Marketing, as we know it, has changed forever.
I know, it sucks. I remember a time when it all depended on your Yellow Pages ad. You would work your butt off to get that ad done just in time, then wait for the phone to ring – or not. The worst thing that could happen was giving your designer the wrong phone number (which one of my clients did).
It was obviously much simpler back then. Some of the more sophisticated businesses might even have marketing plans. These plans would itemize the five or six things they wanted to do over the year, like radio or newspaper ads.
Those days are gone. Marketing is different now, and your old beliefs need to change. It won’t be easy; it may even hurt. But it needs to happen if you’re going to keep new customers coming in to your business in 2014 and beyond.
If you’re like most business owners I know, you’re still carrying around some marketing baggage. Let’s put that heavy stuff down and take a look around at the new landscape.
Outdated Marketing Beliefs That Are Holding You Back
These are the ideas that you need to throw away to make room for some new insights:
Old Belief 1: The more money you spend on marketing, the more successful you will be.
Old Belief 2: Frequency matters. The more people who see/watch/hear your ads, the more successful you will be.
Old Belief 3: All marketing messages must be controlled through head office only.
Old Belief 4: The IT department or recent college grads are the best to manage Internet-based marketing.
Old Belief 5: You are your customer.
The New Marketing Realities For 2014 (and Beyond)
1. Authority Matters in 2014
Trustworthiness – or authority – is very important to Google and potential new customers. To get authority, subscribe to a flywheel mentality: put in a little energy all the time, and you’ll be rewarded with big returns.
Start sharing what you know, and soon you’ll be trusted for your expertise. With the flywheel approach to marketing, over time you build more and more authority with your audience. Once you get the wheel spinning, a simple tweet or new blog post will be shared again and again. You’ll not only attract more customers, you’ll help boost your page rank too.
2. Content Quality Matters
With the recent Hummingbird algorithm for Google and Quality Score with PPC (Pay Per Click ad), Google is rewarding those advertisers and website owners who write good quality content. A nice bonus of quality content is lower bounce rates and higher conversion rates.
3. It’s OK To Be Vulnerable
We live in a socially connected world. You may not like what people have to say all the time, but I believe that for most businesses negative comments can be fuel for positive change, and even good PR. So go ahead, respond to that customer complaint on Twitter. The whole world will see that if you make a mistake, you’ll fix it. Your prospective customers are not dumb; they can spot the difference between the real deal and a fake. They know that no one is perfect, so do yourself a favour and stop pretending.
4. Digital Marketing is Not an IT Thing
It used to make sense to have IT heavily involved in updating your website, because it was so complicated that it required special skills. Now we have new tools that allow anyone to manage their website content, digital marketing ads and search engine optimization. The future payoffs are huge and it isn’t something that you should risk having a non-marketing minded person doing (even if they’re a smartypants new grad with a couple of digital marketing courses under their belt).
5. Metrics Matter
In our digital world of 2014, everything is measurable. You need to create measurable goals, track your progress, and use the data to plan your next steps. Free tools like Google Analytics can provide you with amazing insights into your business. Remember to not fall back into the old “set it and forget it” habits, though. Each report should help you take action to help keep the flywheel spinning.
I challenge you to take an honest look and see if you’re holding on to any of the old beliefs I mentioned. Then pick one, and start making small incremental changes today.
I know from experience that changing your belief system is no easy task. It requires working on your new habits daily to make them stick. You’ll need a bit of patience, because the flywheel takes time to build momentum. But as long as you are keeping track of your metrics, you’ll eventually start seeing things that once seemed impossible becoming real.