Online Marketing Done Right
January 21, 2015
By now, we can all agree that digital marketing is not a passing trend. Anyone who believes they don’t need digital advertising probably needs to go back a few blogs. Digital marketing is not only here to stay, but it is continually growing and expanding. Most people have some sort of digital presence, but it might be out-of-date and ineffective.
As a business owner, you should start by evaluating your website. Is your website current? If it has been over three years since you last updated your website, it’s out of date. Next, you’ll want to evaluate if you are actively engaged in Search Engine Optimization. This means that your site is constantly being evaluated to ensure high rankings on the search engines.
What it entails is constant review, monitoring and adjustments. It is also part of the Content Marketing strategy. The content marketing strategy is the creation and sharing of content both on your website and throughout the online space. This isn’t only written content, it extends to video, images, and other forms of content.
Is your company sharing content on social media? If you think you have a Facebook page, but haven’t looked at it in over a year, chances are your content strategy needs plenty of help.
Lastly, you want to make sure you have an active Search Engine Marketing campaign. This refers to paid search advertising, do you have it? In addition, to just advertising on search, for many companies it makes sense to have display ads that are also running. These are the ads that are visible on various other sites. Check out any of your favorite sites and it is likely you will see advertisements on the top, bottom and right of the page.
Okay, so maybe you’ve answered yes to all of the above, but is it effective? While some business owners fail to see the need for digital advertising others simply lack information. For those business owners who don’t understand online marketing, it is easy to get overwhelmed and make the wrong decisions. One thing is certain, there is no shortage of people trying to get easy money from unknowing business owners.
HAVE A MARKETING PLAN:
One way to prevent making poor decisions is by having a marketing plan in place. If you aren’t knowledgeable in marketing, hiring a marketing consultant or marketing agency can prove to be savvy. Don’t just hire anyone, make sure you take the time to make the right hire. Having a plan of action can help streamline the decision making, and keep your marketing expenditure on budget. An organized, cohesive strategy is an absolute must! If you’ve bought into plenty of companies who have promised great results, it’s time to make a thorough evaluation.
As a business owner some of the new marketing hype can be really exciting, the goal is to always make educated decisions and keep them consistent. Having marketing that goes in several different directions is never ideal. Even when the marketing company is doing well, it may not provide results if they are not working within the marketing strategy. Before you can make a marketing plan make sure to evaluate and understand your audience. Your business brand has to understand its competitors, customer demographics, trends, etc. Before you can advertise you must understand your brand and audience thoroughly.
You’ll also want to outline any opportunities your company might have over others. If you understand what makes your company different it will be easy to establish your marketing plan and overall campaign.
Additionally, you’ll want to have objectives. What do you hope to achieve from your marketing? Is it more brand awareness? Greater sales? If you don’t have a marketing plan. It is highly unlikely that your marketing will succeed. Marketing that is divided across several companies with no plan, can’t work. May as well stop spending money. Additionally, a marketing plan that has no budget will also fail. You must have a clear understanding of your marketing budget. If you have a limited budget this becomes even more critical.
The first thing clients want when we meet with them is “stuff.” They want to see finished pieces, or have their digital campaign launched over night. We are constantly having to educate clients, explaining that a good campaign takes time. Before we can begin to do anything, we must understand the reason behind it. The why. We can’t recommend a client do something if it just doesn’t make sense. Before we set out to produce anything we sit with our clients to create a marketing plan and budget.
Digital advertising isn’t the mystery that it once was. There is no reason why as a business owner you should not be properly informed. It has been proven time and time again that digital marketing produces results. Money spent, yields revenue. Additionally, analytic information has also improved making it easier to track what is yielding the best results.
As a business owner you must be informed on how your company is spending the marketing budget. Whether you have hired an in-house marketing team or a marketing agency it is essential to understand the various aspects of your marketing. Be educated on social media, analytics, digital media, branding, etc. You should understand all the marketing that you are spending money on. You can learn by reading about industry standards and staying up-to-date with industry news.
You don't have to be an expert, but their is plenty of information available. Not only is there plenty of information, it is free. At the very least, gain a comprehensive level of understanding of most commonly used terms. If you don’t have the time, hire someone. Hire a consultant to audit your marketing every month and evaluate how effective it is.
Don’t expect your online marketing to yield sales overnight. No matter who you hire, it won’t happen. All clients, regardless of their marketing budget, should understand that their online marketing efforts will take time to show results. If you’ve just hired a marketing agency, you must understand it will take a reasonable amount of time to see results.
As a marketing agency, we clearly outline expectations and make it clear to clients that things take time. Many people believe that because online marketing is digital that they can expect immediate results. Even digital campaigns take time to actualize, implement, and furthermore, improve. A good campaign will always take time to research, and develop regardless of whether it is digital or in print. There is no shortcut. If you put a lot of pressure on your marketing agency to perform overnight, they are likely to cut corners and skip on vital research. We have sometimes been guilty of doing this.
We want to make the client happy and against our own best advice we skip essential research to show the client what they want to see, a finished product. Campaigns that are well thought out and planned perform much better than those that are not. Additionally, a well planned campaign, that is given the time to properly develop will last for much longer and produce better results. So just how long does it take to develop an online marketing campaign, see below:
- Pay Per Click Campaign- Figure at least 90 to 120 days. This is an average estimate of the time it takes to get a campaign up and running and fully optimized. Ads have to be tested against each other to find the right messaging that accomplish the client’s objectives. This is not an overnight phenomenon. Every change made equates to time needed for the ads to mature. Give it at least 90 days. If you plan on running animated display ads the development will be longer. There is concept, design, messaging, animation and much testing.
- Search Engine Optimization- Nothing short of 180 days. Sure, anyone can promise results in just two weeks, but it isn’t going to happen. Google is consistently changing the game; thus, it would be unreasonable to imagine that goals can be reached immediately. It is realistic to expect SEO to take at the very minimum 6 months, particularly in a competitive keyword market. Can it be less? Sure. But don’t expect any results before 90 days no matter what your circumstances are.
- Social Media- Give it at least 30 days. Engaging in social media requires listening, researching, planning and content creation. Social media posts must be well thought out, they can’t just be spewed out. They must also be well targeted to your audience. Establishing social media credibility will take a minimum of 30 days.
- Website- 12 to 16 weeks. Yes, that’s right. That, by the way, is a minimum. Depending on what your business needs it could be much longer. In order to create a website there is a lot of planning, user experience research, more planning, copywriting, design and of course programming. If you want an overnight website, don’t expect much.
Online marketing includes much more than what is mentioned or listed above. There is online video, mobile, apps, and more. Digital isn’t going to stop, it is going to continue to grow and evolve. In the future, digital will be much more important than TV, radio and print.
This is a great time to get a handle on your online marketing, or it will be harder to do later. Keep up or be left behind.