We’ve all heard it: “If we only start saying this on social media, then they’ll start paying attention.” or, “If we have a better website, that’ll take our initiatives to the next level.” or, my personal favorite, “Let’s just write more blogs. Blogs. Yeah, that’s it.”
Ah. The ideas we hear in the business world about how to be a “successful marketer” - all of which are typically defended by… non-marketers.
No matter your business type, B2C or B2B, everyone seems to have an opinion about what works and what doesn’t in digital marketing. I mean, have you been on LinkedIn lately? Everyone’s an “expert” - even if they’ve only been out of high school for a few years. Maybe the airbrushed headshots and quoting yourself have something to do with it? Not sure, but I digress....
The sad point here is that there are so many REAL entrepreneurs, business owners and executives who truly want to know more about how to be successful in digital marketing. However, I’ve found that most find themselves holding on to ideas that are more myth-based than fact-based about how to get there.
It’s really been on my mind lately to address the common myths that one typically hears about how to be successful in digital marketing. Not only would l like to address these myths, but I’d also like to provide a few real solutions for you as well to help get you on the right track.
Myth #1: Make more content
I think I just stepped on a few marketing guru toes here with this one.
I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase, “Content is King”, and I’d like to debate that for just a moment. As a consultant, I’ve had the pleasure of working with masters of content and some pretty intense SEO advocates. All of whom are right in the statement when they say that “Content is King”.
The issue here is when they say it, what they don’t mean is that more content is what you need. Content is only King if it has a real audience, is in a language that people actually speak (meaning casual, not robotic), and is able to be easily found. Which means that your content has to have intent and strategy.
When you’re writing content, make sure that you’re asking yourself these questions:
- Why are you writing it? Literally ask yourself where the idea came from and ask yourself if it’s relevant to your business.
- What do you plan to accomplish from publishing it? Define your goal. Is it to inform your prospect or get them to purchase a product? What part of the marketing journey does it apply to?
- Where will you distribute it and how? Outline your plan for how you’ll push the content out to the masses. Will you be creating a backlinking strategy? What social channels will it be pushed out to and how much ad spend will you designate to further its reach?
- How will it help or inform the reader/viewer? This is the big one. Will your ideal customer even care about what you have to say? What is the value to them?
- What is the overall value to both the company and the reader/viewer? By spending time, manpower and the cost to produce the content - will it be worth it to your organization in the long run, as well as the reader’s time?
Making more content that fails to answer these questions is a moot point and won’t help you be successful in digital marketing, so stop writing right now if you’re not doing this. You’ll simply be just another organization that clutters the internet with more useless information that people are tired of trying to wade through and will hurt your brand image and credibility. Your company is better off having a dozen solid pieces of content that can answer these questions than a hundred meaningless pieces that can’t.
Myth #2: Be on every social media network
I’ve heard this so many times.
“But, Beth, we HAVE to be on Twitter. LinkedIn. Insta. TikTok. Meta. Pinterest. Reddit. Snapchat. YouTube. Tumblr. Flickr. Yelp. Nextdoor. Quora… *hits the breaks*... But wait a second, what about that social media management platform? We have to have one of those too… or maybe three… right?”
If that’s you - stop right there. Hold it. Don’t make one more account with a synced login to your Gmail or LastPass entry.
You need to understand that it’s a total myth that businesses should be on as many social networks as possible - specifically for two reasons.
The first reason is that your job, as a marketer or business leader, is to find YOUR ideal customer. That means that if your ideal customer was a child between the ages of 13 and 17 located in the United States who likes brand name shoes - having a presence on LinkedIn will NOT help you, but TikTok might.
In the same way, if you’re a B2B SaaS company that’s interested in driving brand awareness for their newly launched enterprise security product - having a presence on TikTok won’t help you, but LinkedIn and Twitter definitely would.
You have to think of social media as the virtual water cooler of today. Where does your ideal customer spend their time, how long are they there and what do they do when they get there?
Put yourself in the shoes of your ideal customer and try to figure out how to put your product or service in their digital path. Your ideal customer is NOT on every social media platform - so it’s your job to figure out where they are and invest only in those channels.
The second reason is that it’s impossible to do everything well. Unless you’re a massive enterprise, you can’t manage all social media channels well and give them the attention they need to be fruitful.
Why try to stay on 14 channels with a half-baked message and zero consistency, when you could create 3 fully-baked, healthy channels and be a constant presence?
Also, if you’re a small business owner - stop stressing yourself out! Keep your focus small and intentional and let your success expand over time.
Myth #3: Just hire a vendor for it
I’ve known businesses that have employed vendors for each literal marketing activity they do. They have vendors for videography, social media, social media influencer management, content writing, content management, website development and maintenance, website hosting… the list goes on.
Vendors are great, don’t get me wrong. They have a purpose and that’s to help you pick up the slack and get to market as quickly and in the most professional way possible. What vendors are NOT is a permanent solution to your marketing efforts OR the final decision makers in your marketing objectives.
Too often, businesses put their trust in vendors who charge insane amounts of money to “manage their marketing” for them. This is a dangerous thing to do as a company for several reasons, but I’ll provide you with two.
The first reason is that you are one of many clients that a vendor has. This means that your goals are not theirs and your objectives are simply bullet points on the list of their project manager’s to-do list to get done by the deadlines you’ve set. Quality, brand-message, image, and consistency are NOT their primary focus - those should be YOURS.
Anytime you work with a vendor, you’re a number, not a name - so make sure that your vendors work with you, not for you, otherwise you’ll lose your branding and messaging consistency.
The second reason is that vendors are not a long term investment - they’re a long term cost. Unlike having a consultant come in to help you hire and build a marketing team, hiring a vendor to do the marketing work for you in a temporary output.
Once you decide that you don’t want to work with your vendor anymore, for any reason, they pack their bags and are gone - leaving you completely in the dark about how they did what they did and zero direction on what to do next.
So, What's The Answer?
The value in hiring someone to help you build a team is that team is yours and yours alone. Their only focus is your brand. Their only job is to work on your initiatives. Their only intention is to get results. They have no other professional distractions.
And the consultant that helped you build your team? They’re a temporary investment in helping you yield a greater ROI for your business. Any consultant that sticks around after you’ve accomplished your goals is a leech and should be removed (with fire if needed) immediately.
There are so many more marketing myths out there and maybe I’ll dig up a few more in the coming days to chat through here on our blog.
But, if you have any questions, I’d love to speak with you further and even connect on LinkedIn if you’d like. We're always available to help you and provide you with education-rich information and direction to support your organizational goals.
So, until next time - make it a great week.