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An increasingly important subject in business that I want to talk about is the changes that are happening in the digital and marketing landscape and how these changes have impacted businesses in the way that they approach their marketing strategies.
This is a topic that has come up a lot recently in business, especially in light of the handful of Google algorithm updates that have happened so far in 2018.
As an agency, we are very lucky to be in a position where we get to speak to a lot of businesses about their marketing; which really does give us some great insight and it doesn’t take long for patterns to start coming up.
Over time, we’ve found that there are a handful of issues which are the most common.
If you’re thinking that these seem obvious, you’re right, they are.
But, the fact remains that they are still problems that we hear way too often and, if anything, they seem to be getting worse for many businesses we speak to.
We’ve heard from a lot of businesses that they feel it is harder to generate new leads in recent years and that the results of their marketing activity has steadily decreased over time.
The common feedback from them is that they feel that if you go back as little as 5 / 6 years ago, a lot of the competition online was significantly lower.
The truth is, there’s a lot of evidence to support these thoughts and it does seem that a few years ago things were easier…
Landing pages didn’t need to be as well thought out, it was easier to rank on Google organically, social media platforms weren’t as crowded etc etc. Even Google Adwords was significantly cheaper and generally had higher conversion rates; and methods like cold emails; which we all hate, got a better response than they do today.
Something that is often overlooked is that there are more businesses active today in the UK economy than there ever has been. The ONS stated that in 2014 the number of new businesses being incorporated in the UK reached an all time high at 383,000 new registrations with the rate of dissolves actually decreasing.
Naturally, the more businesses there are, the more noise there is to shout over in order to stay visible. I’m sure you’ll all agree that the volume of free, diverse and accessible content is through the roof these days. And this is all being delivered across a variety of channels and mediums; some with ridiculous budgets behind them.
Because of this, buyers expectations have changed; they’re demanding more from businesses in order to make their decisions and become customers. Also, their behaviour has shifted, in particular, the way that they search the web. With the introduction of voice commands in mobile devices, people are running searches the way they would actually ask a question which significantly impacts search keywords.
The implications of all of this are huge and, sadly, from what we’ve seen, a lot of businesses are just treading water with their marketing efforts and have been left stuck wondering what to do.
Unfortunately, throwing more traffic at the problem isn’t the fix.
It’s not a question of how much more you can market a business, it’s more about how to make the business more marketable.
This is a hard pill for a lot of businesses to swallow, especially those who perhaps had some level of success in the old days of digital. They’re often quick to throw the blame before they accept the facts.
They have to up their game and add more value if they want to keep up.
This means is that in today’s digital world, your marketing strategy and operational processes have to be intertwined and embedded into every aspect of the business to truly generate the best possible result.
Getting on top of this isn’t complicated in the slightest. It’s just hard work; but it’s the business that are willing to put this work in that are really standing out and thriving.
We’ve spent quite a lot of time researching this subject and the more we look a it the more we’ve found that there’s a formula to it.
1. If the delivery is poor to begin with, then the business will always be swimming upstream. Our experience has taught us that the businesses who allocate time to refining and improving their delivery are significantly more marketable. It’s astonishing how many don’t do it, though. Having a good service isn’t enough on it’s own.
2. The digital assets that your business has available to it dramatically increases its marketability and credibility. Branding, design, case studies, service brochures, webinars, tools etc. These assets are crucial to the future of marketing and how a business presents itself.
Assets build brand equity. It’s no coincidence that the biggest brands in the world have the most assets out there.
3. Finally, and possibly most importantly, it’s all about how you communicate this to new AND existing customers.
That sweet spot right in the middle is the the key to successful marketing in today’s digital marketplace.
If you get these elements right, it stops becoming marketing in the traditional sense and becomes more about customer experience which adds so much more value.
This is an exercise in strategy and I advise you not to go looking for a silver bullet because you’re not going to find one. Trial and error, regular improvements and a bit of patience go a long way here.
My advice right now is to invest your time.Look at each of these elements in relation to your business and constantly try and improve the customer experience. Develop as many touch points with your customers as possible, these are all opportunities to create moments with them; and these are what they remember.