Diving in With Confidence

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You've waited and waited to embrace social media, digital advertising, email marketing, PPC, SEO, BR, CMS and a thousand other modern marketing strategies but now your ready!

So where do you start? What are worthy investments and what are wastes of money? Here are five simple thoughts to help you in formulating a plan:

1. You MUST gain a basic understanding.
The perfect agency may come along and you may have all the money in the world but if you yourself as the owner or manager don't have a basic understanding of digital marketing, how to measure success, and how it's suppose to work you are setting yourself up for certain failure. This is not to say you have to know every nuance of the process but you should certainly have a grasp on how to read an analytics report and ensure that online results are meeting offline aspirations.

2. Source the mundane. Keep the exciting!
Most people aren't waking up every morning thinking about their digital strategy and what four or five pieces of content they want to share with their audience on any given day. Usually you think of posting when something exciting happens. Sourcing your day-to-day online activity to either an employee of your company or an agency ensures that when the amazing does happen and your ready to share that your audience is engaged and ready.

3. Do as much as you possibly can.
The goal in all marketing is to remove pain points for our potential customers. From a digital marketing standpoint that means we should be paying attention to every single place our consumers are active. Think about it this way, if you spend $350,000 next year you could do one of a few things. 1) You could purchase airtime for ONE 30-second commercial during "The Big Bang Theory" on CBS. This does not include the production of the commercial, just the airtime. 2) You could purchase 2 or 3 ads in Vogue. Again, this does not include the creative, only the ad. 3) You could hire a team of 3-4 people to create content for Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, LinkedIn, Snapchat, Medium, Blip Billboards, Google Ads, a blog, a podcast and a thousand other channels and still have enough money left for an ad budget to magnify your message. If you can't afford a person or a team then, like several of the companies I work with, then do as much as you can on as many platforms as you can!

4. Be patient!
In digital marketing the goal is two-fold, patient momentum and impatient virality. We are trying to create enough great content to keep our audience engaged for the long-term while at the same time looking to make something that catches fire immediately and enters to stream of popular culture. Both of these require an incredible amount of patience. Your moment might be today, might be next week, might be next year, but you have to wait for it! Think of the alternative. In "the old days" (aka, the 90's) you would create one commercial, pay an incredible amount of money to have it aired, then pray that it resonated with the audience. Today you can create 100 commercials, put them on Facebook or Instagram, get detailed analytics as to who it did or did not resonate with, tweak the creative and try again without it costing you a dime. It just requires the patience to learn your audience and the humility to let them tell you when you're wrong.

5. Track the results.
I've eluded to this several times but tracking results is a newer concept if your unfamiliar with digital marketing. When I first started we would create an ad for the local paper and they would give us an arbitrary circulation number and how much we would pay for the ad. We would give them the creative and the money then be so excited to see our company or event in print. There was no tracking, no CPM, no KPI, No impressions, no actions, no segmentation, nothing! Today we can know exactly who saw our ads, how they interacted with them, what device they saw it on, if they converted to a sale, and so much more. Getting familiar with your digital analytics isn't an option, it's a necessity! 

In short, you have to taste a little bit of everything to know what is going to be right for your particular situation. You may need to spend a little money to get more educated or bring people on board to help. Whatever you do, don't make the mistake of ignoring digital marketing, social networks, and current advertising. Once upon a time people who advertised with posters looked down on radio ads, then radio ads looked down on TV ads and someday something else will look down on social media ads...but this is not that day.

Brandon McCurdy