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How to Pick your Digital Marketing Battles So You Can Win the War

digital marketing priorities

Digital marketing is a war. I can’t say it’s an epic battle of good vs. evil–no Sith Lords here!–but it is an ongoing battle between success and failure. Ok, maybe it is about good and evil (and depending on which site of the political spectrum you fall, you can decide which is which!) 😉

Like any war waged, in order to be victorious, every web marketer has to choose which battles they fight and which ones to let go.

When I wrote my book, The Best Damn Web Marketing Checklist, Period!, I wanted to offer a start-to-finish web marketing playbook–or battle plan, if you will. While the book gives you everything you need to optimize your complete web presence, it doesn’t help you prioritize those tasks.

So far, I have resisted calls to prioritize these tasks as outlined in the book, primarily because it would be extremely difficult to do and because every website has different goals. Your goals determine which strategies are take precedence over others. But also, some priority battles have to become secondary battles due to client readiness.

This is where the song, “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” runs through my head.

It’s true for my kids, and it’s true for every SEO in the world. Some things just can’t be done… right now.

Fighting Digital Marketing Strategy Battles

Not too long ago, few members of my team did a little ganging up on me (aka brainstorming) to help us all prioritize our tasks a bit. One of the things we’ve been trying to do is to keep a running list of things that need to be done for each client. And of course, prioritize that list.

The biggest hurdle we have is that each client subscribes to different services. Some want social media, some SEO, some want content and most want a little bit of everything. It’s that little bit of everything that becomes a problem.

For example, if we are scheduled to write and publish one or two blog posts per month for the client, the time needed for that may come at the expense of something more critical on the SEO front. So the question is: Is the risk of losing momentum on the social media greater than the risk of waiting longer to get to the more critical SEO action?

Unfortunately, I don’t have an answer for you. But what I CAN do is give you our list of web marketing services in order of (typical) priority.

Web Marketing Service Priorities

  1. Conversion Optimization
  2. Organic SEO
  3. Mobile Optimization
  4. PPC Ad Campaigns
  5. Local SEO
  6. Content & Messaging
  7. Social Media Marketing
  8. Analytics

When looking at a pure service level of priorities, that would be the recommendation and priority order we’d make to most businesses. Of course, there is no pure straight line from numbers one to five because there are many specific tasks and strategies that cross over and in between.

If we were to look outside of the specific services and prioritize individual tasks, we’d come up with something like this:

Web Marketing Strategy Priorities

  1. Web Presence Review
  2. Buyer Personas
  3. Keyword Research
  4. Analytics Set-Up & Goal Customization
  5. Online PR
  6. Benchmark Reports
  7. Conversion / Usability Best Practices Review
  8. Navigation Optimization
  9. Tag / Schema Optimization
  10. SEO / Architecture Audit
  11. Mobile Site Audit
  12. Mobile Optimization
  13. Local Site Audit
  14. Local Business Profile Optimization
  15. Local Keyword Optimization
  16. Page & Keyword Optimization
  17. Ongoing SEO Performance Reviews
  18. PPC
  19. Content Messaging Audit & Strategy
  20. Email Marketing Review
  21. Backlink Profile Audit
  22. Link Reclamation
  23. Local Citations
  24. Link Building
  25. Competitor Messaging Review
  26. Social Media Tag Review & Optimization
  27. Customer Review Strategy
  28. Social Media Audit & Strategy
  29. Editorial Calendar
  30. Content Creation & Editing
  31. Social Media Set-Up / Profile Optimization
  32. Tagline Research & Creation
  33. Video Optimization
  34. Social Media Engagement & Implementation
  35. Social Benchmark Reports
  36. Analytics Audit
  37. Ongoing Data Analysis
  38. Conversion Audit
  39. Multivariate and A/B Testing
  40. Live User Testing

That’s an ever evolving list, but it pretty much sums up the tasks we do. As I said, we can’t always get to things in this order, but this provides a good framework.

Fighting the Client Battles

Another common battle web marketers face is working with their clients. I don’t mean to make this sound like a fight between client and SEO. It’s really more of a cooperation. But even as partners working toward the same goals, there will be some disagreements about what should be done when… or more likely, what can be done.

Conventional business wisdom says that the customer is always right. What the customer wants, the customer gets. But that’s tough when you know the success or failure of the total campaign can rest in the approval or back burning of one or more of your critical recommendations.

I read a post the other day that basically laid the burden of the web marketing campaign’s success squarely on the web marketer. Ultimately, it came down to being the marketer’s responsibility to convince the client to do what is needed to be done. My experience often says otherwise.

Not every client can be convinced to do everything the web marketer wants. Often it’s a matter of budget. When we present recommendations that require third party developers to get involved or a drastic increase of the client’s time, things can move much more slowly than we would like. No amount of convincing in the world produces the budget or time needed for some requests. Period.

So we can choose to continue to fight the battle, or we communicate with the client the importance of the goals and move on. Quite often, we can come to compromise solutions that may be inferior to the initial request, but something is better than nothing at all.

I never want to battle my clients, but I do explain to them the ramifications. With that understanding, it’s really up to them to do what they can do and when.

Winning the War

Successful web marketing is more than just knowing what to do or when to do it, it’s also about understanding the lay of the land. In war, weather is a factor. And in a sense, it’s a factor in web marketing as well. There are always outside forces, differing goals, compromised solutions and recommendations that may or may not be implemented “at this time” that plays a role in the campaign.

The web marketer’s job is to pick the battles they can win and instead of spending valuable manpower on fighting the battles that can’t, re-strategize to accommodate the weather and move on to the next big victory.

Stoney G deGeyter

Stoney deGeyter is the author of The Best Damn Web Marketing Checklist, Period!. He is the founder and CEO of Pole Position Marketing, a web presence optimization firm whose pit crew has been velocitizing websites since 1998. In his free time Stoney gets involved in community services and ministries with his “bride enjoy” and his children. Read Stoney’s full bio.

One Response to How to Pick your Digital Marketing Battles So You Can Win the War

  1. Marty says:

    Thanks for all the tips and knowledge. Following up with Google white hat techniques to build your website presence will help to rank it higher in search results. After all we are only concerned about Google ranking.