It’s no secret we love our office pups. Their unique personalities and adorable faces brighten our day with each visit. But did you know we can also learn some very valuable lessons about digital marketing from them, too?
Now, I know what you’re thinking, “What a stretch… Dogs and digital marketing have nothing in common.” – right? Well, you’d be wrong! We put together a roundup of our wisest pups and share their lessons about effective digital marketing. We promise, it’s a treat!
Lesson #1: Understand Your Customer’s Journey
Winston is arguably one of the friendliest weekly visitors we have. When he comes to the office with his mom, Jenn, Winston gets treats from several VMers throughout the day.
To him, the VM staff is just a bunch of potential customers looking for his attention. He’s often seen playing fetch or sitting with (or on) various team members depending on the time of day. We (his customers) love his charisma, and Winston knows we’ll reward his behavior with lots of love and snacks. We assume Winston is just having fun, but he’s most definitely at work – catering to his own customer’s journey!
Winston teaches us a valuable lesson about digital marketing. We might think his desk visits are random, but he knows exactly what he’s doing. Each day, Winston accommodates his audience at each stage of their journey. Here’s how he does it:
- Awareness: Winston’s audience will identify their problems or questions and begin using search engines to find an answer. At this stage, they’re becoming aware of their options that solve their current challenge.
- Consideration: Winston’s customers will most likely have a clearly defined goal or challenge. They’re currently using search engines to continue their research and evaluate their options before making a buying decision.
- Decision: Winston’s customers have evaluated their options and identified his services as a viable option to solve their challenge. They’re deciding on which service to purchase and will soon convert to a paying customer (giving him a treat).
- Advocacy: Winston successfully gained a new customer by directing them through the sales funnel and becoming a trusted doggy-partner. Now it’s time for them to become an advocate for Winston and hopefully entice others to utilize his services based on their own success (and give him more treats).
The time it takes for Winston to get another treat from someone in the office varies, just like it might take your audience some time to get from the awareness stage to the advocate stage in their journey. Remember, some journeys are fast, some are slow.
Lesson #2: It’s All About User Experience (UX)
One of our newest VM canine friends is Pablo. Pablo is a handsome, 6-month old black Poodle – he’s as sweet as he is curious. Pablo doesn’t venture too much from his mom, Amanda, but when he does come for a visit, he’s full of love and knows his affection will be repaid.
Like most of our furry friends, Pablo needs clear commands. For instance, we could ask him, “Hey Pablo, would you mind terribly coming back over here and sitting down for 5 minutes please?”, but the most we’ll get in return is a puzzled look as he tilts his head to one side.
Instead, Pablo thrives from clear and concise directives: “Pablo, come.” “Pablo, sit.”
When we make it easier for him, he’s happy and eager to oblige. And just like Pablo, consumers want clear, concise directions to what they’re looking for online. If your website confuses visitors, or they can’t find what they are looking for easily or quickly enough, they will leave and find it somewhere else (most likely with your competitors). Any desired action such as subscribing to a newsletter, registering for a webinar, or even purchasing from an online store, will be lost if user experience (UX) isn’t at the forefront of every digital marketing strategy.
Pablo’s lesson is you must optimize your website and content around UX. Once you do, future marketing efforts are streamlined, improving conversion rates and maximizing your ROI. Create a clear conversion path that requires minimal effort for your prospects. Use heat mapping software to help map the conversion path and see where adjustments should be made.
Lesson #3: Slow and Steady Wins the Race
Amber and Otis are our resident seniors. They’re mature, calm and consistent, normally just going about their day, doing what dogs do best. While they may not be spunky or rambunctious, Amber and Otis are loyal, trustworthy and wonderful canine companions (thanks to Drew). We respect the journey each of them has made. The same appreciation is necessary to find true success in digital marketing.
Over the years, one point we’ve always made at Vertical Measures is that ROI from digital marketing does not happen overnight. Period.
Effective digital marketing strategies take time; in our experience, results are usually seen somewhere between 6-12 months. We promise our clients that if they trust us and just stick with it, implementing our recommendations, they’ll begin to see a very promising ROI. And our average client-results prove it:
- After 3 months, they see an average increase in organic traffic of 20%
- After 6 months, they see an average increase in organic traffic of 22%
- After 12 months, they see an average increase in organic traffic of 66%
- After 24 months, they see an average increase in organic traffic of 167%
Success in digital marketing isn’t instant, but it is intentional. Create a solid strategy and follow through. If you stick with it, you WILL see results. Otis and Amber remind us to avoid two very common mistakes with digital marketing:
- Don’t rush into it without having a well thought out strategy, and
- Don’t get impatient and frustrated.
We understand how difficult it can be to justify digital marketing budgets, especially when ROI is hard to see in the beginning. Take a lesson from our wise senior friends, Amber and Otis, and remember: Slow and steady wins the race.
Lesson #4: Be on Alert for Industry Changes
Meet Ziggy. He’s strong-spirited (like his mom, Samantha) and loves to wander around the office to find his favorite snack suppliers. He’s a little shy and still hasn’t warmed up to everyone (we’ll get him there, though).
