Online Marketing

The Shocking Truth About Digital Marketing – Forbes

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A study by Smart Insights (membership required) shows that 4 in 10 businesses don’t have a “defined” digital marketing strategy. What’s more, CNBC reported that “billions of digital marketing dollars are being wasted as online adverts miss their intended targets.”

Without a digital marketing strategy, businesses may experience everything from incorrect marketing channels and budget allocations to low organic rankings, website engagement, ROI and quality leads.

Unfortunately, since many companies don’t know where to start, they are led down a rabbit hole of online marketing scams and agencies that do not specialize in internet marketing. As a result, businesses waste valuable time responding to spam emails, irrelevant phone calls and unqualified leads.

Many of the agencies that ensure quick results at low costs neglect to define and execute a digital marketing strategy for their clients. Instead, they simply “sell” anything they can and tell the client how great the results are going to be.

One after another, these agencies execute various online campaigns without knowing the company’s target audience, marketing channels or campaign goals. Their lack of research results in companies spending thousands of dollars and time on ineffective digital marketing campaigns.

When these campaigns fail, businesses return to their old habits of answering spam emails and phone calls from other agencies that promise rapid results at low costs. They continue pouring out money to the next fast talker who promises them unrealistic results.

Once again, no target audience has been identified. The proper digital marketing channels have not been researched or determined, and the company’s goals are undefined. Fortunately, there’s a much better solution for businesses that are looking for digital marketing solutions.

The solution is a well-defined, well-analyzed and well-performed digital marketing strategy that includes researching, understanding and defining a specific target audience. It also requires understanding the company’s marketing goals, competitive landscape, channel performance and budget allocation.

A digital marketing strategy can save companies an enormous amount of time, money and resources because it defines a well-researched and predetermined path. While there are always a few adjustments to be made along the way, it is a road map that takes businesses in the right direction.

A digital marketing strategy will show what marketing channels to invest in based on industry trends. An engineering firm’s ROI may be excellent for SEO but poor in social media. A plastic surgeon’s ROI may be great for PPC but not video ads.

Each industry varies dramatically, and this is where a well-researched and focused digital marketing strategy can determine the best marketing channels, budget allocation for each channel and measurable goals.

With a digital marketing strategy, businesses can experience more quality leads; higher ROI, website engagement and organic rankings; and correct budget allocations and marketing channels.

For continuous online success, businesses need to invest in agencies that provide them with a multichannel digital marketing approach. By doing so, they can save a tremendous amount of time and money.

There are several things to consider when searching for a digital marketing agency, beginning with research. Researching an agency is critical to understanding if and how they can help your business in terms of digital marketing.

Before partnering with an agency, it is in your best interest to ask several questions. Of these, one of the most important is, “Does the agency provide a digital marketing strategy prior to partnership?”

If the agency does provide a digital marketing strategy, this is a great opportunity to determine if they are the right fit for your company.

The digital marketing strategy should include a complete breakdown of a benchmark analysis, competitive analysis, keyword research, budget allocations and case studies. To complete each aspect of the digital marketing strategy, agencies research and analyze not only your business, but your competitors as well. Detailed competitive analyses show which channels are being used by your competitors and which are (or aren’t) providing results.

Once the research is conducted and presented, agencies provide a proposed strategy highlighting what services, campaigns and channels they will use for your business, all within the available budget.

Other questions you should ask an agency include:

• Who are some of your former clients?

• How long has your agency been specializing in digital marketing?

• Will you follow up with me about my digital marketing strategy?

• Will the strategy include competitors?

• Is my strategy confidential?

Finding the best digital marketing agency for your business can be costly, time-consuming and overall stressful. Before you are led down the rabbit hole, conduct your research, and ask questions. Be sure to request an outline of the proposed digital marketing strategy. These three factors can help you determine the right agency for your business and, ultimately, lead to continuous growth.

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