What to Do When You Realize There’s No Digital Marketing Silver Bullet

no_digital_marketing_silver_bulletIt happens to all of us eventually. After going a few rounds of chasing the “hottest” new marketing trends, attending the must-see webinars featuring the most popular marketing gurus and then dizzying ourselves with untold amounts of infographics, whitepapers and ebooks on how to master digital marketing, we finally hit the wall.

That “shiny object syndrome” comes to a grinding halt with the realization that there’s no one marketing method, gimmick, trick or technique that will produce long-term growth for your business. While this sobering epiphany may produce a little bit of disappointment at first, it’s also a great time to reassess your position and recalibrate your efforts. Now that you’ve ditched all your unrealistic expectations about digital marketing, where do you go from here? Read on to find out what to do next.

1. Recognize that grey areas and risk-taking are a part of the business.

It would be great if digital marketing were as precise of a discipline as engineering or surgery, but that just isn’t the case. There’s a certain amount of uncertainty inherent in digital marketing, but this can actually work to your advantage in terms of experimentation.

Your best marketing ideas are still yet to be discovered, and many times these discoveries will happen when you try something that’s unproven and offers little to no guarantees. Now this doesn’t mean that you cross over into foolhardy actions without any strategy or forethought, but rather that you take calculated risks that venture into somewhat uncharted territory. You never quite know how an audience will respond to an unconventional or experimental marketing tactic.

2. Double down on studying your target audience.

Nine times out of ten, most digital marketing failures are a result of a lack of truly understanding your audience. This goes far beyond mere demographic information (e.g., age, gender, education level, etc.); you have to find out not only what your audience wants, but why they want it.

Find out what motivates them to buy by studying the kinds of problems they’re trying to solve. What type of “pain points” does your audience regularly experience? What type of “missing links” can be found between what your audience really wants and what your competitors are failing to provide? Is your audience looking to feel safe, happy, confident, respected, loved, etc., or is there some type of negative emotion that they’re trying to avoid feeling (e.g., scared, unhappy, undesirable, etc.)?

Narrowing down exactly who it is that you’re marketing to, and understanding their motivations inside and out, is one of the most important keys to delivering effective marketing messages that will consistently resonate with your target audience.

3. Never stop testing.

Assumption kills more digital marketing campaigns than any formidable competitor ever will. The notion that you have arrived, or that there’s nothing left to adjust or tweak with your campaign, is the first step toward a decline in audience engagement and conversion rates.

Assume nothing, and test everything. This includes ad copy, background colors, button colors, calls-to-action, landing pages, email subject lines, the list goes on and on. Split test and measure results on a regular basis, but try not to change too many things at one time, because you want to be able to easily identify the element responsible for any changes in audience response.

4. “Whenever you fall, pick something up.”

This famous quote by Oswald Avery encapsulates the type of attitude that you must adopt if you want to achieve digital marketing success. In many ways, your failures are just as important as your successes, because you can analyze what went wrong, why it went wrong and how you can do it better the next time. This is why mistakes should never be feared, because they can indeed become your greatest teachers.

As you pinpoint the factors that caused you to go off the rails, you gain a more accurate picture of what’s required to do it the correct way. This process of achieving accuracy in your marketing efforts will keep you from wasting time and resources down the road.

The truth of the matter is, the world of digital marketing is far too vast to ever be conquered by any one technique, gimmick or tactic. Apply your smarts and your available resources to the tips listed above, and you might be surprised at how much of a positive difference it can make in your digital marketing efforts.

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