Just like you, we get pitched digital marketing all the time too. Everyone is trying to convince you what you already know; people search for things on the internet. Sure there are complexities just like there are for every industry but at its core, it’s people finding you. Realize what I didn’t say was “digital marketing is ONLY search engines”. This is where we begin to dive into another problem we are seeing all the time in this industry; making broad statements or promises that you can’t possibly keep. While having a digital identity and marketing plan is 100% necessary for every business, there are some things digital marketing simply just isn’t.
It’s not a way correlate every action to a sale.
We see this all the time; agencies will come in, promise xx% growth with a guarantee that looks like this. You will have 25% increased sales within 6 months or our service is free!* Yep, there’s that “*”. It’s there because the claim isn’t absolute. “Terms and conditions apply” right? These agencies will do an incredible job of showing you how every action that they did throughout the month led to a specific dollar amount of revenue for you. Here’s the problem, accounting for every single variable in the customer buying process equation is impossible. Although there are many ways to follow your clients around on the internet (re-targeting), once they aren’t using a device any longer, you have no idea what is influencing them. There’s quite a debate about how many times a potential customer needs to see your advertisements before they are interested. This concept is called Effective Frequency and has roots all the way back to the late 1800s. Essentially no matter where you fall on the specific number of times, everyone agrees that “several” applies. The time frame on their exposure to you could be days, weeks or even months depending on the industry you are part of. With this in mind, don’t let an agency convince you they know exactly what happened. INSTEAD, the goal should be overall digital health for your business. Online targeting is very important but it doesn’t account for every detail. Just like good health isn’t reliant on just a good pulse rate, consumer tracking isn’t just a singular path or metric.
2. It’s not all of the marketing you should do.
This will be shocking I know, but how you interact with customers matters. You might be easily found, your SEO, SEM, Website, Social Media and Google Business listing might be all on point, but you can ruin it all with bad business practices. Businesses live and die based on reviews, referrals and the opinion of the public. Once you have leads, it’s your responsibility to serve them well. It’s also your responsibility to constantly network to keep the flow of customers going. Once you have been in business for awhile, it is critical that you change some of your customers to ADVOCATES. Think about all the times that you visited a store, a restaurant or a service because someone gave them a raving review. Even more than that, what if your friend says “I simply won’t use anyone else”. These are your advocates, and digital marketing can’t give you that. On the other hand, if no one is finding you, then you have no customers at all. This is why they both go hand in hand.
3. It’s not going to change everything in a couple days.
Unless you already have a strong marketing strategy and you’re just moving it to us, then there’s a ramp up time to starting digital marketing. You absolutely can purchase all the clicks for the keywords associated with your business, but if it’s competitive, it will cost you A LOT. Often, owners think they know what they should use as keywords, only to learn later there was a better path. Having a successful SEO and SEM campaign relies on the people running it to be able to find a strong middle ground between, number of searches and keyword difficulty. If the keywords are too difficult, you’ll pay too much and not get much traction. If you pick a keyword with not enough searches, you again end up with no traffic. A good front end discovery should be the first thing that an Agency worth their salt will do. If they can’t give you domain and keyword information : move on. Once this is established and the campaigns start, you have a right to wonder how it’s going and see metrics to prove it. If early traction is proven but you aren’t satisfied you have 2 options; spend more money to make it grow faster or wait. Most of your potential clients won’t purchase in a day or a week. They will consider you and their other options and return. If they’ve never seen you before, then you must give them space. The more expensive your service or product, the longer the funnel will be. Imagine the difference between you choosing where you will buy lunch today and where you will purchase your next house. The same vast difference applies to digital marketing as well.
Marketing success comes from 3 things; consistency, a desired product/service, and time. If you can’t provide all 3, then you’ll see massive spikes of activity and then nothing. Also, sometimes you’ll have months of increased traffic only to see a small (less than 15% dip). This doesn’t mean it’s not working, it’s just part of the organic nature of the system. A strong agency can monitor all of these factors while also anticipating the effect of algorithm changes BEFORE they happen. The best idea when finding someone to help you market that you trust, is to ask for past success case studies. If they can provide these, then you have a good indication that they are on the right track.