The fast-paced world of digital media — with its new technologies and iterative improvements — has theoretically made our lives easier.
The counterpart is that we are or can get overwhelmed. It seems like every week there’s something new we NEED to be doing, lest we get left behind. The problem is that a lot of this new “stuff” has already become outdated. Or worse still, most of it was never a good use of time and budget, to begin with!
To help transform you into a more efficient business thinker, here are 10 tactics you can cut from your Digital Marketing Strategy today, and where to spend that previously wasted time…
1. ON-PAGE SEO OBSESSION
Most of us are really comfortable with optimizing our web content for SEO, because we know it’s something well within our control to do. We hit the biggies — H1, Page Title, Post Title, Image, URL, Content — with our keywords, and sit pretty thinking we totally nailed our SEO.
Unfortunately, what we’re comfortable with isn’t always the best use of our time.
On-page SEO, while something you should certainly spend a couple minutes checking out before you publish new web content, isn’t something we should be obsessing over anymore. Google’s algorithm is much more sophisticated than it was even a few years ago, so keyword optimization isn’t going to cut it anymore.
STOP THE ON-PAGE SEO FIXATION AND START FOCUSING ON:
- User Experience
- SEO strategy templates
2. THE FIRE HOSE BLAST OF BLOG CONTENT
Much like the social media bandwagon we’ve all jumped on, most marketers and DIY business owners are convinced they need to be blogging for their business. Of late, some marketers have taken this concept to the extreme, pumping out content at assembly-line pace.
More blogging is better blogging, right?
If you’re trying to compensate for low quality with high quantity, you’re doing yourself more harm than good — readers won’t regard your content well, and as a result, Google won’t hold your domain in high regard, either.
Additionally, if you’re resource-strapped, there’s a blogging volume sweet spot you can rest comfortably in.
“92% of businesses that blog multiple times a day have acquired a customer from it. But 78% of businesses that blog on a daily basis have also acquired a customer from it.”
That differential isn’t too big. Is it? If we bring down the volume just a little to 2-3 times per week, still, 70% of business acquire a customer from their blog.
START FOCUSING ON: Testing the frequency of your blog publishing volume, and uncover the volume you need to hold to maintain the customer acquisition you need from that channel.
3. YOUR GO-TO LEAD MAGNET
To generate leads, you need a blow-out marketing offer that your site visitors can convert on.
But then you need another.
And another after that…
After a while, you’ll start to realize some offers perform better than others for lead generation, so you start using that offer all of the time. Problem is, that offer can get really over-saturated really fast, and what once yielded your best click-through rate will end up being mediocre at best.
START FOCUSING ON: Creating a new lead generation offer that’ll capture people’s attention. Look at historical data to see what topic has performed best for you, and find a way to make it 10 times better.
4. MILLIONS OF MINDLESS BACK-LINKS
To be great at SEO, you need inbound links. But to get inbound links, you need other sites to link to you. That doesn’t give you much control. Oh, I know! I’ll create my own little websites — many marketers have come to refer to these as ‘microsites’ — and link to my domain from those!
STOP THIS NOW!
First of all, maintaining a bunch of websites takes a ridiculous amount of time and money.
I mean, where are you getting all the content to keep them going?
Plus, for your inbound links to mean anything, they need to be coming from a wide variety of high quality sites. Unless you plan on creating hundreds of microsites that have a ton of clout with the SERPs, this strategy is a waste of your time.
START FOCUSING ON: Attracting organic inbound links. Work on creating content and marketing people love. Do that, and you’ll see the right kind of linking — the inbound kind.
We’re the last ones to say you shouldn’t be reporting on your marketing, but with the Big Data explosion has also come a whole lot of time wasted interpreting numbers and analytics that don’t really mean anything for you right now.
It’s easy to spend an entire day just diving into, say, conversion reports, but what is all that information getting you? A lot of spreadsheets and numbers does not make an effective digital marketing strategy.
Figure out exactly what numbers you need to know for your business’ marketing, and do deeper dives into specific metrics as needed. It’s a better use of your time, and frankly, provides more actionable advice than running hours of reports at the end of each month that you never use.
START FOCUSING ON: The metrics you need to succeed. Analyse where your business has performed well, and where it has potential. Start focusing on these areas.
6. PRESS RELEASES
The thinking behind the millions of press releases businesses produce each year is that they’ll get placed on an external site when picked up, and the coverage will come with an inbound link.
Also, you know, getting press coverage….
