There are a lot of people who want to do digital marketing either as a career or for their business. It’s no surprise. When done properly it reaps plenty of rewards. Digital marketing has been a difference-maker for aspiring marketing professionals and companies. That’s why it’s important for anyone who wants to do digital marketing to be absolutely clear on some things pertaining to digital marketing .
While it took a while for most to see it’s value, over time people have come to see how powerful it can be. Now digital marketing has come into fashion. That means two things. First, more people want in on digital marketing. Second, with digital marketing coming into fashion there are going to be myths, misconceptions, and hype. In fact, there are quite a few.
To help you avoid the pitfalls and landmines of the digital marketing world, here are three absolutely simple things (yet frequently ignored or forgotten) you need to understand about digital marketing.
5 Digital Marketing Facts You Need to Remember for Real Success
Good Digital Marketing Is Work
You may be tempted to stop reading right now. Why? This should be obvious, right? Marketing is obviously work. However, after many years in the search engine optimization (SEO) and digital marketing world, you would be surprised how often people seem to forget or think otherwise.
Have You Seen My Magic Digital Marketing Dust?
It’s strange. From the early days of SEO and Pay-Per-Click (PPC) advertising all kinds of people would say something similar. It goes something like this.
- Do your magic.
- How you going to trick Google?
- Oh yeah…he’s our SEO / web / digital guru.
- After we do everything, we’ll hand it off to you and you can do your SEO / digital magic
Digital marketing is not magic. Digital marketing is not literally a bag of “tricks”. Digital marketing is not a spiritual exercise of gurus. And digital marketing is not a form of ninjitsu. Sorry to disappoint you. Digital marketers are not ninjas. Some may be nerds who for fun refer to themselves as ninjas. Here’s the thing. The ninja thing in this case is not ninjitsu. It’s marketing.
And it’s not one group of people who are guilty of treating digital marketing like it’s not a whole lot of hard work. Account executives, agency owners, would-be clients, media reps, salespeople, and high level executives have all done it. It’s an easy trap to fall into, but it’s a bad one. Relatively few people really get deep into digital marketing work from ideas, strategy, planning, budget management, campaign adjustments, keyword research, website analysis, troubleshooting, and so on. So, cut them some slack, but remember not to believe this hype.
Making the mistake of treating digital marketing as magic or tricks will lead to problems. People will assume it’s easy. People won’t set reasonable or proper deadlines. People will tell clients it can be done overnight. As you might imagine, this leads to all kinds of problems. Since few people understand digital marketing, the digital marketing and SEO pros will be all alone and stuck with the problems with little time (and often few resources) to create a solution.
If you are interested in doing digital marketing, implementing digital marketing for your business, or hiring someone to do digital marketing for you please remember this simple fact. Digital marketing is work.
Good Digital Marketing Requires Plenty of Thought
This seems to be another obvious point. Not so fast, my friend. Just like the mistake of forgetting that digital marketing is a lot of work, people seem to forget digital marketing requires a whole lot of thinking.
Stop Thinking and Get to Work!
Here’s the thing. In a field of work like digital marketing, thinking is working. Some of the best breakthroughs in digital marketing can happen from someone just stepping away and thinking about a challenge or a solution. In a world where we value efficiency we sometimes equate work to constant mouse clicking, typing, and checking boxes. Yet, the most efficient engines are the ones that get maintenance and tune-ups. Whether you like it or not, Abe Lincoln was right when he said that if he had six hours to fell a tree he’d spend the first four sharpening his axe.
In digital marketing, thinking things through is incredibly important. In the desire to get results and get them yesterday, people will take action without the thought necessary. When things go poorly, they are left wondering why or claim X, Y, or Z just doesn’t work.
It’s also easy to forgo the work of thinking with the way digital marketing is sometimes positioned in marketing publications. Headlines will praise a software or hype a platform as though the simple act of getting involved will make stacks of cash fall from the heavens. People used to ask “Are you on Facebook?” or “Are you doing Twitter?” as if their mere presence was going change their business.
It’s a No-Brainer. Best Practices!
Another thing that has caused some to skip the necessary thinking is best practices. This may seem counter-intuitive. It’s true that best practices and best practice checklists are a good tool or set of operating guidelines. Sometimes they become a crutch. Best practices should not be considered a solution, roadmap, or strategy.
Every business or organization is unique. Each has different models, resources, people, value propositions, business goals, business challenges, strengths, weakness, and opportunities. Each business faces a different set of circumstances. Each organization has a different hand to play.
That means digital marketing needs to be different for every business. Best practices are great to guide people, set benchmarks, or help in other ways. They are not a substitute for thinking through strategy, tactics, plans, and solutions.
Good Digital Marketing Takes Time
We live in a microwave society. People want it all and they want it now. It defies all logic and is entirely unreasonable in practice, but that hasn’t stopped it from becoming the norm. If you want to be have consistent long-term digital marketing results and maintain your sanity, expect digital marketing to take time.
