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
- Conversion Optimization
- Organic SEO
- Mobile Optimization
- PPC Ad Campaigns
- Local SEO
- Content & Messaging
- Social Media Marketing
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
- Web Presence Review
- Buyer Personas
- Keyword Research
- Analytics Set-Up & Goal Customization
- Online PR
- Benchmark Reports
- Conversion / Usability Best Practices Review
- Navigation Optimization
- Tag / Schema Optimization
- SEO / Architecture Audit
- Mobile Site Audit
- Mobile Optimization
- Local Site Audit
- Local Business Profile Optimization
- Local Keyword Optimization
- Page & Keyword Optimization
- Ongoing SEO Performance Reviews
- Content Messaging Audit & Strategy
- Email Marketing Review
- Backlink Profile Audit
- Link Reclamation
- Local Citations
- Link Building
- Competitor Messaging Review
- Social Media Tag Review & Optimization
- Customer Review Strategy
- Social Media Audit & Strategy
- Editorial Calendar
- Content Creation & Editing
- Social Media Set-Up / Profile Optimization
- Tagline Research & Creation
- Video Optimization
- Social Media Engagement & Implementation
- Social Benchmark Reports
- Analytics Audit
- Ongoing Data Analysis
- Conversion Audit
- Multivariate and A/B Testing
- 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.