Various stages of lockdown have resurfaced across the country. This has had the same effect on digital marketers like me as it did the last time: there has been a rush of firms looking to see if they can generate revenue and leads online.
Some have been doing things the same way for decades and have been forced to change, while others are more digitally savvy yet want to take things to the next level. In either case, the end result is the same: there is significantly more competition online for things like advertising, and far less awareness among this pandemic-inspired wave of enterprises about what they are buying and whether they are getting good value for their money.
You’d assume I’m pleased about this circumstance because I manage a marketing agency. I’m not lying when I say I’m not. My concern is that so many of these businesses will be burned by their experience over the next six months that it will have a long-term impact on our sector.
My goal is to inform you about what’s going on in the market and what you can do to assist get your business online and keep it running in one of the most difficult situations you’ll ever face.
The game of internet marketing has shifted.
Because there is so much more competition, getting the same results now costs more than it did this time last year, and it will cost even more in 2019. Despite the fact that the digital world is endless, there are only so many cost-effective ways to reach an audience with a commercial. That’s bad enough, but huge tech companies like Apple are making it even more difficult by changing their privacy policies.
Facebook is an excellent example of these two variables coming together to create something amazing. It used to be a mainstay of SMB marketing, but since the pandemic, the platform has become much more difficult to achieve results on for everything from plumbing to florists to professional services. It’s not just that there are now, say, five more plumbing companies in your region searching for work online; it’s also that marketers can’t target good potential consumers as readily as they used to (e.g., those who have recently used phrases like “plunger”). As a result, there is greater competition and considerably more advertisements placed in front of people who do not require a plumber at this time. There isn’t a marketing agency on the planet that hasn’t recognized this effect on their campaign results.
In a nutshell, the rules of the game have changed. Make sure to ask about this whether you’re looking for digital marketing staff, freelancers, or agency. If you’re given a case study of similar work, ask when it was completed. 2021? Great! 2019? It’s a different game altogether.
The best course of action is to refrain from making a commitment.
Don’t commit yourself into a fixed number of months of labor in advance, not just for digital marketing, but for practically any service providers right now. It’s up to the service provider to show you that they can consistently offer results month after month. There are very few reasons why a small to medium-sized firm would benefit from committing to a single provider for longer than a month.
Start by conducting your own study and asking questions.
You’ll need to know a little bit about whatever you’re trying to recruit for, despite the fact that you’re hiring specialists for a purpose (if you knew how to do it to their level, you’d do it yourself!).
But what should come first? Digital marketing is a huge industry. Look into what works when it comes to making websites convert initially if you’re beginning from scratch. If you’re wanting to grow an existing firm, a good web presence built with WordPress will go well beyond Shopify. If it’s a side venture, WordPress can be a waste of time when Shopify will suffice. Even having basic knowledge like this allows you to ask questions of individuals like me and receive useful answers that you can use to expand your knowledge base.
Not only should you learn how to do it, but you need also understand what each of the digital marketing disciplines entails. Here’s another practical example: Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the art of getting your company to appear on the first page of Google’s search results (organic search results), right below the advertisements. Given that advertising is becoming more expensive, and Google claims that their ads receive fewer clicks than organic search results, this is becoming increasingly valuable, therefore you could think to Google ‘SEO Australia’ or ‘SEO Provider’ to find someone to help you right away.
A complete newbie would now simply click on the first few advertisements they see. However, now that you understand how SEO differs from advertising, you may ignore the ads totally and focus on the first few organic search results underneath the paid ad placements. This is because if your SEO company paid to have their ads appear on the first page of a search phrase, it doesn’t mean they’ll be able to get you outstanding SEO results. The ‘proof is in the pudding’ in this market, and those who rank highly in organic search frequently know how to rank their clients well as well.
Every industry has its share of “new entrant” traps. Digital marketing is no different, and a few hours of study can save months of frustration. The world is going online, but that doesn’t mean you should hurry into things. Take your time to learn and get it properly.