Because of his slightly skittish nature, Ziggy is always alert and aware of his surroundings. Even when he needs a to catch a few “Zzz’s”.
Have you ever noticed a dog that was sleeping, and suddenly popped it’s head up because it heard a noise that maybe even you didn’t hear? Then, after looking around for a few seconds and seeing no present threat, the dog is satisfied and goes back to napping. That’s Ziggy.
So, what does this have to do with digital marketing?
It’s no secret that Google dominates the digital space. Like it, or not, it’s a cat and mouse game – and we aren’t the Tom Cat. Plain and simple. It’s always intimidating when we get alerts about a new algorithm change or update that might change our strategies or approach to marketing.
But these situations, believe it or not, can actually help you improve as a marketer – if you pay attention to industry changes. Stay ahead of the curve and edge out the competition by learning about these updates quickly and adapting your strategies to find continued success.
With that said, it’s always important to do your homework, first. If the industry shifts, see what others are saying and pay attention to your analytics. You may need to make some changes to your strategy, or you might have nothing to worry about after all (like Ziggy). Either way, it’s best to make an informed decision, rather than react out of panic.
Lesson #5: Create Content Your Audience is Interested In
Roxie and Jax are the adorable dachshund babies that visit us with their mom, Anna. They know the most “tricks” and are proud and eager to perform them over and over again. Roxie and Jax will sit and lay down like a lot of other dogs, but they also have a signature trick where they will roll over on to their side and play dead if they hear the specific command “Bang, bang!”
Roxie will occasionally “speak” too, but we don’t encourage that one too much around the office during meetings.
Roxie and Jax are all about performing tricks (or creating content) that their audience is directly interested in seeing, and that’s the same approach digital marketers should utilize everywhere.
If someone is looking for an answer or solution to their problem, then your brand needs to provide that information for them. You must always try to provide relevant and helpful content for your audience. A blog that is full of nothing but salesy, self-promotional content is dull and boring. If all your content does is talk about how great your business is, people won’t be able to find it organically in search, let alone stick around long enough to discover the greatness of your company.
Instead, try creating a variety of content that addresses your audience’s needs from every stage of the customer journey. It doesn’t matter what industry you’re in, if you aren’t creating content that answers common questions people are asking in Google search, you’re missing out on valuable traffic to your website.
Not only should you be trying to answer all questions and challenges for your audience, you should try to mix up the types of content you create. Blog posts are great, but what if your audience enjoys infographics and videos, too? Want to generate leads? Try eBooks, webinars, whitepapers or quizzes and ask for an email to gain access to a downloadable PDF or quiz result.
Roxie and Jax’s lesson is important: Be interesting, answer common questions and create content your audience is most interested in to catch their attention.
Lesson #6: You’ll Make Happy Accidents – and That’s Ok!
Stevie is a Goldendoodle, who looks more “Golden” than “Doodle,” and has the softest coat. She likes to snuggle and will pass out as many puppy kisses as you can handle (watch out for that puppy breath though)!
During a recent visit, Stevie had a little accident and got sick in her doggy-bed. Her mom, Shana, quickly got everything cleaned up and understood things like that are going to happen with a puppy. No harm, no foul. We move on and Stevie continues to grow.
Just like little Stevie, nothing is perfect. And you should treat your content the same way. Not every piece of content is going to be perfect. Heck, you might even have a few typos here and there – and as hard as it is to come to grips with it – that’s okay!
Perfection in digital marketing isn’t the standard. Waiting to publish until the content is deemed flawless in someone’s eyes will stall your efforts and may cause you to fail. Too often, businesses want to get their content perfect prior to publication, and this keeps them from moving forward. Stevie is not suggesting that you publish crappy content, but she is suggesting that it doesn’t have to be picture-perfect. After all, there’s never a perfect puppy in the litter, but they all have value despite small flaws.
Lesson #7: Measure and Adjust
Our last lesson, and one of those most important, comes to us from Murphy. She’s our beautiful and sassy Shiba Inu. Murphy is smart, the perfect mix of sugar and spice and extremely smart. She teaches us to measure and adjust so we can continue to improve each day.
Dogs typically have a short memory-span. To train them, you must watch them constantly so that you can respond to what they do right away, and either correct or praise them. Otherwise, they have no idea what you’re talking about. I’m sure Murphy’s dad, Blake, can attest to the hard work that went into her extremely well-mannered behavior!
Similarly, when it comes to your marketing analytics, you need to constantly measure and adjust. If you aren’t monitoring your digital marketing strategy, you’ll never know what’s working and what isn’t, and you won’t be able to adjust when you see dips in performance.
When you continually keep doing what is working, and changing the things that aren’t, you set yourself up for success. But, as Murphy has taught us, to do that effectively, you must “Measure and Adjust.”
We certainly love our furry office friends. Not only are they great companions who brighten our days, they’re wise animals that know a thing or two about marketing! Follow these seven lessons from our pups, and you’ll be well on your way toward being successful in today’s digital marketing world.