I don’t think anyone would disagree with me that the digital world has a certain chaotic edge to it, even with all the talk of big data, of analytics and empirical evidence, there are a huge amounts of value judgements, subjective decisions and emotional responses. If we even begin to approach the world of SEO, amplify this feeling a few times and you might get close to the feeling which is stoked around a new algorithm update from Google.
We’re all human right? This is only to be expected!
Unless you have a calculator for a brain or see the world in 0s and 1s, a fresh prospective is important when things aren’t going well. It may sound clichéd, but there few opportunities where a fresh prospective can’t shed some more on elements to be improved or changed. This is where the Digital Marketing Flow Chart comes in, it’s not a ground breaking production, moreover an act a rationalising the current situation and encouraging a step in the right direction.
The Flow Chart
This is pretty straightforward, start at the yellow oval/circle and follow your way until you reach the Green or Red diamonds. There are a couple of things you should note right off the bat:
- This chart doesn’t take itself seriously, but there’s a kernel of truth to be found here.
- Whilst continually asking yourself “is your digital strategy working?” is a valid and positive action, for the purposes of this activity, if you keep find yourself looping back around to the yellow oval, things aren’t working out.
- A 30 second flow chart such as this probably represents a six to 12 month campaign, certainly not anything below three months.
- The “external factors” step a small component of the chart, but in reality it’s one of the biggest factors representing hundreds of different things.
- “Winning the internet” isn’t a real thing unless you’re Google – think in terms of growth or at minimum not getting worse
So, how did you get on?
This is a loaded question, the majority of people (if they’re being honest) will likely keep looping around the right hand side of the flow chart ad infinitum, and herein lies the point.
A Very Simple Premise, but…
I’m sure for many the flow chart will appear far too simple, which of course is never representative of how things really work. Almost all flow charts are like this, it’s pretty-much how they work when covering something that’s ultimately subjective process. But it raises some important questions:
- How do you establish whether your campaign is actually working? What is “working”? Perhaps we should look at another term, like “success”, but that’s just as messy here. “Are you making money?” is a good all-rounder, but I’ve seen enough positive ROI campaigns classified as “unsuccessful” even though they were undoubtedly making money.
- When is a Significant change better than a Minor one? Optimising a campaign to make it profitable and re-writing your strategy and starting over are far apart, and they can both have equal merit in certain contexts. However, the key point here is that minor changes within digital marketing, will, for the most part drive minor gains.
- Are significant changes always good? As I mentioned above, this cycle needs to represent a strategy which spans 6 months at least, if you’re finding yourself making radical changes every few weeks, you’re probably moving too fast and are going to lead to some fairly significant problems.
- How often are you willing to loop back through the yellow oval before you try to make the change? I’ve seen some companies (big and small) continue the same practice in the hope something’ll get better and I’ve seen others who have little patience and are unable to see any campaign through – both would find themselves getting stuck in the cycle.
Definition of Madness
Einstein defined madness as the idea of repeating the same task and expecting different results, and whilst this definition is far from clinical it is hard not to see his point here.
This is especially applicable when you look at the loop on the right hand side. No willingness to change your approach to marketing, or being iterative to the point of distraction, not being honest with yourself in terms of your perception of your activities and an over or under-reliance on external factors is not going to bring about success – It’s madness!
Where this is particularly apt is within SEO and particularly link building, Google’s algorithm updates over the past 2-3 years has left a gaping link building-shaped hole in lots of digital marketing strategies and many continued to believe that something would happen to ensure they would become successful again – just without making any positive steps themselves… pretty mad if you ask me!
So What Now?
Change something, stop procrastinating and start crafting your future. I know this sounds easier said than done, but if your response to that begins with “but…”, contains “can’t” and ends in “off”, then your mindset still isn’t there. You need to believe that what you’re doing isn’t working before you can start to change it – then things get really tough!
Many business owners will take issue to this approach, particularly because I’m not a business owner, I have no experience in that area and I’m presently painting in really broad strokes. That may be true, but I’ve probably worked on more digital campaigns than most business owners and can quite easily differentiate one that is going to go the distance over one that is going to struggle, or worse.
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