When it comes to creating a digital marketing strategy, the tools available to do so are almost limitless. While this can certainly be a boon to small business owners, it can also create a challenge in and of itself. The wider the number of options available, the harder it can be to make a choice. In the US in particular, we can actually suffer from something known as “decision fatigue.”
Choosing between a wide variety of options actually takes a great deal of time and energy that we often don’t have. One way we combat this in our daily lives is to either find something we like and stick with it or find some other way of narrowing our options.
When it comes to just the vast number of personal hygiene items you use daily such as soap, shampoo, toothpaste, deodorant or mouthwash, you probably either use the same brand you have used for years or you buy whatever is on sale. Either one of these options helps you minimize the time it takes you to choose from the vast assortment of available products.
Another strategy for navigating successfully through life is to simply be constantly narrowing down your options. This is not just a good strategy for life, it’s also a great strategy for business – and not just small businesses either. In fact, it is also the formula for success for many large corporations.
Take Apple for instance. Again and again, Apple turns its attention to one product, one demographic or one aspect of building an electronic device. That focus may change over time, but Apple’s obsession with narrowing their focus down to one thing again and again is probably key to their becoming the world’s first trillion dollar company. Steve Jobs himself became famous for wearing a black turtleneck and Levi’s jeans every single day. He himself acknowledged that this helped streamline his decision making process every day and left him free to spend more energy making more important decisions throughout the day.
When it comes to marketing, simpler is better. Here are 4 ways to simplify your digital marketing strategy.
- Choose one or two things and focus all of your efforts on them
While the old saying “don’t put all your eggs in one basket” holds just as true for digital marketing as for anything else, putting your eggs in too many different baskets can be just as damaging. The more balls you have, the more balls you have to juggle.
No matter what aspect of digital marketing you are taking about, from social media outlets to ad campaigns, choose one or two and stick with them. This means choosing one or two social media outlets, one or two marketing strategies and even one or two target demographics. The more specific you are about what you want to do and who you want to market to, the more likely you are to be successful.
- Give it time
Like anything else in life, digital marketing does not bear fruit overnight. All too often, when something doesn’t seem to immediately be working, small business owners can scrap a solid strategy and move on to something else.
While there is always room to tweak, toy and tinker with your digital marketing campaigns, you also have to give them time to work. If you make an investment, you probably wouldn’t expect a significant ROI in a week or two and the same is true of your digital marketing strategies.
- Set goals around a few key metrics and forget the rest
These days, there are performance measurements available for almost everything. If you focus on too many, however, you can end up essentially chasing your tail. The truth is that in marketing as in life, increases in one area will almost always lead to losses in another.
That is just life. The trick is to figure out which gains are most significant and which losses are most acceptable.
For instance, if you decide to focus your marketing efforts on the 18-24 demographic, those efforts will most likely lead to some losses in the 40+ demographics. In marketing as in life, you can’t do it all and you can’t please everyone. Figure out your target goal, target audience or target market, focus on that and forget the rest.
- Automate all you can
Automation is one of small business owners’ best friends. While small business owners have to wear a wide variety of hats, trying to to wear them all at once just leads to chaos. With automation, you can sit down once and queue up several e-mails to go out weekly, monthly or when someone signs up for your mailing list.
In fact, you can automate your entire mailing list so that when someone signs up, they automatically get a welcome e-mail and then a follow-up e-mail every week. You can also automate social media posting and even schedule bill pay to pay for it.
The movie City Slickers became famous for a specific scene in which an aging cowboy gave some very simple life advice to a young city boy. He held up his finger and told him to focus on the one thing. When asked what that was, he responded that you choose one thing, focus on that and don’t worry about the rest. Not only is this great life advice, it’s great marketing advice.
Joe Peters is a Baltimore-based freelance writer and an ultimate tech enthusiast. When he is not working his magic as a marketing consultant, this incurable tech junkie enjoys reading about latest apps and gadgets and binge-watching his favorite TV shows. You can reach him @bmorepeters