It’s not uncommon for a web marketing strategy to shift from its initial goals and deliverables once the campaign gets under way. In my experience, it’s not out of the ordinary for a client to decide they want to focus on something other than what the web marketing team set out to do. While any such change in direction certainly comes with risks, there can also be rewards.
As a web marketer, client dictated changes to the campaign can be frustrating. Not only has the team spent time developing the strategy, but they have also invested time working on tasks geared toward the previously established goals. Any shift away from this often results in 1) time wasted on partial tasks that don’t get completed, and 2) time invested into certain goals that are no longer being measured.
It wasn’t long ago when we had a client refuse to implement our optimized page recommendations because he wanted us to shift our focus onto usability (UX). Not only had we invested a significant amount of time on keyword research and writing content, but the bulk of the work was done. We just needed his edits, a final review, and for the content to be implemented onto the site. It came as no surprise, then, that the client felt like he wasn’t getting the value for the hours we invested! Duh.
But with that said, sometimes a change in strategy is needed. Sometimes the client themselves go through a significant restructuring that makes the previous or current strategies meaningless. Or perhaps the client expanded into new areas that need immediate attention.
Regardless as to the why, it’s important that the web marketing team can take direction from the client when required. Neither the SEO nor the client can stay so focused on the initial agreed strategy that it becomes detrimental to the client’s success. In such cases, it’s adapt or die!
Just make sure that everyone is aware of the ramifications. Changing the focus of the goals means you have to change the metrics you’re measuring. You can’t look for improved social engagement when you switch your focus to mobile optimization. Yeah, there will be some overlap in improvements, but you have to focus on the metrics that are most directly impacted by the new goals.
But there is also a flip side to this coin. Sometimes it’s the web marketer that is suggesting the focus change. Every web marketing campaign comes down to time and budget available. Based on those two factors, the SEO may suggest you’ll get more value by moving focus from one area of web marketing to another, or by limiting the areas of web marketing that you focus on.
Ideally, a web marketing campaign is able to hit on all areas: social, content messaging, keyword optimization, mobile optimization, local SEO, website architecture, etc. All are important to a successful campaign. However, not every budget allows the web marketer to invest in all these areas at the same time.
This requires the marketer to refocus their efforts into one or two areas in which success is most likely within the given budget. This, in turn requires a change in tactics, measurements and goals. Failure of the client to agree to such changes often results in a lackluster campaign where no metrics substantially improve. By allowing the SEO to pool all their time and energy into a single area, you’ll at least be able to see the needle on some metrics move and improve.
Nobody likes to have to change focuses in a web marketing campaign unless absolutely necessary. But it happens and is sometimes absolutely necessary. Be sure you’re working with a web marketing team that can adapt to the needs. Otherwise, they may continue full steam ahead… but it’ll be full steam over the waterfall!