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Is Your Digital Marketing Out of Date?

4 minute read

Chris Leone   by Chris Leone April 22, 2015

Are you concerned your marketing strategy is stuck in the past? In a recent survey, over a quarter of marketers said keeping up to date with the latest marketing technology and trends was one of their most pressing business challenges. Do you fall into that bucket?

The digital marketing space changes quickly. If you’re not constantly looking ahead, you can get stuck using out-dated tactics that fail to generate a return.

The following shows how two different marketers approach the major digital marketing channels. Out-Of-Touch Tom hasn’t evolved with the times, while Savvy Sabrina is implementing today’s best-practices.

If you relate more to Tom, or find you relate to neither, it may be time to re-evaluate your approach to digital marketing.

Social media
Out-Of-Touch Tom: Over-values network size, so he buys social followers to make his social media profiles look more popular.

Savvy Sabrina: Values relevance, so she slowly builds her networks organically by creating content of value and becoming known in her marketplace.

We hate to admit it, but the early days of social media were all about popularity and followers (this is still the case to a degree, but we’ve gotten better).

This led to services that charge money to grow your social following. They work by developing a list of social accounts (mostly fake) that automatically follow you back when you follow them. The result is an account that follows 10,000 people and is followed back by 10,000 people.

This doesn’t make you look popular, but it does make you look desperate.

Mobile
Out-Of-Touch Tom: Wants the cheapest option, so he hires his neighbor’s nephew to build a separate mobile website (e.g. m.yoursite.com).

Savvy Sabrina: Invests in the most advanced technology by hiring a professional to build a responsive website that automatically adapts to mobile screen size.

The original mobile website was a separate website built just for smartphone users. These sites are usually housed on a subdomain. For example, m.yoursite.com.

Today’s method is to maintain only one website that automatically adjusts the design based on the user’s screen (known as responsive web design). The advantage is you only need to maintain content and information on one website, not two.

Responsive web design has become a standard web development practice, while stand-alone mobile sites (like m.yoursite.com) are getting phased out.

SEO
Out-Of-Touch Tom: Doesn’t think he should invest significant time or money in SEO, so he pays an overseas company pennies on the dollar to generate as many inbound links to his website as possible.

Savvy Sabrina: Creates compelling content and distributes it across her networks, generating real shares and links to her site.

SEO isn’t dead, but it’s getting more difficult and expensive. Companies used to achieve high rankings by generating thousands of spammy links to their website. Google put an end to that tactic with its Penguin update, and companies without a foundation of content fell off the search result pages completely.

Today, content and quality links play a major role in achieving strong rankings. Quality links are earned when someone discovers and shares your original content. To facilitate this process, companies need to grow and nurture their social networks. The more your audience cares about you, the more likely they are to share your content.

Display Advertising (Banner ads)
Out-Of-Touch Tom: Pays local media companies to place his digital display ad on dozens of websites to generate the most impressions possible.

Savvy Sabrina: Uses paid social media platforms to increase ad visibility to her target market.

Originally, advertisers would buy ad space on websites they assumed their target market visited. Today, social media allows advertisers to target their display ads (banner ads) with much greater precision and targeting.

Social media ads can be targeted based on a combination of interests and demographic details, making the targeting much more relevant and effective.

E-mail Marketing
Out-Of-Touch Tom: Purchases email lists to get his email marketing in front of as many people as possible.

Savvy Sabrina: Acquires a user’s email address in exchange for free content, then segments and nurtures her ever-growing email lists based on the user.

Relevance trumps size. Companies that purchase non opt-in lists experience poor performance and get reported for abuse. This kind of spammy email marketing will also hurt the perception of your brand. Don’t do it.

Measuring Performance:
Out-Of-Touch Tom: Attributes a website conversion to the last method someone used to enter his site.

Savvy Sabrina: Understands people interact with her brand in different ways and at different times before deciding to convert. She seeks to understand the buying journey and assigns conversion value across each step in the process.

Users will interact with your brand several times online before deciding to purchase. This means your marketing needs to hit people throughout all stages of the buying funnel.

Instead of only looking at the last channel someone used to find your website before converting, marketers now analyze a user’s journey throughout each stage of the buying final. They then distribute the credit for each sale across different campaigns, depending on the role they played in driving the sale. This gives a much more accurate picture of ROI, and leads to better and smarter marketing investments.

Don’t be like Tom. Stay ahead of the curve through self-education, or pay someone to do it for you.

 


 

As President, Chris is responsible for leading all the day-to-day operations of WebStrategies. His work has been featured on the Google Analytics and Hubspot blogs, and he’s a regular columnist for the Richmond Times Dispatch.

 

Topics: Inbound Marketing, Pay Per Click, SEO, Online Marketing, Display Advertising, Digital Marketing

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