Every Marketing Strategy Has Gaps: How Are You Shoring Yours Up?
A comprehensive digital marketing strategy requires skilled knowledge in many fields. From SEO and content to inbound marketing, do you have the capacity and the skill to handle every piece effectively? Most marketers know the basics of each digital marketing channel, however, you must resist the temptation to believe that surface knowledge is sufficient. Instead, think about the best ways to shore up the gaps in your marketing strategy by building partnerships and teams that specialize in specific marketing strategies so each effort will be more successful.
Evaluate Your Marketing Strengths and Weaknesses
Now is the perfect time to admit that you don't really understand all the ins-and-outs of the newest algorithm update from Google or how to optimize your content specifically for local SEO. The first step to shoring up your gaps is to acknowledge them. Start by making a list of the areas you need help.
Then, be honest with yourself about how much you need to know to be an expert in those areas and if you have the time and resources to educate yourself. Remember, it's ok if you don’t know something and it’s okay if you don’t have the capacity to take on more work at this time! We specialize in inbound and content marketing and we know how hard it is for others to implement a full-blown inbound marketing campaign. It’s time consuming and even though we specialize in it, we’re constantly learning more as content needs and technology evolve to fit consumers.
We're certainly not trying to discourage you from learning new skills; instead, we believe you should start building a solid marketing strategy by identifying what you are really good at and dedicating your efforts to that specialty. For the rest, reach out to those who are already experts. If you are an agency, building a partnership with other agencies with complementary specialties is a great way to incorporate expertise into your strategies. If you're not a large agency, then focus on building a team of people who can individually handle each element well.
Building partnerships with other agencies will not only bolster your own offerings, but it will also allow you to lend your expertise to others who need it. Your first priority should be to focus on trust. Worrying whether your partners will meet your needs or try to roll your clients is no way to do business. Other areas to focus on include:
- Specialized Knowledge. Unless you're looking at a massive agency, find one that specializes in one or two areas of marketing where you need the most help — PR, local SEO, content, or email marketing. It is better to have several specialized partners than one do-it-all partner that falls short of your expectations.
- Shared Values and Work Ethic. There is no "good" and "bad" here, only a need to find a good match. If you tend to work at a relaxed pace with a moderately filled schedule, you might feel terrorized by the frenzied pace of a busy, fast-paced agency. The reverse is true, too: you might find an easygoing pace unacceptable if you are accustomed to moving things along quickly.
- Proven Track Record. You've been honest with yourself about where you are falling short so be sure to partner with an agency that has proven its ability to provide the right marketing strategy to close your knowledge gaps.
- Client Examples. To go along with a proven track record, ask to see a portfolio of clients achieving the marketing results you seek. In addition to success, you want to make sure that the method and results match what you would want for your own clients.
In-House Marketing Teams
If you are a small business or a startup, building your marketing dream team might seem like a daunting task. Sometimes, not knowing where to start can be enough to prevent you from moving forward.
Don't worry. While building an awesome team is an essential task, it is not an impossible one when you know which pieces you need. HubSpot recommends these key players:
- The Search Expert. On the user end, Google appears to be a steady, ever-present internet guide that's ready to help you find anything and get anywhere. On the marketer side, Google appears to be in a constant state of change and it sometimes feels like they are deliberately trying to thwart the efforts of marketers. You need a search expert by your side at all times.
- The Writer. Content is the driving force behind every digital marketing effort. Whether you're keeping a blog consistently updated, creating a press release, or working on premium pieces of content like ebooks, a good writer will make sure your content machine is always running.
- The Website Guru. Outsourcing a major build or rebuild of your website might be the right move. However, when it comes to the day-to-day operation of your marketing department, you need a designer and developer in-house who will dedicate her time to making sure consumer interaction with your website is superb.
- The Numbers Person. Someone has to crunch the numbers, and there are people out there who absolutely adore that task. Find someone who loves uncovering the human behavior behind the numbers so your whole team has the information they need to make the right choices for you and your customers.
- The Leader. Every pack needs a leader, and energy is the qualifier you should be seeking. Find someone who will inspire your team to be amazing every day, and someone who isn't afraid to dig in and get dirty with everyone else. Spend plenty of time interviewing candidates for this position as it is imperative that the leader of your marketing department has the same passion that you do.
Once you have your team assembled, play to their strengths. Identify what each member does best and find out in which directions they are trying to grow. As much as possible, you want to nurture your team and allow them to work on projects that give them satisfaction as these tend to be the ones that turn out the best. Encouraging growth will also benefit you and your team as it leads to better work and more job satisfaction.
Providing the Right Resources
In the same way that you're not going to throw your company's social media strategy on an intern's to-do list and only provide him with a couple hours per week to manage the task, you don't want to ask the same of your marketing partners or internal team. Providing the tools and the time necessary to execute a strategy is the only way to get results.
Make sure you spend enough time planning your strategies — and that you're planning them well enough in advance — that your partners and your team can succeed. Make sure your budget is also in-line with your strategy and your expectations for results. Nothing will sink your big plans or frustrate your team faster than running out of cash mid-campaign.
An Honest Path to Success
When you know yourself, your business, and your limitations, you will find that you have a distinct advantage over your competitors. Rather than overestimating your abilities or being too proud to admit when you need help, you will be busy developing partnerships that will strengthen your relationships with your customers and building new paths to acquire more leads. You will not be wasting time trying to learn new skills from scratch or spreading yourself too thin. Instead, you will have the freedom to leave some tasks to the experts so you can focus on those tasks you do best. Your business will be stronger, more successful, and leaps ahead of the competition.