February 01, 2022

Digital Marketing is Not a F*cking Spectator Sport

  • Author: JobProgress LLC
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The benefits of digital marketing have been lauded for years, and a quick Google search will pull up literally thousands of articles with tips on how to do it well, ideas on how to rig the system and even stories of how companies have grown exponentially due to their efforts. Some of these are true, others are false, but there is plenty of evidence that creating a solid online presence for your business is a good overall marketing strategy.

On the flip side, I am willing to bet that you have received one, if not hundreds, of emails from random companies who promise to take this over for you and get you to the top of any search for <insert your home improvement specialty here> with no effort on your part. On this I am calling bullshit.

Let me explain why by using a comparison nearly all of us can relate to. Who hasn't at some point in their life wanted to be more thin or fit? While there are plenty of fad diets and training programs that promise you the moon, we all know that if you don’t put in the work yourself, any results that do occur will be lackluster – and short lived – at best. While we all wish there was that magic pill that would make our fitness dreams come true, we also all know deep down that if we don't make changes to our lifestyle, diet, and exercise patterns on a consistent basis, we won't see lasting results. You know your body better than anyone, and if you don't track your efforts and take responsibility yourself, don't expect to meet your goals. Its that simple.

Yet, this is what I see ALL THE TIME when it comes to digital marketing strategy – or frankly marketing in general. Too many people are all sorts of gung-ho at the beginning (like a commitment to lose weight on January 1), but after a few weeks they lose interest (like sticking to a fitness plan after January 20). It is exciting to start something new; the hard part is doing the work, maintaining a level of enthusiasm, tracking the impact of your efforts, and following through.

Before I go too far down this rabbit hole, let me clearly state that digital marketing should be one of many variables in your overall marketing plan. It should also include myriad other things including your website, advertising, direct mail, trade shows, referrals, truck messaging, billboards, networking with local business owners and all of it should be built on a strong brand and company messaging. But unlike some of these efforts (say painting your logo on your trucks), digital marketing requires consistent review and participation from someone in your company, ideally someone who has a strong grasp of your growth goals and ideal target clients.

Unfortunately, it is frequently not well understood by your average business owner and rife with shysters who will happily take your money by promising the moon and delivering nothing. If you want to shovel your money into a fireplace with a "set it and forget it" digital marketing strategy, feel free. But if you want to take advantage of this powerful marketing opportunity, you must be in it for it to work. Make sure you answer questions like:

  • Who is my ideal client? (It often helps to create an ideal client profile so you and everyone on the team can literally picture who this person is.)
  • Where do they live? (Identify the areas where you prefer to work and consider hyper-targeted messaging to those that live there.)
  • What services/products do I want to sell the most? (Start by looking at which ones are most profitable, how many people you have on your team to deliver those services, which ones are least impacted by supply chain issues, etc.)
  • What messages will be the most compelling to this group of people? (Ideally, you can do what is called A/B testing to compare results of two different ads.)
  • Where are these clients most likely to see your digital advertising? (Should you spend your money on Google or social media ads? Have you optimized your website with keywords and phrases that your ideal audience is likely to use in a search? What information is out there about response rates that other construction companies have experienced?)

This is just scratching the surface, but you can quickly see that no outside firm can have a deep enough understanding of your business to answer any of these questions, let alone all of them and more. What they do know is how digital marketing works, so I am not saying that you don’t need an agency or outside person’s expertise. What I am saying is that you both bring certain knowledge and expertise to the table and that both are needed for it to work.

Once you do initiate a digital campaign, your work is just beginning. On at least a monthly basis, if not more often, you should sit down with your digital experts and review reports that answer questions like what is working, what is your cost per lead by platform, what is your return-on-investment month over month, which ads are getting more clicks that lead to business, and so much more. Over time you will see positive trends which will indicate where you will want to spend more of your money, and others that aren’t working as well where you may reduce your spend. But be involved so you know where your money is going and how effectively it is working!

I know about this as more than a user. We recently partnered with a digital marketing company and are offering this as an add on for Job Progress customers. We have nine different offerings so depending on your goals and company size, you can choose the one that is the best fit for you. We will not, however, work with any company that does not want to be involved on a strategic level and will not commit to review and discuss the results monthly. And anyone who says they will is selling you snake oil.