Can Software Replace Your Digital Marketing Company?
There are dozens of companies that promise effective digital marketing solutions through software. While such platforms serve as a good foundation, they are only part of the solution.
It really takes someone who understands the needs of small businesses to determine what’s important to the decision maker. The process of developing a digital marketing strategy is similar to that of a typical design project; it’s crucial to determine the client’s success criteria. Accordingly, the following questions should be answered:
- Do I want to build brand recognition?
- Do I want to drive more traffic to my website, or do I really want more leads and conversions?
- Do I want to expand my customer base beyond my city/state/region?
- Do I want to roll out a new product or a new service?
Applied analytics is another key to marketing success. Pre-packaged solutions don’t include the services of a strategist who analyzes your market, visitor demographics, and traffic patterns. Templates and pre-written content don’t offer content optimization services or add functionality to your site.
Businesses that use canned content eventually lose position in search results. Launched in 2012, Google’s "Webspam Update," … soon after dubbed "Penguin." ... adjusted a number of spam factors, including keyword stuffing, and impacted an estimated 3.1% of English queries.”* Many retailers who ranked in the top 50 before Penguin’s launch suffered a precipitous drop.
In one such case, a prominent furniture retailer took what seemed like a reasonable step in populating their site content: they used the content provided to them by the manufacturers of the products they were selling. Unfortunately, so did each of their competitors. When Penguin was released, they suddenly found themselves shot to the bottom of Google's rankings. This retailer quickly realized that the needed to write unique content…for each of the thousands of products in their inventory. This was no small undertaking. But, Google ultimately rewarded the retailer by restoring their keyword rankings...but it took some time to recover. While they ultimately ended up with a superior site, there is no way they'll be able to replace the lost revenue that a "canned" content marketing strategy cost them.
It’s true there are economies of scale in pre-written content. Initially, it appears you’re getting a great value for a small- to moderate investment, but that investment doesn’t necessarily translate into an effective and sustainable marketing strategy. Content is king, and there are plenty of capable writers, eager to serve.
Bottom line: marketing to humans takes human labor and human interaction. Human capital will make the decisive difference between the success of your digital marketing efforts versus reliance on a platform that allows you to submit a feature request without adapting to the changing needs of your business. Whether you choose to do it yourself or hire a marketing specialist, be sure you have your content marketing success criteria clearly defined, and then to allocate the resources to achieve them.
*Source: Moz, Google Algorithm Change History