Digital marketing has always been plagued by rumors and myths about what works and what doesn’t. While some elements of digital marketing will never change, certain expectations and tactics that were once popular no longer hold merit. Activities come in and out of style, effectiveness, and budget appropriateness, and as they do, myths are built and confusion abounds regarding which strategies businesses should adopt.
In reality, there are several different strands of digital marketing. In order to maximize your output and engagement, equal care and attention must be given to each strand. And with a wide array of approaches and strategies available to implement, no two brands will use exactly the same combination of tactics. Below, we cover some of the most common digital marketing myths out there.
Content Marketing is the Only Thing
While content marketing is a cornerstone of any digital marketing strategy, its significance has taken on a mythical quality. Too many people hold an overly-simplified understanding of what content marketing is and how it can operate within a strategy. Instead of simply thinking, “create more content,” a better approach is to think about content as the core and digital marketing techniques as the support and channels of amplification needed to distribute the content. Content marketing is important, but it needs to be supported by other marketing channels to achieve its full effect.
Content Needs to go Viral
For content to go viral should never be your main goal. Of course, it’s fabulous to see a piece of your content gain popularity beyond your basic expectations but the reason behind the content should be much stronger than popularity and supported by other brand initiatives and goals. Establish clear metrics and goals for your marketing campaign that are in line with your mission and unique business goals. Continuously measure the performance of your content and do a quiet celebration if a piece of your content happens to go viral.
We are sometimes led to believe that we have to generate copious amounts of content at any cost. And with the advent of new channels like social media stories and live streaming, it is easy to stretch your writing team thin by attempting to maintain a presence everywhere. A better strategy is to establish a select number of channels frequented by your target audience and to create high-quality content for those channels. Not to say you can’t maintain a whimsical presence on Instagram to share your brand’s personality, but that content should take a back seat if it isn’t the right place to meet your existing and prospective clients.
Email is a Lost Cause
Bottom line, email marketing is cost-effective and relatively easy to create and push out. Open rates have remained fairly steady and automation options are allowing brands to better segment their messaging to offer relevant and value-added content to each unique group within their target audience. Email marketing is also an effective way to lead score and remarket to your customers.
Retargeting Annoys People
We’ll acknowledge that there is a certain creep factor built into retargeting campaigns when consumers start to see Facebook ads for products they’ve researched on Google. That being said, consumers respond positively to well-executed retargeting campaigns. The key is to cap the number of impressions, host a super user-friendly website, and always offer an opt-out feature.
SEO is Dead
Not dead – changing. A large majority of online purchasing decisions continue to involve searches. As such, brands that invest in organic search engine optimization continue to see a strong return on their investment. The addition of search resources like Amazon, Facebook, and AI home assistants to more traditional search engines like Google and Bing has changed the landscape of search. We’ve moved from a focus on keywords and backlinks to a focus on creating unique and valuable content that is properly optimized to allow search engine bots to crawl and correctly interpret the content.
You Don’t Need to be On Social
The only brands that should NOT be on social media are those involved in sensitive areas and those that are prohibited by law. The best rule of thumb is to maintain a presence on as many social media platforms as your team can efficiently handle. If you ignore platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram you will miss out on vast opportunities for engagement and growth. Understand the social channels used by your target audience and meet them there. Establish strategies specific to each channel and allow your content team the flexibility it needs to evolve as the platforms change and update their algorithms.
Bad Reviews Are Bad for Business
Most people can detect irrational negative reviews in a heartbeat so don’t stress over the lunatics that come out of the woodwork from time to time. You may love the idea of having nothing but fabulous and five-star reviews but there are others who will assume you’ve “fixed” things somehow if there doesn’t seem to be room for improvement.
The way in which you respond to negative reviews and, truly, all reviews, is just as important as the consumer content. Have a system in place that ensures your brand replies to any comment or review quickly. If you receive a negative review, reach out with an invitation to private message or email in more detail the consumer’s concern. Emotional responses are unprofessional as is the practice of ignoring negative reviews. Do what you can to resolve the situation. Show your brand as rational and helpful. Then move on.
Post Your Content Everywhere
Resist the urge to share a single piece of content on every channel in existence. There are times when content can be cross-promoted but something that is wildly popular on Pinterest may not receive the same response on LinkedIn. The type of content you create for Instagram might also work on Facebook but may not create a terribly engaging email communication. Be sure to establish channel-specific marketing strategies that play to the strength of each channel and the interests of the target audience you have there.
Nothing will lead you to a failed digital marketing plan than the failure to understand your audience. Cater your entire digital strategy (website, content, and inbound marketing) to best meet the needs of that audience. If you want to reach for additional audiences, be strategic about your approach and understand the expectations of that different audience as you compile for them a target digital experience.
Pageviews Matter Most
Pageviews are an important metric but should not be the end all and be all of how you view the success of a piece of content on your website. Keep in mind that pageview metrics can be misleading because the upper boundary is essentially limitless. In addition to pageviews, look at on-page metrics like bounce rate, time spent on the website, and conversion rates.
You Need a Mobile App
Apps are marketing tools, not an extension of your brand and they work best when they fulfill actual needs. What value would an app bring to your customers? Could they access 24/7 customer service? Place orders or access account information? If there is no serviceable value to be offered, look somewhere other than a brand app. Only commit the resources needed to develop an app if your team can determine that you have something useful and actionable to offer via that app.
There will always exist a plethora of myths about what does and doesn’t work when it comes to digital marketing. The key is to focus on what works for your brand and fits into your mission, values, and overall business goals.
The experts at Strategy Driven Marketing are ready to help you integrate marketing strategies that let you grow your client base over time while still allowing you the flexibility you need to respond to changes in your client needs. Contact us today to learn more about the services we offer and how we can create a personalized marketing plan that works with your specific business goals and budget. Let’s get started!