Before I make the grand reveal of what your # 1 digital marketing strategy will always be, a bold claim to be sure, let’s first look at the definition of strategy vs. tactics. When talking about marketing, in particular, digital marketing, unfortunately, these two tend to get conflated too often.
Strategy vs. Tactics
While this overview is not meant to be comprehensive, it’s best to think of the puzzle of strategy vs tactics as one that sits above the other. A strategy is a higher-level form of thinking and planning than specific tactics, i.e. while both define how you will achieve particular business objectives; strategies answer the following question: How will we get to our business goal or objective? Tactics, on the other hand, are more granular, they ask, how exactly will we get to our goal or objective?
Another way to think about it is that strategies are high-level enough that they often capitalize on your competitive or unfair advantages. How can you leverage what is unique and special to your business? Of course, this means that strategies are tied directly to your product or service.
Your #1 Digital Marketing Strategy
In my experience consulting for businesses of all sizes, I’ve frequently had to put a complete stop to the idea of spending more time and money on digital marketing efforts for them. Good for them, bad for me. But that’s ok because it was the right step to take. When you think about it, it’s so utterly simple and yet, businesses often mired in the day-to-day operations and minutiae of managing various aspects of their business, far too often forget. Your # 1 Digital Marketing Strategy, perhaps even your #1 overall marketing strategy will always be the quality of your product or service.
This point should seem incredibly obvious, but it is simultaneously the most significant opportunity for improving a company’s marketing efforts, and often it’s the biggest hindrance. Having been a part of hundreds of successful digital marketing campaigns, I can attest to the fact that the difference of promoting a product or service that is top-notch vs. only a subpar one, is night and day. When trying to advertise a product or service that doesn’t stand above its competitors, it’s an order of magnitude more difficult to be effective. As a result, digital marketing efforts are not nearly as successful and wind up costing far more than they should.
If you’ve ever wondered why certain products or services seem to go viral overnight or appear almost to sell themselves, it’s usually not because of luck. It’s because of a coordinated marketing campaign that in large part succeeds off the back of the quality of the product or service that it is advancing.
Connecting Quality and your Digital Marketing Efforts
First, let’s get past the idea that things exist outside of the digital realm. No part of your overall marketing strategy isn’t affected by digital efforts in some way. At least it shouldn’t be. That said let’s look at the specific ways in which the quality of your service or products may affect your digital marketing efforts:
According to a 2019 survey of consumers, Power Reviews revealed that 97% of consumers consult product reviews. A further 50% of consumers will write a review for a product or service they’ve used at some point after the purchase. 85% of consumers seek out negative reviews before making a purchase. Now let’s think about what that means. If your company is not producing a product or service that is garnering a vast majority of not just luke-warm 3 to 4-star reviews, but rather, outstanding 5-star reviews, you’re putting your company at a significant marketing disadvantage. After all, what’s the point of driving new leads or customers to the point of purchase, only to have them do the tiniest amount of Google searching to run across some disconcerting reviews that halt the purchasing process in it’s tracks? That’s one colossal waste of marketing dollars.
Communicating Your Value
Simply put, if you haven’t produced a product or service that is superior in some way to your competitors, unique in the market, or has some compelling, unique selling proposition, then communicating why someone should purchase from you instead of someone else is going to be a hard slog. It will hinder all of your digital marketing efforts, including the development of conversion prone website copy, content development, digital ad copy, and every other attempt at selling your wares.
Quality Opens Promotional Opportunities
It’s a business truism that people will pay more for a high-quality product or service. There are plenty of high-earning consumers that don’t mind paying the extra dollar. Why is this important? If you’re selling something with a higher level of built-in margin as a result of the perceived and actual quality you’ll ultimately have more room for promotions and effective discounting.
Instead of screaming into the eternal void of social media, first focus on creating something that people genuinely deem shareable. Create value. Create excitement. Create something so unique and undeniably impressive that your customers or potential customers do the marketing work for you. After all, high-quality offerings breed trust with your customers who will be happy to promote you to their friends, both online and offline. Think long and hard before rolling out any new service and product, what is the “shareability’ factor of this new offering? Is it awesome enough for people to take a moment of their time to share it? Yes? Good. No? Go back to the drawing board; trust me, it will be worth it in the end.
Passion Breeds Free Marketing
Something that you or your company have poured their hearts into and has resulted in an unmistakably incredible service or product often leads to the following:
- It produces marketing assets you need for effective digital marketing. Who wouldn’t want to see a time-lapse video of the craftsmanship that goes into creating your product or service?
- Passion for your offering and the craftsmanship, effort and care that goes into them is contagious. It often spreads to your employees and customers, who will often tell your stories for you.
A recent study by Moz on the importance of external links as a Google ranking factor further confirmed what competent SEO practitioners have known for years. Links are worth their weight in gold. If you sell something remarkable, adored by all who have been lucky enough to avail themselves of your product or service, you’ll be much more likely to gain a variety of organically produced links to your website. This will be a tremendous boon to your SEO ranking efforts for specific keywords you want to rank for. No-one wants to link to crappy products or services right?
When pouring money into digital advertising, and managing your ads, through either an in-house team or external agency, the job of creating compelling ad copy that converts at a profitable level is made much easier when the product or service is so compelling, the ad copy mostly writes itself. Wondering why your ads aren’t converting well? It may be a core issue with your product or service rather than any other problem.
Before spending a single dollar on your digital marketing efforts, consider the fact that everything you do going forward will be affected by the quality of your product or service. Is it something you can be proud of, is it something the world has never seen? Is it something that does the job so much better than any of its competitors? Is it a service that your community is much better off having? Be honest with yourself, and it will save you a ton of grief during all of your marketing efforts and may be the difference between your business succeeding or failing.