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What Nobody Tells You About Digital Marketing

November 21, 2017
Digital Marketing wrangles one of the most impossible beasts the world has ever seen. No surprises, then, that digital marketing holds its fair share of surprises. And has its fair share of misconceptions.

To make your journey through that digital world a little smoother, we thought we’d let you in on a few industry secrets. Behold! The six things nobody tells you about digital marketing…

 

1.    Social media isn’t the be-all and end-all.

When people think digital marketing, they inevitably think of social media marketing. S0me people even struggle to define digital marketing outside of social media.

Here’s the thing. Some businesses will find it easy to succeed on social media than others. And some business will need a LOT of hard work and a LOT of creativity to get half of that traction.

For some businesses, a serious return on investment is going to have to take place outside of the ‘traditional’ Facebook / Instagram combo.

Take this example– BlackRock:  global investment management company. Back in 2013, BlackRock announced its Linkedin work was resulting in $17-18 million dollars of revenue. Sure, that’s a while ago, but to this day, they don’t have an Instagram.

A screenshot of a post by BlackRock, that says "We've got a Halloween treat for you: tips and tricks for #retirement saving" followed by a comic of children trick or treating
BlackRock’s strong content marketing helped them compete with Forbes and Time as a source of industry knowledge

We always assess all channels based on you as a business as well as you as a brand. After all, if you’re set on investing in social for the purpose of return on investment, it pays to be judicious about where you spend your time. Which is why the next point is important to remember…

 

2.  Sometimes, the best ways to sell your product and get leads are going to seem boring to you.

Sometimes they will be technical, fiddly, and high maintenance. Things like organic search which involves a lot of behind-the-scenes wizardry. Something like Google AdWords could have absolutely fabulous returns for you, but they might not seem very cool or interesting. Unless you’re a search marketer. And then, in that case, they are deeply fascinating.
For one of our clients, their organic search work was delivering 85% of their online sales with much less than 85% of their digital marketing investment. It let them take on the biggest players in their industry with a minuscule fraction of the marketing budget.

3. You won’t get it right first time every time

You cannot expect to get it right the first time every time. Sometimes all the data in the world can’t explain what it’s like to be a real human, living in the world, so even the greatest experts might not hit the bullseye the first time. Trialling things is a huge part of marketing in general and it’s hugely educational. You send out five ads with different copy or imagery. Use the metrics of your digital platform to tell you which has received the best response. And you learn. Social media and digital marketing are one of the best examples of “learning from your mistakes” and how important and helpful that can be. If at first you don’t succeed, look at the data. Then you’ll be on your path to succeeding.

4. You need a backup plan.

We just spoke about the importance of learning from mistakes. Sometimes, a mistake might mean more than “nobody responded to my boosted post”. Sometimes it means that you will have been unknowingly insensitive and offended someone. Sometimes it will mean you have unknowingly said something untrue.

You need to know what to do in case of these errors because even the biggest and best of us make them. Remember Microsoft’s Tay? Sometimes, a bit like Tay, it will be beyond your control. If you have a way to deal with negative feedback or really awkward coincidences, you’ll be best equipped to deal with the worst. Plans can involve a templated list of ways to deal with negative feedback on your Facebook posts, or an engagement guide. What you might need is a policy on hiding comments and deleting posts, a policy on apologising. A policy on dealing with negative reviews. And a strong set of brand values.

 

5. We live in the instantaneous age, but not all digital results are instantaneous.

Yes, instant success is possible in the digital world. But even the smartest strategy can take a while to work. There are many, many ways to accelerate growth, and the goal of much of our marketing is to do just that. But digital is more of a garden bed, not a vending machine: invest in it wisely and you will eventually get a return. It’s not a machine you drop loose change into and get leads. A digital strategy should be a part of your sales cycle, and if you’re not used to an offline conversion that takes minutes from awareness to purchase, you cannot expect that online.

If traffic and awareness are the results you’re looking for, you need to be particularly wary of the promise of instantaneous results. In the world of organic search, most strategies which deliver immediate hikes onto the first page of Google are completely disingenuous and will get you in trouble eventually. We want long-term, sustainable growth, not long-term bans!

Digital Marketing may be the best thing since sliced bread, but, much like sliced bread, it does not age exceptionally well.

6. Advice you received two years ago is way out of date.

Remember, two years ago, selfie sticks were the new thing. Five or six years ago, viral success meant Gangham Style and Call Me Maybe. Now, these things either make you nostalgic or make you want to break things. What people respond to and care about has changed, the cultural cringe has developed more triggers… But there’s more to it than that. Facebook’s algorithm isn’t the same. Neither is Google’s. Search marketing strategies that used to work get you penalised now.

Staying on top of it all is a full-time job. And that’s where we come in. Digital may be full of mysteries and change, but a digital partner turns those obstacles into opportunities. If you’re ready to make the most of your brand online, we’re ready to talk. Fill in the form below and we’ll get started!

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