An important habit for successful digital marketing managers is to continually experiment with the full range of online marketing tools available. Doing the same thing day-in, day-out, will only take you so far.
Unfortunately it is not unusual for even the companies that hire digital marketing experts to baulk at the idea of trying something new because they fear it will chew up their budget without assuring their ROI.
If you have a winning recipe that makes every marketing campaign a winner then fine, maybe you should stick to the status quo. If not, you should always be willing to try new ideas.
The two most common positions taken by stakeholders that resist experimentation are:
- We tried X before and it didn’t work.
- I don’t think that will work.
If you have tried a couple things in the past yet found the response unsatisfactory, examine those campaigns and determine where it all went wrong. Also, consider the length of time, the budget and the objectives for those campaigns – were they realistic?
When you hear yourself saying, or thinking, that won’t work – stop. Think long and hard about your doubts here because you may be ruling out a perfectly good acquisition or conversion channel.
Next I’ll cover some of the reasons why experimentation is so useful for web marketing.
Digital journey discovery
A digital journey or pathway is the route users take finding, using and hopefully converting on your website or app. There are many pathways that a person can take although some will clearly be more common than others.
If you don’t experiment with the various platforms or sources, at least the popular ones, then how can you be sure you aren’t stifling your next winning pathway? Can you imagine being the person responsible for online marketing who said no to Google Adwords, Facebook or Twitter. How popular do you think you’d be with your boss right now?
You need to find out how your potential customers are finding you, and then work out how to both optimise and maximise the process right through to conversion.
Digital devices are also affecting our digital journeys. Right now we are in the middle of a device revolution with a seemingly endless stream of smart phones, pads, smart watches and even glasses that can access the web. These all affect how people interact with your digital marketing and the ease with which they can complete your desired action (conversions). Take these devices into consideration too.
Emerging digital marketing tools
As I suggested above you don’t want to be the last person to get involved with the latest online service, website or app that is making waves. Early adopters often establish a far stronger online presence than those who play catch-up so digital marketing consultants need to stay informed of new developments.
While the vast majority of new tools and services fail miserably, occasionally a new one makes it. Pinterest is a good example of a fairly recent addition to the social media sphere that made it through to mainstream appeal. So, don’t panic. You don’t need to try EVERYTING – just those that ‘made it’.
The marketing options offered by new services are usually rolled out in phases but where possible, get in early and start using them right away.
Let digital analytics confirm or deny success
If the idea of experimenting still makes you uncomfortable, especially if time or money is limited, then put your trust in digital analytics. By that I mean measure as much as you can with your analytics software (Google Analytics perhaps) and let the results guide your next course of action.
Once you start to see actionable data you will begin to enjoy the experimentation process. Just don’t hit the panic button too soon. Give new digital marketing strategies a chance to prove their value. If it doesn’t quite work out then fine. You tried. You learned.
Change is constant
Ever heard this:
Everything changes and nothing stands still.
(Heraclitus, 535 BC – 475 BC)
It’s an old saying but in web marketing its true. Even the best digital marketing strategies eventually lose some of their magic so your online marketing consultant needs to keep them fresh and appealing to potential clients.
When you find a campaign is fading then it is the ideal moment to try something new.
Take Twitter for example. If all you ever do is post or promote tweets then perhaps it’s time to try Twitter Cards. Give the newsletter sign-up option a go and use it to trigger an email newsletter series.
Don’t make the mistake of believing that you only benefit from campaigns that have financially positive outcomes. In fact, we probably learn more from the negative ones.
Think about it. If all you do is compete in the same places using the same strategies then your only recourse is to spend more money to beat your competitors.
So take some time to brainstorm for ideas. Read your favourite digital marketing blogs and forums for ideas. Try something new.
Whatever you do, you can’t stand still.