Maintaining Balance: Lessons in Digital Strategy Development
More often than not, businesses reach out to digital marketing companies such as ours for one reason: they want their companies to rank higher in Google search results so they are more easily found by their clients. They are typically searching for SEO services, as this has long been the buzzword used in the marketing industry as well as across the Internet. In fact, Mad Fish Digital used to be called “Mad Fish SEO”; however, just as the Mad Fish brand has evolved, so too has SEO strategy. SEO and online marketing go hand-in-hand A truly great digital marketing strategy is holistic and integrated. Businesses shouldn’t be surprised when their discussion on search engine rankings lead to broader questions from their agency of choice. For example, the questions digital marketing agencies should be asking will concern the overall voice of a company, company goals, competitors, and profit per product. In fact, if the agency your company is interviewing is not asking these questions, it may be a sign that they do not have a complete understanding as to how digital marketing and SEO have evolved. What we have found is that once we get past search engine-specific questions, the underlying reasons most businesses reach out to digital marketing agencies such as ours are as follows:
- Their current digital marketing agency is not reaching their key performance indicators (KPIs), or fulfilled the promises made at the outset
- The in-house team is not savvy enough to navigate the world of digital
- Revenues have stagnated and the company is looking for new avenues and ways to position their product
- Find your voice – Develop a set of core values and goals and following them religiously. This will help set the tone for all marketing decisions.
- Have an understanding of who your audience is and how your business can grow with them – There are a million ways to analyze traffic, messaging, and campaign performance. Make sure you are constantly split testing ad copy, social media articles and demographic makeup, and leveraging the data to make informed decisions. Your audience may not be who or where you think it is and it is also a moving target.
- Define your industry – Identify the actual industry in which you operate. For example, a movie theater may consider itself an entertainment business, but it is not really in direct competition with DVDs or home videos. Instead, it is competing for people’s free time and expendable income, putting it in direct competition with places like bowling alleys, sports venues, and people’s living rooms. As a result, there has been a proliferation of beer theaters which supply drinks and more comfortable seating in order to provide the same experience as watching a movie at home.
- Respect the competition – Some of the questions I always ask in the initial client intake process are “Who are your competitors?”, “What do you like about their marketing?”, and “What do you dislike?” The responses range from very insightful thoughts about how a competitor’s site looks and functions, to “I don’t have any competitors.” Unfortunately, there are always competitors. Even if there are no products like yours, everyone has limited time, energy, and budget, and you will always be competing at least indirectly for one of those things.
- Identify your segment – Before entering into any engagement with an agency, it important that everyone sets what the target cost per lead and cost per acquisition is at each product level. If there is not a clear goal or set of goals with associated CPAs, there cannot be a path to success. CPA consulting and goal setting for each product line or segment is a critical aspect of digital strategy development.