Last weekend, I took my nine-year-old son to a batting cage to get ready for his upcoming baseball season. He's a natural athlete, but soccer has been his full-time sport of choice for the last two years, so he needed some reps swinging the bat to switch gears to baseball.
As he stepped into the cage, I stood on the outside and started noticing all the little things I thought he was doing wrong, and began offering "helpful" suggestions:
- "You're standing too close to the plate. Back up some."
- "You need to step towards the pitcher, not third base."
- "Keep your back foot planted."
- "Choke up on the bat."
Well, after about five minutes in the cage, I succeeded in one thing -- thoroughly confusing him! But I also learned two valuable parenting lessons from that experience -- first, he's only nine... he'll figure it out; and second, he's really close to being a very good batter. He just needs to focus on making a few small adjustments.
And in all areas of our lives, switching gears from one type of an activity to another involves some changes. For marketers that are making the transition from traditional to digital, the same two lessons apply:
First, you're not alone -- many of your colleagues in other organizations are "figuring it out." Each organization is different and each has its own set of hurdles to overcome to be more digital. And each marketer, with enough time in the cage, will figure it out.
Second, you might be closer than you think. Are there some small adjustments you can make to see a big impact on your digital efforts? I bet there are. And like a budding batter, there are easy ones you can try to get yourself started.
Here are three steps you can take today to improve your digital marketing:
1. Start with search. In a digital world, content is king. But even if you write a Pulitzer-worthy blog post, if no one is searching for it, it won't impact your demand gen metrics. Google Keyword Planner is a great tool that can show you search traffic for a set of words and phrases. Plan your content around hot terms that will get more eyeballs.
2. Content is your friend. One trap I've fallen into many times in my career is not leveraging a marketing activity as much as I should have. Start with a piece of content, then look for ways to digitally amplify it, share it socially and repurpose it for other uses. The result will be more touch points your customers can find online. The diagram to the right might illustrate it more clearly for you.
Let's say you have a killer webinar that educates and also shows how your company can meet the needs of customers. You'll get some registrations for it, but imagine what you can accomplish if you amplify it:
- Turn it into a blog post and a thought leadership article.
- Pull out a short product demo that you can serve up on-demand.
- Plug in social media by tweeting and posting links to the original webinar, the blog post, the article and the demo.
Now, instead of one asset, you have four -- and lots of ways to promote it. Make sure you put multiple version of the content on your corporate website to tie back in organic search traffic.
3. Measure then tweak. One of the great things about digital marketing is the ability to try things, measure them and pivot. People and industries respond differently to various types of marketing outreach. Find out what works and keep doing it. Find out what doesn't work and stop doing it.
When my son stepped back into the batting cages the second time, I told him to just focus on one thing -- moving his stance away from the plate a little bit. He quickly saw the results of the small change. The barrel -- not the neck -- of the bat started making contact with the ball, and the ball began jumping off the bat. That little change made a big difference.
You can see a similar difference in your marketing campaigns when you make some small digital changes. Focus on one at a time, then build from there. Before you know it, you'll be hitting it out of the park!