When a business has a ready-to-deliver product or service, the next step is to market it to their target audience. With the new trend of a stay-at-home lifestyle, more businesses than ever are turning to digital marketing online. Whether the business is new, or they're adding digital marketing to a strategy that works, or simply replacing an outdated method, often, they'll attempt to self-educate on Internet marketing before outsourcing to outside services or hiring an internal online marketing specialist.
In 3 years of working with clients across North America, Alexander Velitchko - the founder of Houston, Texas digital marketing company Agency Intelligence, and award-winning speaker - has noticed many mistakes that businesses make in this area. These marketing mistakes, Alexander says, can cause a conflict of interest when it's time to outsource, or even stop a successful marketing campaign from happening. Alexander outlines 6 of the most common mistakes he's noticed, and provides action steps to combat or prevent them:
Mistake 1: Using the Wrong Metrics to Measure Marketing Success. When people teach digital marketing, one of the strategies they teach is search engine optimization (SEO). However, the overall success and goals of a digital marketing campaign go beyond mere SEO.
"Often, the mantra is that you have to get to the #1 position for 1 major keyword," states Alexander. "That's not true. You can get a #1 ranking for 1 keyword, and focus all your time and energy on that, and wait and hope until you get clients. But what good is that if, after months, nothing happens?"
"The real key is not just being #1 for 1 keyword: you have to expand your search engine visibility both vertically, which is your position on the page, and horizontally, which is how many different searches and queries you show up for online. You need to expand them both."
Agency Intelligence's marketing campaigns, both local (Houston and elsewhere) and national, merge the goals of vertical and horizontal visibility into one simple metric: the "digital footprint" of a company, which is the overall scope of a business's organic (non-pay-per-click) visibility across the Internet. This is an advertising metric that Alexander says is the best possible correlation to success, as long as the business can convert the incoming traffic into paying customers.
Agency Intelligence provides this metric in its real-time Houston digital marketing reports to customers, as well as to marketing clients elsewhere in the country.
"The larger your digital footprint, the more the people who can see you, the more page views and the click-throughs you can get, and the more the phone calls, conversions, and sales."
Mistake 2: Do You Know Who You're Learning Digital Marketing From? Yes, you can learn it on your own, but when you don't know that your digital marketing teacher is coming from a place of success in that area, you cannot be sure of the results.
Alexander remarks: "The big software companies are teaching SEO or digital marketing themselves: GoDaddy, Wix, Squarespace, you name it. When you choose who you're learning marketing from, examine that education and ask yourself: is it based on results and proven strategies? Or are they only taking baseline Google requirements to make a page search engine friendly, and, without any other reference, tell you: 'just have all these requirements, slap a keyword on your page, and you’ll rank'?"
"In some cases, having previous digital marketing education can be an asset to a campaign. However, in others, it can be a curse, and you can be biased by having had that experience first before anything else – you take it as gospel. In that case, do what Bruce Lee says: empty your cup of existing knowledge."
"Evander Holyfield said that one of the things that made him the world’s only 4X heavyweight champion… was listen to instructions. In my case, you've got to listen to the science. Let others take care of the details, and help you to understand what KPIs actually matter." Alexander invites business owners in Houston to come into his campaigns with an open mind.
Mistake 3: Seeking "Shiny Object" Marketing Education. Alexander says that the best digital marketing courses - let alone even digital marketing education - are only those made by marketing professionals who derive their teachings and strategies from actual, successful 'in-the-trenches' client services work.
"A lot of people sell courses on Facebook and YouTube ads saying their organic marketing strategies are the best, claiming instant results," says Alexander. "But who knows? From extensive testing of various digital marketing strategies, from belonging to some groups that do nothing but testing, and from the $300,000 I’ve invested in marketing training over the past 5 years, the key is to only learn from people who can demonstrate that they've had success with a marketing strategy for years – and they continue doing it today."
"There’s no gimmick or silver bullet to success. Again, you have to listen to the science." To this day, Alexander never stops testing. He continues to integrate his latest scientific digital marketing findings into his Houston company's services.
Mistake 4: Incorrect Estimation of Effort. "To understand how organic marketing works, know that results are not instant. Organic digital marketing is a more long-term strategy. To be promoted to as many people as possible on search engines, without paying per click, you almost develop a relationship with search engines and their guidelines."
"The digital presence or digital real estate growth to meet search quality guidelines is no different from the human world. You're developing a relationship with another person. And it’s gradual. The more you give search engines & aggregators fresh & interesting content, the more exposure it will get online. The services of Houston Agency Intelligence teach and help you, a business owner, as being great at what you do is not simply enough today to cut through the digital noise of competition and thrive."
"In and out of Houston, many great outfits go out of business. If they don't adopt online marketing strategies to grow their companies. Whether your business covers the entire country, or it's a local business in Houston, every worthy business with outstanding service, culture, and a caring team, deserves to be covered -- perhaps even in the online media / press. Organic search traffic alone is 8X bigger than all social platforms combined," says Alexander, referencing GrowthBadger's 2019 traffic study of 3.25 billion website visits. "Build that synergy with the search engines, and your business gets the marketing publicity."
Mistake 5: Inconsistency of How Your Business Presents Itself. Search Engine Land reports that 73% of people lose trust when they see incorrect business information on online listings, such as on social media, and local directory websites and listings.
Alexander puts it simply: "When people look up your business name, and they see the search results, even 1 visible mistake or inconsistency could lose you business. If it's a problem in Houston, it sure as heck is a problem everywhere else. Please, present yourself better."
One of Agency Intelligence Houston's digital marketing services addresses inconsistency, and a business brand's overall search appearance, including suppressing unfounded negative press or unrelated content that could be hurting the business, whether locally in a city like Houston, or nationwide.
Mistake 6: Not Making Your Marketing Message Exciting. Alexander says that he values excitement, energy and fun. He brings these values to his marketing work. "When your message motivates your audience to get out of their place of pain and into a place of pleasure, that's what yanks them from the couch and makes them want to type in the digits of their credit card, begging the business to shut up and take their money."
"One of the biggest lessons I've learned is that when you come up with a marketing message, you have to get creative. Ever feel that your right brain is kind of weak? Sit down, just brainstorm on paper. Idea generation is key to cranking out great marketing message after great marketing message."
His philosophy: creativity and having fun lets the marketer de-stress, and makes their digital marketing job easier; hence making it easier for the target audience.
Alexander uses celebrity doctor Dr. Oz as an example. "When I was at CNN Center, where I was on a one-on-one Zoom with Dr. Oz, he said that the guests on his show are people who identify a problem that the audience has, and give them a solution that they love."
"That couldn't be truer. Whenever he brings on a guest expert, their solution always feels new and exciting. Excitement is a key theme of the Dr. Oz show."
"Time and time again, I've seen that the best performing marketing campaigns and messages are also the most exciting, and even humorous."
For more detailed advice on how to correct and prevent marketing mistakes, Houston businesses can contact Agency Intelligence on their website, or call their toll free line at 1-855-958-5788. Alexander works directly with applicants to create a detailed analysis of their "ABC's of Marketing:" advertising, branding, and content marketing.
Agency Intelligence is headquartered in Houston, Texas, and has offices in Toronto, Canada and New York. It provides marketing services to clients throughout Greater Houston as well as nationwide.