We’re going to talk about post website depression (PWD).
If you’re a sufferer, I urge you not to be embarrassed. You’re hardly alone.
Generally, PWD is preceded with wild mood swings. For months you’re knee-deep in the grind. Meetings and conference calls. Site maps and wireframes. Copy and code. Layouts and links. Flurries of emails. Portals. Staging sites. Browser testing. Blood, sweat and title tags.
After an exhausting Friday of tedious troubleshooting you’ve blasted past every last imperfection (you think). The flip gets switched over the weekend and you’re live. The new site looks tight. It loads in a flash. Isn’t the web wonderful?
High fives are flying all around the office Monday morning. The boss even sprung for donuts. But in the coming days, the buzz wanes. A week or two later, the source of your depression becomes clear: a million perfectly composed pixels can amount to zero effect on the business.
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It’s time to call a content marketer
That’s me. And this is a call I’m a part of a lot.
I’m happy to have this call because I can answer most of the questions and steer the ship forward from here. But I must admit, this call tends to include two waffles I could live without.
Waffle 1: Uncertainty
I told you the impetus behind this consultation: PWD. The company’s learned a new website in and of itself is no rainmaker. Now, at least to some extent, the marketer/owner/person I’m talking to realizes her or his company needs more than a shinier home on the web; they need a more significant digital footprint.
They need to publish content—onsite and off (but first, on) so they get discovered more. Known more. Liked more. Trusted more. This is how digital marketing works.
But then, ugh, the question, the inevitable question, dare I say, the “you’ve got to be kidding me” question…
“Barry, in our business we’re not so sure potential new clients go online to blah, blah, blah, blah, blah (read, research, make decisions, buy, etc.).
Here’s what I think at that moment: Are you serious? Where do you think they go? Where do they get their books? Where do they do research for their personal needs? Where did you find me? And WHY are we talking?
Here’s what I say at that moment: Yes, they do. (And the client knows it.)
And one more thing: In digital marketing it’s dangerous to forge a strategy based on what you think or your opinion. You need to know how your prospects and customers behave.
Waffle 2: Commitment
Somehow we get past the ridiculousness. It’s understood: content must be produced. We proceed to the double-headed time and money monster. This part of the conversation could go a number of ways and at this point it’s a bit premature to do a content marketing plan, but to do my part I say what needs to be said:
Yes, it’s going to take time and money. And if you’re not committed to it long term, you’ll be wasting both.
So what’s it to take to make digital marketing work?
The most successful businesses are becoming customer-centric marketing machines. They’re able to:
- Define marketing strategy based on customer needs
- Understand the customers’ behaviors
- Engage with customers based on their behaviors
Research indicates buyers are commonly two-thirds (or more) of the way through their journey before they reach out to the vendor. Marketing’s role has become enormously different.
- Marketing is sales. Marketing—not sales—guides buyers through the early stages of the buying process.
- Touch points multiply. Marketers need to engage customers across an expanding array of channels.
- Timeliness is crucial. Relevant marketing messages and content must be delivered fast and at every stage of the buyer’s journey.
Good news: your company can shift into digital gear to become more in touch with your customers’ needs, more responsive in delivering the content they seek when it matters most, and more effective and efficient.
Though there are countless strategies that may come into play there are four pillars of effective digital marketing your company needs to master:
1. Content marketing
2. Search engine optimization
3. Social media marketing
4. Marketing analytics
None of the above is optional. Think of them as four legs of a stool or table that forms the foundation of your digital marketing. Try to get by without one and your foundation falls down.
I’m now going to dive into each of the four to help you begin to get a basic understanding of the pillars of effective digital marketing. (more…)