Unfortunately, almost all of the press releases getting churned out of marketing departments is not landing any actual press coverage. And the releases that are picked up? Those aren’t exactly valuable inbound links when they’re getting funnelled out to low-quality sites.
STOP trying to weave an amazing story out of something relatively unamazing just so you have PR fodder. It’ll just make journalists get really used to ignoring you, and your writing time is better spent on other types of content — like blog posts, for instance — that attract qualified readers and quality links.
START FOCUSING ON: Writing other types of content — like blog posts — that attract qualified readers and quality links.
7. UNTARGETED PAID MEDIA SPEND
2016 saw a ton of advancements in paid advertising targeting options. For instance, did you know…
- Twitter paid advertising now allows marketers to target their audience by interest or username?
- Facebook paid advertising now lets you clone your audience, target your competitions audience and segment your audience by desktop or mobile?
If you’re investing in PPC in any capacity and using targeting like this, congratulations, you’re doing it right.
If, however, you’re dumping money into completely untargeted PPC, it’s kind of like emailing your entire contacts database without doing any segmentation.
Turn off your paid media spend that isn’t leveraging targeting and retargeting functionality, otherwise you’re throwing your marketing budget right out the window.
START FOCUSING ON: Targeting your PPC campaigns to people you want to reach. Even if that overall volume is lower, the conversion will be higher.
8. THE MOBILE APP YOU’RE DEVELOPING
You unequivocally should be investing in mobile marketing.
Investing in mobile application development, however, is a distraction and resource sap for most marketers and business’.
There are well over one million mobile apps on the market, and they’re being released at rapidly increasing rates — not to mention 25% of apps are downloaded only once, and never used again after their initial download.
With a cluttered market and stickiness challenge, unless your mobile app is going to drive some serious results for your business, reroute your efforts to something that will give you a bigger bang for your buck.
START FOCUSING ON: Optimising your entire web presence for mobile. The negative impact from having an unfriendly mobile presence will be far greater than the success of a mobile app.
9. UNNECESSARY WEBSITE REDESIGN
Full-fledged website redesigns start out sounding like a great idea, and end up being a massive headache — typically pulling in more people than you thought would be involved, spending more money than you budgeted, and often adversely impacting conversion rates.
It’s not that you positively do not need a website redesign in 2017 — you very well may — but before you overhaul what you’ve got, ask yourself if you can work in smaller chunks.
Consider a series of A/B tests in which you incrementally improve upon parts of your website, and apply your learning on a wider scale once they’re statistically significant. And if you do learn that a bigger redesign is needed, assess whether you have the in-house resources required to pull it off without derailing all your other initiatives.
If you don’t, for your sake and your marketing’s, outsource it to a vetted digital marketing professional.
START FOCUSING ON: A/B testing various components of your website to discover what smaller changes you can make to have a large impact on conversion.
10. SOCIAL MEDIA CHANNELS NO ONE USES
Do you remember around 2007 when a small handful of marketers started using social media as a marketing channel?
And do you remember how almost everyone in the industry thought it was either…
- Ridiculous, or
- Not applicable to their niche business or industry?
Fast forward to today, and most marketers and business owners are really scared of being the equivalent of the one who said, “Facebook is dumb” back in 2007.
As a result, there’s a whole lot of time wasted on social networks that, frankly, don’t really work for you or your business but you keep using them out of fear of getting left behind. If the social networks you’re using aren’t working, now is the time to stop using them.
For example, if you gave Pinterest the old college try, and it simply is not driving any meaningful business results for you, let it go.
Just make sure you’re making your decision based on analytics, not gut feelings.
START FOCUSING ON: Optimising the social media channels that are driving success for your business. It’s okay to admit that a particular network doesn’t work for you.
There’s no time like the present to take a look at your marketing activities and figure out what’s working, and what isn’t.
If you’re setting aggressive marketing goals for yourself, cutting some of the time-wasters and ineffective tactics I’ve mentioned will give you the bandwidth you need to pursue those new strategies.
Whatever it is you’re resolving to do with your digital marketing strategy this year, make sure you resolve one extra thing:
To constantly evaluate whether your activities are moving the needle.
It’s always a good idea to experiment with something new — as long as you know when to say “when” with the latest and greatest. This kind of self-analysis will keep you running an agile, up-to-date, and efficient digital marketing machine!
Now, you may be wondering about how to fine tune your digital marketing strategy for your business; so that it will increase your traffic and conversions with the smarter use of social media, SEO and paid online advertising?
Or maybe you’re just curious about how a digital marketing strategy and plan could help your organization reach its marketing goals?
Written by: Sean Jacobs
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