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One of the most remarkable things I find about the digital marketing landscape these days is how many brands are messing it all up. Remember what businesses did to email? Well, now they are doing it to social media and digital advertising. The net result is it’s harder and harder to rise above the noise and grab your stake in the most precious metric in digital marketing, attention.
People who proclaim that they are “marketers” are filling up their digital pipelines with stuff that isn’t resonating with the public and just not moving the needle. When this happens, the easy thing for them to do is shrug their shoulders, say digital marketing sucks and move their attention and spend to other more traditional forms of media.
The issue here though is that digital marketing doesn’t suck. The results are also not the fault of the digital pipelines you are using. The pipelines are there and working just fine. The problem is that companies are putting garbage into their pipelines.
With that in mind, today I want to share my views on the landscape of digital marketing today, how companies are getting it wrong and the steps you can take to get it right and thrive in this golden age of opportunity.
Digital Marketing IS NOT Sales
This is a tough one for many brands to understand. While of course at the end of the day you want to sell a new gym membership, get someone to buy your newest line of lipstick or even pick up a new financial advising client, you have to remember that digital marketing is not sales.
Too many people out there are calling themselves marketers when in fact they’re truly salespeople. Their ad campaigns consist of posting sales brochures or creating ad copy asking people to sign up for this membership or buy that product. This does not work. It does not resonate with your potential customers and therefore they won’t engage with your marketing. Even worse, there are so many companies out there doing the same thing, they’ve likely seen this exact cookie cutter approach from 500 of your competitors that are targeting the exact same audience.
Leave the sales to your salespeople. Build your brand awareness and value and your stature as the thought leader in your industry by truly engaging on a content marketing journey that will educate and delight your best potential customers.
Is this easy? Of course not. First, you have to create client personas and really drill down to who your ideal customers are, where they are in life, what their interests are and what their pain points are. This will serve as your roadmap as you build out your content strategy and your content calendar.
The key here is you want to have your content revolve around value-added, educational content that your ideal customers are most likely to be interested in and deem valuable. It doesn’t even have to directly relate to whatever service you provide or product you sell.
Next, you have to actually put the time in to build the content on that calendar. You want to spend time and take care to make this the highest quality content you can produce. If you don’t have the bandwidth or experience to do this in-house, hire a firm to help you achieve this.
Then you have to put your content out there, promote it and religiously monitor all your social media channels. Observe who is engaging with your content and how they are doing so. When you find a type of content that resonates most with your potential ideal customers, go back to the lab, adjust your marketing calendar and repeat steps two and three.
You Have To Bring Value (Regularly)
A solid content marketing strategy has to be consistent. It’s not for the faint of heart. The more you engage with your potential ideal customers, the more they will get comfortable with you and think of you as a thought leader. The more this happens, the more likely they are to do business with you.
This is where most brands these days are totally missing the boat. In my most recent podcast, I talk about how the Internet is commoditizing everything. Brands that continue down the path of simply selling all the time through their digital marketing efforts are going to get run directly out of the conversation altogether.
The digital marketing space is noisy. In fact, it’s probably the nosiest it’s ever been and it’s only going to get worse. With all this noise, you have to elevate your brand, tell your story, become valuable to your ideal potential clients and stay at their top of mind.
Value and personalized interaction are two things that the Internet will never be able to commoditize. The sooner you take this approach the faster you will build brand equity, which in turn will result in higher sales.
Chris Leo is a Silicon Valley, CA entrepreneur, complete workaholic, top notch inbound marketer, dad to the coolest kid on the planet, type “A” personality, shameless self-promoter and never ending “connector”.
Even though he is seemingly always working, when he does take breaks, the “work hard, play hard” motto takes on a whole new meaning. Most people talk about “wanting to do things”, Chris goes out and actually does them.