"Are you for real? So many articles written praising digital marketing and now you come and tell us it's not quite like that after all? You've got some nerve...!" Yeah, well, sorry, but we thought it was time to call a spade a spade...
But calm down, what we said was not that digital marketing is worthless, on the contrary; what we say is that it is not a miracle solution, like a golden pill that you take and overnight saves any business or company, putting it at the top of the ladder to success and with profits stretching as far as the eye can see.
Obviously, digital marketing is a very powerful tool when it comes to growing a business and its sales. But let's be clear: posting and advertising on social media, investing a few pennies in Google Ads, and adding keywords, titles and descriptions to every page of your website (yes, all of them part of the digital marketing ‘process’) will not, per se, translate into an exponential development of your business, nor a massive increase in your sales, bookings, hires, whatever.
And before we go any further, there is also another issue that should be crystal clear (and believe us when we say that unfortunately it is still not so for most entrepreneurs or small business owners) – your company's digital marketing efforts (whether done in-house or outsourced) end when the leads are placed into your sales funnel. From there on, it's up to you (i.e., to your website, to your landing page, to your sales team).
If you really understand what we mean with the previous sentence, you probably don't even need to read the rest of this article, because you already know where we’re getting at, right? The thing is, you can have the best product or service in the world and hundreds of leads coming in every day, but if whatever actually makes your sale happen isn't effective, well, it simply won’t work! Hence our initial statement that digital marketing doesn't work miracles. Let me give you some practical examples, to make this easier to understand.
Imagine you sell product X and you are doing Google Ads for it. Is the landing page, that the person viewing and clicking your ad is directed to, optimised for online advertising? Or in other words, if we click on your ad because your text (and/ or image if we're talking about Display campaigns) convinced us, does the page we end up at have what the ad (that convinced us) promised? Or, does it send us to a page with all your other products (which, remember, are not the ones we want, nor the ones we were looking for) where you expect ‘little ol’ us’ to have the trouble of finding again what we had already found before (and have now lost!) when we clicked on your advert? Or, even worse, if we click on the ad, will it send us to your website’s homepage, "just so you can realise all that I actually sell" (and that, quite frankly doesn't interest us at all, because we want product X, and not product Y, Z or H) and buy instead of one, some three or four different products? Or, God help us, is the place we end up at when we click your ad not even in the language it was written in (ours) because the website only features one language (yours) "and these days everyone knows they can go to Google Translate anyway"? Needless to say, you should prepare yourself for a high bounce rate in your campaigns and a low conversion and sales rate...
Or maybe, you don't like Google Ads but social media don't intimidate you. And, after all, "anyone can do a Facebook Ads website traffic campaign!". But what about your website (which will now receive hundreds of users!) is it ready to sell? Is it user-friendly? Is the path (or sales process) easy and intuitive, or does the user need a map and GPS directions to get where they want to go (which really should also be where you want them to go)? Please memorise this once and for all – a bad website doesn’t sell a good product well, no matter how wonderful and amazing it is, whereas a good website can sell even the crappiest of products.
OK, now imagine that you have a business where you sell adventure/ activity packages (it can be hiking, or yoga retreats, or historical/cultural tours, etc, etc) that can even be booked with accommodation, if the user so wishes. As you work for a specific market niche (the hikers, the ‘zen people’, the ‘intellectuals’, etc, etc), you can't just put it on Airbnb or Booking and let these platforms ‘do the work for you’. And since you are a rather dynamic and proactive person, you've created a website on Wix or Wordpress. You've read a few things and you know that online advertising is the way forward, so let’s go. You've even hired a professional because you're aware of your limitations, and you'd rather have someone who ‘knows their stuff’ take care of it. Great, it looks like you're doing everything right! Now you just need to wait and the bookings will start rolling in (and secretly, as you've hired specialised help, you even think you'll have to deal with overbooking issues quicker than you initially thought!). But the weeks go by and the bookings fall way short of what you hoped for...
We will not go back to the website conversation, as we think it is already clear (given all we said before) that it has to be user-friendly, and that the booking process has to be simple and immediate (you obviously haven’t fallen into the trap of making your potential customers fill in a contact form with 30 mandatory fields just to find out if the dates they want are available, or is this what the expert you hired keeps telling you that you need to change?). But let us ask you this – have you created a business profile on Google My Business? And if so, do you have ratings, comments or reviews there (preferably positive ones!)? Do you have good photos, ideally taken and treated by a professional, both on the website and on your Google My Business profile, or did you do it with your iPhone because "it has a great camera, right?!"? No? Then answer us this – when you are looking for a ‘simple accommodation’ for your own holidays on one of those mainstream platforms we talked about earlier, would you book a place that has only one or two photos – with poor light and dubious air? No? And what about a place that has no ratings, comments or reviews? No again? Well, neither would we! But that's exactly what you're asking your potential clients to do. "Ah, but I've had just a few clients so far and they haven't left me any of those things...". Did you ask them? Did you send them a nice email after they’ve left, thanking them and featuring the direct link to the place where they can, straight away, leave their feedback (i.e., rating, review or comment) on their experience with you? Let us guess, the professional you hired to handle your advertising had already told you this and requested the same thing, right?
And to finish it off, let's finally imagine that your website is good; the landing pages for your ads (both on Google and on social media) are appropriate for what you want to sell and optimised for advertising; as in the previous example you have even hired an agency to handle your digital marketing but, given the nature of your products (or services), they cannot be bought directly online. You get plenty of leads and the agency you hired sends you regular performance reports on your campaigns with some amazing numbers. But, once again, the sales are not that great... maybe I would even go as far as to say they barely justify the investment you’re making? OK, just one question then – do you follow up on all the leads you receive? Do you keep offline the promises you make in your online ads (discounts, offers, extras, etc)? What about your sales team, how is it?
Remember what we told you at the very beginning? This is the harsh reality you have to get used to, whether you like it or not: the job of people like us (meaning digital marketers, not those who think they can write a few things and that they're funny!) ends when we put leads into your sales funnel. From there on, it's up to you – you have to close the sale.
So, to recap, because this article is already way too long: digital marketing, yes; done by someone who knows what they’re doing, (double!) yes; miracles, no; will it help, almost always!
For more information, bespoke strategies and efficient digital marketing solutions, just contact the Clarity’s girls through email@example.com or visit our website at yourdigitalclarity.com.