuries
- Find a digital marketing expert who can help and support your business
- Understand your customers and their behaviour
- Know your own limits
Digital marketing gaffes come in all shapes and forms and can hit your business, reduce traffic to your website, and damage your brand in the long term as well as impact on sales in the short term. Just as a physical injury can strike when an athlete least expects – and least needs it, you can reduce your chances of damaging your online brand by making sure you’ve undertaken training, or you choose to work with a partner – a coach or digital marketing agency, that can work with you and provide direction and assistance, and step in if you’re out of your depth – or simply don’t have the capacity. As with conventional marketing, digital marketing needs proper resourcing. While it may be tempting to simply ‘have a go’ the reality is that without training and structure, you can get things badly wrong.
A good digital marketing coach will be able to spend time with you, understanding your business, where your customers are and where your potential customers are. They will also want to understand your business objectives to make sure your digital marketing objectives slot in and support them. Rather than take a scattergun approach, a professional, knowledgeable coach will be able to assess your business and the market (or markets) it operates in and work with you to decide where the most profitable digital marketing activity will be. There’s no point having a Facebook page simply because “everyone else is on Facebook”. Maintaining a Facebook page takes time and effort; it requires a different approach to Twitter, LinkedIn or Instagram, and if your resources are limited, it simply dilutes your efforts. What’s more, in these digitally savvy times, a badly set up or poorly used Facebook page can actively put consumers or clients off using your business.
“Google’s share of the global mobile digital advertising market – 40.5%” http://expandedramblings.com/index.php/google-advertising-statistics/
Another example is paying for the wrong keywords in Adwords or Facebook. Not only have you reached the wrong audience, you have paid out money that could have been spent elsewhere, not to mention the set up time. If your customers aren’t searching for your product or service on Google using the keyword you’re about to pay for, Adwords spend isn’t going to help you.
Keep on top of the latest technologies and trends
- Don’t lose the competitive edge
- Follow – and understand the latest trends
- Adapt, adapt, adapt
Remember when competitive swimmers stopped wearing speedos and started wearing state of the art swimming outfits that made them more streamlined and shaved milliseconds off their time? They may have looked at them and thought “What the…” – but only for a moment. Having taken the time to investigate the competitive edge that the latest in swim wear technology could bring them, the swimmers were quick to embrace the new style swimming costumes.
In the digital marketing world, when new tools and platforms are released almost daily (or feels like it), it can be tempting to take the view that what you’re working with is fine, and there’s no point fixing what isn’t broken. Is there? Well, imagine how Rebecca Adlington might have felt had she decided to stick with her trusty old style swimsuit. Maybe she thought it was too expensive to try the new style, maybe she didn’t feel entirely comfortable with it, maybe she just didn’t like change. Sure, she’d probably have swum as fast as she’d always done, but her competitors who had embraced the new technology would have gained the edge. I think you see what we’re saying here – you may feel comfortable where you are with your digital marketing strategy, you may have got to grips with the technology you’re using, but you need to keep on top of what’s happening in the digital marketing world, and to adapt accordingly. Eventually, the approach you’ve always taken, the approach which keeps you performing at a certain level, will start to fail. Competitors who have embraced newer technologies will gain the edge. And in the increasingly digital world, the gold will go to other businesses – and you may not even get over the starting line, let along scrape bronze.
“50.3% of ecommerce traffic comes from a mobile device” Mehroz Khan, www.jeffbullas.com
It’s not just new technology itself we need to adapt to if we want to stay on top of the digital marketing game, but the trends driven by that new technology that shape modern life. Take the move to mobile for example. The smart phone technology is, in itself, amazing if you think back to where we were even 5 years ago, but what’s perhaps even more amazing is the impact the new technology has had on our online behaviour. It’s now imperative that your website is, at the very least, mobile responsive. Google has introduced an algorithm that will phase out sites not optimised for mobile, and the statistics relating to the use of mobile over PC show an ever increasing trend toward online consumers using mobile as their primary source of internet access.
- Going for digital marketing gold
Just as the Olympic athletes we’ll be cheering on over the next couple of weeks have dedicated themselves to the pursuit of the gold medal in their chosen discipline, so anyone serious about digital marketing can succeed through planning, hard work and dedication. Work hard with a coach – a trusted digital marketing agency perhaps or a reputable consultant and your efforts will pay off and see you taking your place on the digital marketing podium with a gold medal round your neck!