How in the heck do I get a handle on digital marketing?

/ / Digital Marketing

Every single business owners prospect I’ve talked to in the last 10 years wants the same thing… they want to feel like they have a handle on digital marketing.

The conversation always starts with something like this…

Where do I start? How do I know if it’s working? How do we implement such and such? How do I know if this vendor is screwing me? Why am I getting all these messages saying my site can’t be found in search? Is there any way I can just do this in house? How do I manage my in-house employees?

Digital marketing seems like it should be simple, but it’s so damn hard to do right.

Over the years, we’ve developed a 5 step process for helping high end business owners get their digital marketing efforts under control and pointed in the right direction which I’m going to share with you here. Let’s jump right in…

Step 1 – Identify what you’re already paying for

A shocking number of businesses are spending money on digital marketing but don’t know what for. Maybe they signed up for a bundle, maybe they’re paying an outside agency, or maybe they hired someone internally to run digital.

Either way, they still don’t understand what their money is going towards and what it’s producing.

That’s why step 1 is to review your contracts and employee job duties to get a clear understanding of what you’re spending money on and why.

It’s also really important at this stage to review your contracts. Look at when they end and how you might terminate them early if necessary.


Step 2 – Stop the bleeding

If Step #1 uncovers a mess (and it often does), put the brakes on until you get it figured out.

If that means you need to pause an AdWords campaign on skip sending out the monthly newsletter with awful content, do it. You’re wasting time, money or both.

Also, if you’re stuck in a bad contract, don’t just live with it. You have options.

You can put pressure on your contracted vendors to improve their results or provide additional services if they want to retain your business after the contract expires. This often produces a short term improvement in results.

But if the situation is bad enough, you might just have to bite the bullet and cancel your contract. I’ve seen many vendors threaten legal action or collection and not make good on those threats.

Step 3 – Get some outside help

Once you’ve taken an inventory of your current activities and put a tourniquet on the bleeding, it might be time for some outside help.

Most people wind up in this situation because they simply don’t understand the specifics of digital marketing. And the only way to fix that is to get educated.

Now, this doesn’t mean you have to learn how to do digital marketing. But you do have to get a better understanding.

There are plenty of options for affordable outside help that don’t involve marketing agencies.

Google and Facebook both have their own training academies – and they’re free. Check those out.

And there are amazing organizations like who offer first rate training and certifications. Even vendors like Hubspot have free certifications you can study.

Or perhaps you need some one on one attention. In this case a consultant or agency might be a good fit. But approach it with the idea of getting trained and learning how you can transition into eventually doing it in-house rather than simply outsourcing and hoping the problem will go away.

Step 4 – Change your oversight duties

Regardless of what direction you choose, you have to look in the mirror and resolve to improve your role in the oversight of your digital marketing.

Just because you hired an employee to manage it, found a different vendor or hired a new agency doesn’t mean you can assume the results will be any better.

Here’s the biggest secret I can share with you – the clients who pay the MOST attention to their digital marketing get the best results. Period.

In your case that might mean regular status meetings with a vendor or employee, more transparent reporting, or even a subscription to a training program.

The closer you watch it, the more you learn and the better your results will be.

Step 5 – Develop your in-house resources

No matter how happy you are with your vendors, agency or in-house staff, the goal should be to eventually transition as much of as possible to being done in-house.

Regardless of what anyone else tells you, no outside agency or vendor will ever handle your digital marketing as well as you potentially can.

You’ve got to start the transition somewhere.

Maybe you start with a part-time person on an outsource basis. Maybe you hire a 2nd or third person to split up existing duties.

Give those people the training and supervision they need to succeed.

Bonus Step – Stop beating yourself up

Digital marketing is a fast-paced, ever evolving thing. What worked 2-3 years ago might not work today. And the new technology will jump up so fast it will make your head spin.

Even people who work in the industry struggle to keep up and feel confident about what they’re doing.

You already have a job to do – running your high end business. Focus on that. But like with your health or your finances, strive to learn more about digital marketing. The more you know the better you can manage it.