You know you need to be marketing your business online. And odds are you’ve already given it a try.
Small Florida businesses are at a disadvantage when it comes to digital marketing. Many entrepreneurs see it as something they can or should be able to do on their own. But when months roll by without any clear business value, they conclude there’s not much to get excited about.
That means leaving the opportunity for thousands or even millions of dollars in sales on the table.
Unfortunately, efforts to craft a digital marketing strategy in-house are inherently iterative. In an ideal world, you would figure out what works and build on observations over time. In reality, most companies set out to reinvent the wheel, waste time and money, and never get rolling.
Digital marketing has a lot of moving parts. Business owners have often discovered, after cashing in a coupon for $100 in Google ads, that they can spend twenty times that much without a sale to show for it. That’s because ads – along with any other tactic – are just one part of the equation.
It’s less like reinventing the wheel and more like engineering a car from scratch.
In light of this, working with a digital marketing agency is the next move for many enterprises. And it can be a wise decision. But finding the right digital marketing partner is a whole different sort of challenge.
Digital marketing has come a long way in the last ten years. Its leaps and bounds are different from what it was at the turn of century. Modern digital marketing is built on data and proven best practices focused on better experiences for the website visitors who become your customers.
But one thing hasn’t changed: Just about anyone can claim to be a digital marketer… and they do.
Since so many companies don’t know how to measure return on investment from digital marketing, they can go a long way with a vendor who isn’t following today’s best practices – or, indeed, who isn’t really doing the job at all. That may leave you spending thousands of dollars on very little.
Even if your current digital marketing agreement has made an impact, it still may not be best for you. Unless all your efforts stand on a solid foundation, you’ll never reach a point where you have reliable, repeatable, continuously improving outcomes.
When the basics are missing, tinkering around the edges won’t fix the problem.
Instead, you need to start from the beginning with a team you can really rely on.
Call it a full-service makeover.
A “Full Service” Orientation To Digital Marketing Fills In The Gaps
Plenty of Central Florida businesses learn too late there are missing pieces to their digital marketing. Just like having a missing gasket or spark plug in your car’s engine, the vehicle won’t run without them – no matter how sleek the interior looks or how good the paint job is.
But unless you’ve seen the whole blueprint, it’s hard to know what’s missing.
It takes the average digital marketing pro three years of experience to understand how all the pieces fit together. Even if you go online and find a well-meaning rookie to do some blogging, that person is little more than an enthusiastic hobbyist without the context to see the big picture.
If you’ve considered launching an in-house team, it takes time to develop the processes – not to mention hiring, training and retaining talent who, if they’re good, will constantly be in demand. On the other hand, you can focus on your strengths and have the best of both worlds with the right agency.
So, how do you know if your current approach really isn’t all it’s cracked up to be?
An outside perspective from someone who knows is the best and fastest solution.
Without Full Service Marketing, It’s Easy To Miss The Forest For The Trees
As you read this, there may well be gaping holes in your digital marketing strategy.
In hindsight, the clues are easy to spot.
So, let’s look at some of the clearest signs that something is missing:
1. Your Digital Marketing Tries To Do Too Much …
We know, there are tons of digital marketing techniques out there. In the right hands, any one of them can create a measurable impact. But too many companies end up doing a little of everything. Pumping out tons of short blogs nobody will ever read, posting to a dozen social media platforms…
Stop and ask yourself: What does it all mean?
If your digital marketing is diffused over every platform, every channel, every type of outreach, the most likely outcome is that you’re not doing anything particularly well. A wide spread of different techniques only works if each one is calibrated to address your specific audience where they are.
Large enterprises with money to burn can invest in buffet-style marketing if they’re doing a long-term brand awareness campaign that doesn’t need to produce sales for six months or more. Small business digital marketing is different: There should be a clear path to build a relationship and set up a sale.
That can mean choosing one or two areas where you can and should stand out.
It might not seem as exciting to focus on consistently publishing helpful and informative content to your website’s blog. But, done well over a period of time, it’s the secret to raising your search engine visibility so your website appears at the moment people are looking for you.
Combined with social media marketing – targeted to the platforms your customers use and trust – this can be enough to build a solid foundation for your entire marketing strategy. All the rest, from video storytelling to email marketing, can come in later to reinforce your core assets.
2. …Or It Doesn’t Do Enough
In other cases, your strategy can be doing the right thing, but not doing it effectively.
One 400-word blog post a month isn’t enough to move the needle on your search engine visibility. Even if it happens to be a spot-on match for what your audience wants, it won’t be able to compete and get seen. The same is true if you’re posting once a week on social media – even on all social media.
When you don’t know exactly how to track your results, it’s easy to underestimate just how much can go into digital marketing. Most companies – in Central Florida and elsewhere in the Sunshine State – will need to rack up a formidable library of content to bring in a growing flow of search traffic each month.
And while you don’t have to build Rome in a day, it’s a good idea to go at a brisk pace.
The mix of methods you should explore and what you should do with them will depend on your business and its goals. Doing a small amount of the right thing is many times more effective than doing a whole lot of the wrong thing – but, again, it has to be the right thing.
