Ashley Zeckman

Spoiler Alert: How to Resist Falling to the Dark Side of Digital Marketing

Ashley Zeckman     Digital Marketing, Online Marketing

Digital-Marketing-Dark-Side

“Fear is the path to the dark side.” – Yoda

On December 18th, Star Wars: The Force Awakens hits the big screen. Throughout the entire series we have cheered for our heroes and heroines to resist the dark side.

We’ve seen them face temptation, make the right (and sometimes wrong) choice, but at the end of the day, we’re rooting for their success. Similarly, digital marketers have faced some familiar and sometimes devastating challenges. But what can we do to avoid the path to the dark side and instead come out as heroes to our customers?

Spoiler alert, just kidding, this is a different type of spoiler. In this post we will explore avoidable mistakes in the galaxy of options available to us today. Arm yourself with your lightsaber and get ready to start building your digital marketing empire.

Avoid Being A Storm Trooper on Social Media

In 2015, we’ve seen the rise of more than one new force in social media. Things are not as they once were, even a year ago. No matter how hard you’ve worked to build up your social media audience, it is now virtually impossible to reach them all with a 100% organic strategy.

This shift (or should I say Sith) has made it much more difficult to break through the barriers and serve your customers using social platforms. However, the task is not impossible.

Begin focusing your attention on the social media platforms that are best for engaging with your audience and utilize a combination of creative content, awesome visuals, customer focused information and combine that with targeted boosted posts and social ads to get your content in front of the right people.

Have Your Paid Search Goals & Targets In-Sight

Online Advertising can be an incredibly successful tool in driving digital marketing results. However, If not managed appropriately budgets can quickly get out of control and results can plummet.

Before embarking on a paid search initiative you need to define your goals. Different types of online advertising can be suited for specific goals. For example, if you want to drive online sales or conversions, remarketing might be a good fit. If however, you’re focused on building brand awareness or amplifying the reach of your content, Native Advertising might be your selection.

After you’ve determined which paid search services will best align with your goals, it’s important to specifically target the right audience for each ad type, campaign and ad. The extensivity of targeting within many of today’s platforms make for the opportunity to target the exact right person for your products or services.

Every Rebel Force Needs A (Content) Strategy

Do you think Luke Skywalker and the rebel forces could have destroyed the death star without a plan?

To assume that you can beat out your competitors without a sound content strategy is setting yourself up for failure. In today’s world every brand has become a publisher which has made it increasingly difficult to capture and keep the attention of customers. In fact, many customers have almost become numb due to the mass amount of content produced.

In order to stand out it is key to create a content marketing strategy that is aligned with marketing KPI’s and business objectives. Also, instead of focusing just on the quantity of content, spend efforts creating quality content that will differentiate you from your competitors.  

Your Customer’s Weapon of Choice is Likely A Mobile Device

What sort of experience are you creating for customers if you’re optimizing for a lightsaber while they prefer blasters? Understanding how your audience consumes information should significantly impact your digital marketing strategy. This includes everything from:

  • Building a responsive website
  • Creating content that is visual and easily consumed on a mobile device
  • Making it easy to complete Calls to Action (CTAs) from a smartphone

Information about the types of devices your audience uses to consume information is readily available for your web content through Google Analytics. Many email marketing platforms will also provide reporting on device usage.

Influencers Can Help You Build An Empire

Everyone knows that by surrounding yourself with influential people can help build your credibility. When it comes to digital marketing, incorporating influencers into your strategy can extend your reach, engage your audience and provide 3rd party validation of your message.

In order to work with the type of influencers that you want, it’s important that there is mutual value created. Simply reaching out to an influencer cold and making a request does not build the foundation for a good ongoing relationship.

Always make a point to express to your influencers what value is in the interaction for them and make it as easy as possible for them to participate and amplify your message.

May The Force Be With You

There will inevitably be times where you’re tempted to give into the dark side and make one of the blunders above. When that time comes, keep in mind the best practices in this post and find a way to harness the force for good.

What do you think are the biggest blunders that most marketers make without even realizing that they’ve done it?

Header image via Shutterstock

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Ashley Zeckman About Ashley Zeckman

Ashley Zeckman is the Director of Agency Marketing for TopRank Marketing. In addition to finding innovative ways to showcase the exceptional work of her team, she is also responsible for creating digital marketing programs that drive customer acquisition and growth for the agency. Her background includes expertise in everything from content marketing strategy to branding, account management and social media.

Outside of her role at TopRank Online Marketing, Ashley prides herself on being a great home chef, painter, prankster and dog mom.