This is a guest contribution from Andy Nathan.
I’m sure you want me to rag on you and tell you exactly what you did wrong, right?
After all, you just spent your day working yourself to the bone to get ahead. Who wants someone to spit in their face and tell them how it all sucks?
So, if this is too brutal for you then good luck! This is only for those who want to improve.
Why? Because in this article we review a number of the strategies that small business owners use to really suck the life out of their marketing.
5 Reasons Why Your Digital Marketing Sucks
1. Used napkins are not great business plans
Most entrepreneurs pride themselves on their gritty determination to be the best. They want everyone to think they just made it up as they go along. Then, all of a sudden, everyone will flock to them as they realize their genius.
However, it is time that you ditch the napkin approach to planning your digital marketing. Real businesses have real marketing plans that guide them over the course of a week, month, year, and longer.
That is why it is a bit disturbing how Smart Insights reported that 50% of businesses do not have a digital marketing plan. It is a mess waiting to happen.
Toss the napkin in the garbage and learn how to create a simple digital marketing plan that works!
Any business needs the following things to create a solid digital marketing strategy plan:
- Objective – What do you want to achieve using digital marketing?
- Target Market – Who do you to buy your services? (If your answer is everyone, it is time to freshen up your resume.)
- Budget – How much can you invest? (Hint: The answer is not zero.)
- Resources – Who will run the campaign? What marketing intangibles can you use? How much time is needed each day/week/month?
- Timeline – Speaking of time, what is the prep time to start marketing your business? How far in advance will you prepare your marketing campaigns? What does your promotions schedule look like for the year?
- Platform – Which digital marketing platform(s) do you plan on using?
- Data – Big data is a huge component of digital marketing today. Therefore, you need to know how you will track and test what works best for your audience.
2. Too professional
In today’s tech-friendly world, everyone wants to be professional. The problem is that when people pretend to be professional they sound like they have a stick up their… butt. Is it okay to say butt? Or is that not professional enough?
I’m definitely not saying that you should be rude and insensitive to your clients. However, our business culture has this weird thing about being professional. We do it to the point where we almost forget that we are human.
The problem is that marketing your business requires you to bring out your humanity to connect and engage with people online.
Make sure your digital marketing is human!
Give your digital marketing some pizazz! If you are going to write, then you need to write like you talk. Otherwise, you’ll have a big problem when you finally get your appointment with your prospective client. They are expecting one person, and find out you are not the professional person you believe yourself to be.
For example, whenever possible I like to use the word plethora in my articles. It is a funny word with a plethora of different uses.
Plus, it gets away from the ‘writing for 5 year olds’ professional philosophy marketers are taught to use on most blog posts.
By using a word that educates the user, as well as one that is different, it makes the writing a little bit livelier.
3. Your fat gut is not always right
Look, I don’t want to turn the world into number-crunching automatons. However, data is a vital component of your digital marketing strategy. Therefore, if you are not analyzing what you do then you cannot improve your business.
Since 63% of companies have stated that they do not have a system in place to crunch the numbers on their digital marketing, it is about time you got some type of system in place.
Analyze all your data
How do you fix a business that just relies upon their often-wrong gut?
Well, the good news is that the revolution in big data is making it easier than ever to get precise information for your digital marketing.
The best tools help you understand your target market, so you can make smarter decisions. Here are a few of the tools you can use to analyze your business:
- Google Analytics
- Facebook Insights
- CRM (Salesforce, Zoho, etc.)
- Email Automation (Infusionsoft, MailChimp, etc.)
- Ad Tracking Tools
All of these tools work on the cloud and give your business access to information like never before.
4. Stop going on vacation
At the beginning of the dotcom era, something really bad happened. The first digital marketers made money.
Well, that was not the bad part. The bad part was that they told everyone else how easy it was to make money online.
Ever since then, the number of get-rich-quick schemes has steadily grown.
Be prepared to keep on keeping on!
The truth is that digital marketing is hard work. If you think you are going to get rich sitting on a beach drinking pina coladas, then please let me do the favor of digitally slapping you in the face.
That is not how the internet works. Yes, the aberrant case will always happen that disproves this rule. Yet, the vast majority of marketers need to work hard. The coconut-swilling internet marketer high on life in a Bali retreat is more myth than truth.
Success happens when you put aside your immediate needs to keep working for your long-term goals.
5. You are yelling at your customers to buy from you
I know a great guy who gets in his own way. Without going into specifics, he has this habit of spamming everyone he knows about his products.
It seems like a desperate yell for attention.
Every digital marketer has to sell their wares online. That is not in dispute. Those holier-than-thou people who get offended when you charge for your time and effort are not your ideal clients.
However, there is a better way!
Become a trusted resource and guide.
By spending your time educating your target market on your business and adding value to the conversation, you can reach more people and turn a hard cold call into a warm lead.
That is why so many marketers have now turned from strictly cold calling to inbound marketing.
It works! When you present yourself as a true resource, people want to learn more about how you can help them.
Sometimes, being harsh is what you need to move forward with your digital marketing. If you think that your digital marketing sucks, then this is your opportunity to turn it around.
By understanding some of the digital marketing strategies that just plain suck, you can improve your digital marketing tremendously.
To help you, feel free to get our Digital Marketing checklist, so you can go from Sucks to Bucks!
Andy Nathan is the founder of digital marketing agency Smart At The Start. Over the course of the past 6 years, he has helped hundreds of entrepreneurs with their digital marketing efforts.