One-trick ponies don’t win races Reply

You can’t just choose one way to market your organization.

Well, I mean, you can. You probably just shouldn’t.

Case in point. I worked with an organization that was pretty buttoned up in regard to digital marketing: SEO, AdWords, etc. It was impressive, really, how well oiled a machine its digital marketing was.

But at some point, they reached their ceiling. In terms of the keywords they chose for their business, they were maxed out, and their search impressions had reached more or less max capacity. In short, spending more or doing more would not have boosted traffic to their site significantly enough to make a difference. Sure, there’s always something more you can do in digital marketing, but it wasn’t going to keep moving the needle enough to meet company growth goals.

The problem was, they felt comfortable with search engine marketing. And that’s all.

You see, they had made weird, one-time forays into things like billboard advertising (one billboard on the side of the highway, once), and a poorly thought-out referral campaign. They made extremely occasional appearances at trade shows.  They had set up social media accounts, auto-posted their blog posts, and then crossed social media off their to-do list. They put out press releases on things like their office redesign but never their product, and then posted these releases on free SEO sites for the backlinks, not the PR value. The only articles ever written about them were paid for. They waited for analysts to come calling, and the crickets were deafening.

You could go months — years! — without seeing a mention of them anywhere outside a search engine result page.

They had never made a true investment into any marketing tactic outside of search engine marketing, but nevertheless concluded from their limited experience that that those things weren’t worth investing in. Results and metrics didn’t support it, right?

Two things, really, can be learned from this cautionary tale. One: A robust, multifaceted, results-oriented marketing program is always the result of investment: Strategy, resources, hard work, unflagging dedication, and grinding consistency.

And two: Relying on one marketing tactic alone will pretty much guarantee that you never meet your growth potential.

Take our example. They rocked the search engine results page. They could have a Google search ad at the top of the page, and be in the top 10 position in organic search results for most of their keywords. They should have had amazing click-through rates (and tbh they weren’t bad). But they didn’t account for a very important thing: Human behavior.

Human behavior means that even if you rank at #2 organically and #1 at paid, you’re not guaranteed that click — particularly if no one has ever heard of you outside of Google. But if they’ve heard of your competitors — who happen to be ranked at #1, #3 and #4 — they’ll definitely click on them. Intuitively you probably recognize the truth of this.

That’s because when it comes to behavioral economics, human nature is often surprisingly predictable. Numerous studies have born out that decision making is heavily influenced by known brands: A known brand saves consumers decision-making time and effort in a wilderness of choices and messages; and going with a known brand offers them a reduced risk of disappointment.

Brand awareness matters: Brands in the initial-consideration set can be up to three times more likely to be purchased eventually than brands that aren’t in it. This is especially true with considered purchase decisions.

If our example company had bothered to establish a real-world reputation or done the consistent branding work necessary to be recognized outside their own little SEM bubble, they would not be the subject of this blog post. But they didn’t, which is why they are such a useful example of what not to do.

The moral of their story is: Put in the work necessary to implement multiple tactics well. Branding matters. Consumers need to have many touch points, preferably across a variety of influential media. The messaging they receive needs to be integrated and present along every step of their consideration process.

And don’t just gravitate toward one marketing tactic because it’s easy. In the end, it will lead to difficult outcomes.






Why You Absolutely Need To Actively Work on Audience Growth Reply

Once upon a time — as in, the 1990s — brands spent huge amounts of time and money creating outreach: brochures, websites, ad campaigns, media campaigns, newsletters and direct mail, to name a few.

Since then, technology has profoundly changed how business content is created, disseminated and consumed. But content marketing isn’t new, and neither is the concept behind it: Generally speaking, people require information before they are comfortable with making a purchase.

That’s why we don’t buy the claims that content marketing is dead or on its way out. Sure, some content marketers are seeing diminished returns due to the glut of content vying for consumers’ attention. But it simply isn’t realistic from a competitive standpoint for brands to drop their content marketing efforts!

Content is still king. Assuming you are actively creating quality content to feed your marketing machine, you don’t need to change a thing — as long you are working consistently on developing an engaged and ever-larger slice of the audience. More…

The secret to putting your best foot forward in social media? Full immersion 3

Each blog, social media outlet, email platform and inbound marketing property has about a million moving parts. Each requires constant traffic and followers and engagement. Each requires content generation. Each operates differently. So you owe it to yourself to get each one working for you. Laser-like focus on one particular platform over a period of a few weeks will help you learn faster how to make your online marketing more effective on each platform. More…

Mercedes-Benz + dancing chickens = viral video marketing Reply

You may have already seen this video. It’s already gotten, as of this writing, 1.8 million views on YouTube. But enjoy it again anyway: Believe it or not, we have a point.

This little upbeat video is brilliant, because it’s funny and a bit weird. It doesn’t feel like an ad. It transcends language (it was made in Germany, where Mercedes is headquartered). When you watch these unflappable chickens being gently puppetmastered to the vocal stylings of Donna Summer, you need others to see it, too.

In other words, it’s viral. More…

video marketing

Think video is too hard, too expensive, to get into? Think again. Here’s how to do it. 7

Glossy, television-quality video is expensive to do, granted. But there are plenty of ways you can break into video on a small scale that still reaps the returns. And returns are what you’ll get when you branch into video marketing. More…

Social media is marketing. Invest in it. Reply

The same people who are well aware that a marketing or PR firm will cost them $250 per hour are often those who think that $100 per month should cover social media. I’ll let you in on a secret: Those who actually deliver results on social media have usually sharpened their marketing skills at those $250-per-hour firms. More…


Content curation: A critical element in any content strategy 1

Content curation is a component of any good content strategy. Clearly, you still should create your own content a few times a week, because that’s the content that creates backlinks to your website, boosting your SEO and your perceived expertise. But on the days you simply don’t have the time or resources write another blog post, take another picture, or produce another video, curation’s your answer. More…

marketing fail

The top 6 ways your online presence is failing your marketing goals 1

So much goes into your online presence: Your website functionality and user experience, including its mobility; its ability to be found by search engines; what search engines find when looking for you; and the professionalism (and backlink generation) of your social media and content. If you’re making some of these marketing mistakes, it’s time to fix them — stat! More…