We’re all guilty of looking for it – the silver bullet – that one marketing tactic that’s going to skyrocket conversion rates, grow sales, or acquire new customers. Maybe you came across a company that got a lot of attention from a social media post that went viral. Now, you’re looking for your own solution – the latest trend, or the McDavid of digital marketing.
The Truth About Digital Marketing Is…
Just as Connor McDavid can’t save the Edmonton Oilers from being third-last in the NHL’s Western Conference (ouch, it hurts to type that out), no single digital marketing play can be counted on to take your organization to the top of your league.
If you think back to when you first learned to skate, you likely weren’t olympic-ready right away (unless you’re #97… or Virtue and Moir!). It probably took lessons, tips from your parents, many falls, and maybe watching the experts skate to really get a handle on it. If you stuck to it and practiced consistently, you started to see improvement. If you didn’t…well, you probably don’t do a lot of skating these days.
If we look at digital marketing the same way as learning a new sport, or instrument, or any other skill, you can see how marketing would require the same level of practice, patience, and persistence. The first time you put on skates you’re not going to beat any records for fastest skater. In the same way, you’re not going to become an expert marketer and hone your skill if you’re always seeking the quick win. It takes more than one new idea or tactic to see big wins in marketing.
So, How Do You Get Results?
Sadly, we’ve got no answers for the Oilers (well at least not educated ones), but for digital marketing, organizations should patiently work at building a cohesive set of tools and tactics that work together in an ongoing fashion, instead of depending on one star player.
1. Start with a strategy
Strategic focus drives better thinking, decisions, and results by setting direction and priority. A marketing strategy will help your team determine the audience, message, tactics, and platforms – and ensure that any new ideas or trends you discover are actually the right fit to achieve your organizational goals.
An example of strategic focus is when trying to improve conversion on a website. If you’re looking for the silver bullet, you will often come to the conclusion that a new website, a new video, or adding a trendy add-on tool will cause an exponential increase in transactions. The strategic marketer will better understand that improving conversion is really an ongoing process of continually testing, evaluating, making changes, and repeating.
2. Fully commit to your plan
Being aware of digital trends and new ideas is always a good idea. By analyzing these ideas through the filter of your strategy, you can determine if they will actually help achieve your organizational goals, or if they will just draw resources away from your carefully crafted plan (those shiny squirrels we love).
By committing to the strategy you create, and providing consistency in your marketing activities, your customers will have a greater understanding and trust in your digital brand. As important, your team and partners will have more clarity on direction and the ability to see things through to completion rather than constant starting/stopping on new ideas.
3. Keep an ongoing rhythm
Similar to keeping a consistent level of play in sports, it is crucial to keep an ongoing rhythm of activity and not allow significant gaps in time to have marketing success. We have all come across organizations that appear to have great momentum, are producing some quality content, or have multiple ad campaigns running, all to see it come to a complete halt for multiple months. Marketers have to be careful not to get caught up in artificial ‘campaign periods’ while their customers are engaged 24/7.
An organization that sticks to an ongoing and consistent implementation of their marketing efforts instead will:
- experience clarity on their marketing rhythm
- see gradual incline in momentum
- gather quality data and analytics
- better understand what’s working and what’s not
- continuously learn to make iterative improvements
More importantly, the organization’s staff will be more motivated by seeing a consistent effort rather than being skeptical of the next one-hit wonder idea.
4. Provide consistency across all channels
If your client visits your website, receives an email from you, and returns to your site through targeted ads, they should be receiving the same messaging and experience across all of these channels. By having a consistent and holistic digital strategy, omnichannel marketing allows you to bring together all your customer’s digital experiences seamlessly.
Digital Marketing Done Right
Organizations that are constantly looking for the silver bullet often end up with a complete mess due to the fact that they are constantly turning different things on and off, having significant gaps between marketing activity, confusion on brand messaging, terrible quality of data, and overall little learning to show from all of it.
Don’t be the lazy marketer that is always looking for the next silver bullet. Instead, I challenge you to start with a strategy and implement a consistent effort across all channels every month for an entire year. This approach will not only garner greater results but will also help create a marketing culture that is based on practice, patience, and persistence.