When it comes to dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing, what do you think makes the dif­fer­ence — is it savvy con­tent or time­ly social media cam­paigns? On the out­side look­ing in, it could appear this way, but that is a fan­ta­sy keep­ing you from under­stand­ing what is real­ly going on.

You must dig deep to fig­ure out what makes dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing effec­tive. You also need to avoid the pit­falls that can hurt your agency-client rela­tion­ship. Here’s a deep­er look at the indus­try and how the same old mis­takes can trip up your mar­ket­ing strat­e­gy.

Part 1: Is Digital Marketing Really The New Wild West?

Many peo­ple have said that “dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing is like the Wild West,” but that com­par­i­son is wild­ly fan­ci­ful. We gloss over the truth of this era. We focus on the excite­ment of gun­fights and law­less bor­der towns, but these events did not encap­su­late every­day life dur­ing this time. The Wild West was a time of great eco­nom­ic, cul­tur­al and lit­er­al expan­sion. Only a great deal of logis­ti­cal plan­ning and inno­va­tion made this pos­si­ble. Take, for exam­ple, cat­tle dri­ves, the Pony Express and the inven­tion of the steam engine. The roman­ti­cism around this peri­od makes us for­get about these improve­ments to the qual­i­ty of life.

When com­par­ing dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing to the Wild West, we do the same thing. We reduce the indus­try to its roman­tic ele­ments, los­ing sight of what is going on. We see viral suc­cess­es, can­cel cul­ture shut­downs and the rise of bil­lion-dol­lar ins­ta-com­pa­nies. These are the romances of our indus­try. They keep us from notic­ing the foun­da­tions that made those events pos­si­ble.

Experts world­wide exam­ine web­site traf­fic, search engine results and social media impres­sions. They want to know how search algo­rithms work. They apply their gath­ered knowl­edge to their Mar­ket­ing Operan­di. This is the real work that builds the “Wild West” of dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing.

Part 2: Digital Marketing Mistakes

Now that we under­stand what counts in dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing, let’s look at the mis­takes that can ruin dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing. We’ll use data our com­pa­ny gath­ered based on a recent expe­ri­ence.

Dur­ing Q1, our agency noticed that despite nom­i­nal blog traf­fic, bounce rates and exit rates were up. Peo­ple were read­ing the blogs we wrote for clients’ sites but not stick­ing around. This prob­lem con­tin­ued despite efforts to write more engag­ing blogs.

The Wastes Of Inflexibility

If a dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing com­pa­ny makes the mis­take of being inflex­i­ble, it will waste time and mon­ey chas­ing its tail. When deal­ing with a chal­lenge like our blog con­ver­sion issue, it’s impor­tant to dynam­i­cal­ly approach the prob­lem.

In this instance, we piv­ot­ed away from writ­ing blogs. We reduced the num­ber of blogs while still pro­vid­ing qual­i­ty mate­r­i­al. This saved our SEO strate­gists pre­cious time that they real­lo­cat­ed toward solv­ing the issue.

We focused on improv­ing our clients’ social media pres­ence and strength­en­ing the qual­i­ty of on-site con­tent. Shift­ing our focus allowed us to pro­vide results for our clients while fig­ur­ing out the prob­lem.

Recent­ly, we reex­am­ined the issue and dis­cov­ered an inter­est­ing change. Though bounce rates were still high, exit rates had reduced by 30% to 40%. This could mean that read­ers were now com­ing to our clients’ blogs through oth­er areas of their sites.

This new trend could indi­cate that our efforts to improve on-site con­tent worked. How­ev­er, only fur­ther exam­i­na­tion will reveal the truth of these fig­ures.

Part 3: Did You Tell The Client What You Are Doing?

Did You Tell The Client What You Are Doing

Being dynam­ic in your mar­ket­ing strate­gies can present its own dif­fi­cul­ties. Before reduc­ing our clients’ blogs, we need­ed to con­tact them. Clients need­ed to know we were reduc­ing their blogs and why. We relied on com­mu­ni­cat­ing our col­lect­ed data to our clients.

With­out reach­ing out to clients, you risk alien­at­ing them. This sit­u­a­tion could have led to dis­putes and accu­sa­tions of under­per­for­mance. Keep­ing an open com­mu­ni­ca­tion chan­nel pre­vents this.

When Clients Make Digital Marketing Mistakes

Now we must exam­ine the oth­er side of this sit­u­a­tion. Com­pa­nies that hire dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing agen­cies can sab­o­tage them­selves with the same mis­takes mar­keters make. Again, we will use the blog sit­u­a­tion to exam­ine this prob­lem.

Mar­ket­ing should be a fac­tor in every busi­ness plan, but the indus­try is flu­id. So, your mar­ket­ing plan must be flex­i­ble. When pre­sent­ed with poor blog turnover, some clients dou­bled down. They want­ed to con­tin­ue receiv­ing blogs at the same rate. They were inflex­i­ble with their mar­ket­ing strat­e­gy and even­tu­al­ly suf­fered for this.

Clients who failed to heed our warn­ings lost web­site rank­ing. These clients were fur­ther flus­tered by a decrease in phone calls. Pan­icked, they demand­ed results on their dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing cam­paign. By this time, trends had changed.

Now, reduc­ing the num­ber of blogs writ­ten made lit­tle sense. These clients were now behind the trend. To reverse it, they need­ed a new, poten­tial­ly cost­ly strat­e­gy.

After our com­pa­ny explained how far behind the trend they were, these clients start­ed ask­ing the right ques­tions. How­ev­er, it was only after los­ing momen­tum in their dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing that they dis­cov­ered their mis­take.

In some instances, clients were will­ing to change their mar­ket­ing plans for bet­ter results but failed to reply to mes­sages about these changes. Delayed client approvals ham­string dig­i­tal mar­keters. Clients must keep their chan­nels of com­mu­ni­ca­tion flow­ing, too.

In the end, a fail­ure to give and take when it comes to your dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing is what sinks the ship. Agen­cies and clients must strive to under­stand each oth­er and accept crit­i­cal advice. Oth­er­wise, lack of com­mu­ni­ca­tion and fail­ure to under­stand what goes on behind the scenes will doom dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing cam­paigns.

SOURCE: Forbes