Engage digital marketing the way one should when making the decision to eat healthy, lose weight, and get in shape. It’s a new way of life. It’s new way of doing things. If you do the right things, the results will come. Don’t think in terms of days or weeks. Do your best to always get better results every day. Keep your eye on the progress and analytics. Have small goals and milestones, but know meaningful results take time.
Whip Me Up a Viral Video or Something!
You may hear about some examples of huge wins that happen overnight in digital marketing. People often bring up their favorite viral video when they talk about marketing like there is a set of best practices or a recipe that creates instant success. You’ll hear about some company tweeting something clever and because it went viral the company sales went through the roof.
Sometimes a person may be skilled enough to step into a business and improve their digital marketing results by 500% in a few months. That’s great. It does happen. Consider yourself lucky if it happens to you. Just know that’s the exception, not the rule. You certainly shouldn’t count on it.
Headless Chickens Don’t Win
In business, it’s good to be able to get things done quickly. When tasked with a challenge, time is frequently not your friend. Being nimble is a strategic advantage and it provides opportunity to increase sales and profits. This has been proven repeatedly. So, do your best to think through a great strategy, put in the hard work, and strive to improve results as quickly as you can do so effectively.
Be decisive and try to create strategies and tactics that allow you be flexible and create activity in a nimble way. All of this is good. What is not good is hurrying, resembling a headless chicken, or allowing a lack of patience to hinder you.
Remember the three little pigs? Be the third one.
Digital Marketing is an Ongoing Activity.
Imagine a sales manager walks into a CEO’s office and says that sales was all done. The CEO asks what the sales manager means. The sales manager repeats that the job of sales is all done. The CEO would inform the sales manager that as long as business was open sales was not done. Sales is an on-going activity fundamental to the business.
Digital marketing isn’t going away. If you are going to do marketing, you’d be smart to include digital marketing. If you are going to digital marketing, it’s an ongoing process that’s valuable to the business in several ways. Digital marketing is process oriented. There are methods. There are cycles. There isn’t some kind of finish line. It’s not that kind of thing.
People commonly make this mistake with SEO. When some people are building, resdesigning, or making updates to a website, they will often say something a few weeks after the project is done. First, they will express disappointment that they don’t dominate every possible combination of organic search rankings with the few weeks of the project. The they will say something like the following:
Didn’t we do the SEO?
Isn’t the SEO done?
We did the SEO right?
Search engine optimization is an aspect of digital marketing. It’s never done. You keep optimizing. That’s digital marketing. Continually working to optimize further and achieve new and different things. If you hear somebody talk about digital marketing or SEO that sounds like the list above, beware. In fact, you may consider running. If a person tells you that by building a website for you that they have done your SEO, you are listening to a person that doesn’t understand SEO. Sure there is plenty of SEO to do when building a website. But once the website is launched, the SEO is not done. There may be a rare exception like with some micro-niche websites. In general, SEO and digital marketing for businesses is not “done”.
Digital Marketing… is Marketing
Surprise! Digital marketing is marketing. Another obvious fact that needs no explanation, right? Of the five simple facts on this list, this may be the one people forget or ignore the most often.
People focus on the digital and forget the marketing.
You may want to stop and read the previous sentence.
Digital marketing is a form of marketing. It is marketing leveraging digital technology, mediums, and platforms. Much of digital marketing is internet marketing and search engine marketing. It’s all still marketing.
The fundamentals of marketing get lost along the way. Marketing is an aspect of business. Therefore, knowing marketing fundamentals and having lots of marketing knowledge is highly valuable. Having a good business acumen is also valuable. Then applying this knowledge and skill to execute good marketing by leveraging digital is the name of the game.
People become experts in platforms. People become knowledgeable in how a platform works. They learn what’s cool. The read about what everyone else is doing on Twitter. Being an expert in how use a platform is not the same thing as doing marketing. Which leads to a popular problem that causes people to forget about the marketing part of digital marketing.
Do I Look Cool in this Platform?
Digital marketing is now in fashion. It’s hip. It’s trendy. For a while, it was a cool having a job writing about how various forms of digital marketing (especially SEO) were surely going to die. Now more people are looking for digital marketing jobs while more businesses try to grow their digital marketing. Being in fashion, all the hype and trends distract people. While there are new technologies, platforms, and advancements in digital marketing, it remains marketing.
If you want to reap the words of digital marketing, it’s wise to remember that digital marketing is marketing.
Obvious Digital Marketing Facts in Practice
Remember these 5 seemingly obvious facts that are often forgotten or ignored. It will help you more than you may think. These are fundamental facts, but fundamentals provide a solid foundation. It’s easy to fall in love with flash, fashion, and hype that surrounds aspects of digital marketing like exciting social media stories, viral videos, and so on. Flash, fashion, and hype are often presented as marketing genius, but that’s almost always fool’s good.
The real digital marketing gold comes from thinking, working, time, and application of sound time-tested marketing principles. It’s not fancy. It’s doing the right things day in and day out.
Remember these 5 facts and make them your friends.