A Central Florida digital marketing agency helps you figure it out so no effort is ever wasted.
3. You Don’t Have A Clear Read On Your Digital Marketing ROI Or When To Expect It
When you think about it, all business investments have one of only two goals:
Sound digital marketing takes your website, which might otherwise be pure overhead for your business, and turns it into something that makes money. It’s not enough to have a website because “everyone needs one.” It should be laying a foundation for new visitors to turn into your next raving fans.
Because the buyer journey is so complicated, especially in service-based businesses, there’s no one way that all marketing does this. Each technique and technology fit into the picture in its own unique context. And all the elements reinforce each other.
For instance, first-time visitors who find your website’s blog in search results are most likely to be early in the Awareness phase of their buying odyssey. They need to understand the problem or opportunity they’re up against. By being there first, you help them define terms and develop their buying criteria.
For an overall strategy to yield strong ROI, every piece that contributes to it needs to deliver on its own KPIs. Those blog posts need to reel in users and get them to subscribe to your email list. The email list needs to keep people engaged and, ultimately, inspire them to reach out to you.
Depending on your aims and techniques, it usually takes around 90 days to gain traction with an all-new digital marketing strategy. Online advertising can get you traffic almost overnight, but there are trade-offs. Your website needs to be ready for it, and when you turn off the tap of cash, the traffic stops.
Your digital marketing partner should be able to explain in clear terms how each element of the strategy is going to contribute to ROI, what level of results they estimate, and when you should expect to see that.
4. You Don’t Get To Review Any Of The Data, Lessons Learned, Or Process Improvements
All digital marketing is based on data. If there’s no data, it’s not marketing – it’s just guessing.
Luckily, today’s technologies mean every interaction you have with a prospect, lead, or customer sends data straight to your door. There are countless ways to collect, analyze, and use it. An ocean of raw information is useless; what you really need is the actionable insights hidden beneath the waves.
One function of a trustworthy marketing team is to sieve through it all for you.
By looking at data, marketers learn which content is having a positive effect on your audience. There’s no point spending hours each month posting on Facebook if everyone who wants to buy from you is on LinkedIn, to give just one common example. This lets you direct your money where it will really stick.
It’s fine if you never look at the reams of unfiltered data – that’s like trying to count the stars in the sky. But your marketers should be on hand to point out the constellations. And they need to show how they are going to revise the execution of your strategy to keep it on track toward your goals.
In our metaphor, that’s the North Star.
This should be a constant, ongoing process. It truly never ends. But it takes a minimum of two weeks to get enough data to start making inferences for next month. In general, you should have access to a full report every 30-35 days. A monthly meeting is typically the fastest and friendliest way to sort it all out.
This brings us to our final point … last, but certainly not least …
5. You’re Not Getting Enough Communication From Your Digital Marketers
Some people are content to set expectations and let the magic happen behind the scenes. That’s fine.
But you should know how to get a hold of your marketing team easily when you have a question. If you’re using a third-party agency, someone over there needs to be the one in charge of your project, the person with the birds’-eye view. If there’s nobody with that defined responsibility, it’s a problem.
All too often, complete silence means nothing is getting done.
To break the feeling that “no news is good news,” marketers should make it a point to report any wins or positive trends they notice. A few brief check-ins throughout the month will give you a little preview of what you can expect to be discussed by the end – and help you formulate questions or concerns.
And, of course, your observations should be welcome at any time.
Your future customers live and learn. Their preferences and goals evolve with them. Your business will change, too – not only in response to them but because your own vision grows. Digital marketers must strive to move with the current, not fight it.
Refresh And Revitalize Your Digital Marketing – But Whatever You Do, Don’t Go It Alone
A digital marketing partnership is a winning proposition for everyone. When you succeed, so does your marketing team – it’s as simple as that. Yet, many times, companies end up cutting corners or settling for minor tweaks, when committing (or re-committing) is the key to realizing their goals.
At New York Ave, we’re here to help you do it with a truly collaborative style.
That means getting to know your business, hearing your vision for the future, and doing a deep dive to understand the people you serve. From there, we develop a full-service digital marketing plan based on your needs and targets, aligned to your audience.
Without a full-service philosophy in place, marketers try to fit you into whatever box they’re best with. That’s why you’ve probably heard from different sources that social media marketing, content marketing, video, and email are all the best things to happen since sliced bread.
After all, when all you’ve got is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail.
Any individual marketing technique can yield results. But a unified digital marketing strategy is more than just a pile of trendy tactics. It takes into account where you are, how you got there, and where you’re going. And it doesn’t ask much from you: As much or as little involvement as you desire.
It all starts with a friendly chat over coffee.
There’s one part of the equation even other “full service” marketing agencies don’t have down yet, and that’s the human connection. We believe in creating relationships and standing by you for the long haul.
When you have a team that cares about your success, everything becomes that much easier.
You can change digital marketing agencies whenever you want, and you should examine your alternatives any time you’re unsure you’re getting all the value you can. Because we can prove the return on investment our services provide, we aim to become the Central Florida marketing agency you’ll really trust.
Contact New York Ave to find out more or get started today.
This content was originally published here.