I’ve noticed a pattern over the years running a digital marketing agency. We connect with a prospect who usually says something like this:
I know I need to market my business online. That’s what you guys do. Can you help me out? I’ve got someone doing my social media, but I’m not getting any results.
After hearing about the ways we can boost lead generation, organic traffic and brand awareness, our prospects are excited about bringing on Visual Creatives as a creative marketing partner.
And then it happens. The next phone call sometimes goes like this:
Oh yes, we’re still planning to move forward! We’ve just got to get through the
[trade show next week]
[first of the month]
[close of the month]
The list of upcoming events is never-ending, always changing. And totally valid!
Unfortunately what happens next is usually a phone call months down the road with the same client. Now they are ready to implement the marketing campaigns and social media strategies, and we are happy to help them. But it frustrates me. We’ve lost months of daily, focused attention that could have helped position their business for greater thought leadership and success.
Gain Traction with your Marketing
Your first priority is running your business. Your first priority needs to be running your business. But if you are ready to break out of that “too busy to do the business” cycle, here are a few basic tips.
- Marketing a business online takes a time commitment. The minimum number of hours per week that we will allocate per customer is 10, and that represents skilled marketers with no learning curve time involved.
- Hire the appropriate skill level. We love entry level social media directors. They comprise a substantial portion of our client base. But don’t expect a lone social media staff member to plan and implement a full-blown marketing campaign. If you are making a commitment to online marketing, you need a skilled campaign director, and — ideally — ancillary staff who can help that person with blog writing, social media posting and lead nurturing.
- If you choose to pursue an agency relationship, recognize that you will need to invest some hours in the first two months to fully transmit your organization’s DNA to your new agency. They will need to work closely with the key decisionmaker as policies and procedures are implemented. Yes, that sounds like adding another task to your already-jammed calendar, but in reality by month three you will find breathing room as the agency takes the brunt of the marketing execution. Clients who refuse to invest that upfront time end up limiting the ROI of their marketing efforts and crippling their agency partnership.
- Don’t wait to complete your website redesign before bringing your marketing team into the picture. There are many reasons to complete or not complete a redesign, only one of which is the physical appearance of the site. The marketing team will have important insight into your SEO, current search rankings and optimal keyword placement throughout the site.
- Whether in-house or outsourced, create the most streamlined process possible for your digital presence. Waiting for approvals through layers of bureaucracy will not only delay any initiatives, it will also strip the campaigns of of their personality and result in bland marketing.
- If you aren’t happy with the success of your social media and digital campaigns, give concrete feedback to your team and evaluate how well they incorporate your points. No employee or agency can hit the center of the bullseye every single time. What you are looking for is a team with the agility and personality to take feedback and tweak direction when needed. At the same time, they should be able to evaluate when you simply need to modify the current campaign and hold the course. A “failed” campaign is a brilliant time to perfect workflow, communication and goals with your team. By the way, if you are your own team, hold yourself to the same standard! Don’t fire yourself! Be willing to evaluate and adjust.
- Share your business insight with your team. You probably don’t realize the extent of the industry-specific information that flows across your desk and is stored in your mind (and computer!). No matter who you are working with, you are the best expert on your own business. Share data trends, industry news and any insights regularly with your marketing team. Sometimes the smallest piece of industry news can develop into an integrated marketing campaign that drives leads.
Market while you are busy, or the day will come when you aren’t busy anymore. The best reason to invest the time in implementing your digital marketing strategy is that no matter how successful you are, the day will come when that pipeline you are creating will become your lifeline.
Every day you let pass without implementing a digital marketing strategy for your small business or organization is another day you remain invisible to the world of online prospects. The time will pass. You can either begin the process of building organic SEO, thought awareness and lead generation, or you can continue doing what you have been doing. Invest the time now.