One Year in Digital Marketing: What I Learned

By | Small Business

A Little Background

Just 12 months ago I was cleaning windows full-time and going to school. I worked for my family’s small company so naturally I was part technician, CMO, janitor, and as my dad always said, “Head Gofer.” I studied communication after a few years in the radio industry doing promotions. I always wanted to do something exciting but sustainable.

I got my start in digital marketing at a large SEO agency as a Google Maps analyst. Quickly I became a SEO analyst and ended up as lead of the Strategic Team. A few months later an opportunity arose to create a digital team from the ground up at a full-service marketing agency. I jumped on the opportunity and haven’t looked back.

The Lessons:

Friends and family won’t understand what I do

When I got my first “career job” I was excited to tell everyone that would listen. Trying to explain what I do to people, people who use the Internet 25 times per day, is nearly impossible.  This was disappointing at first. My friends and family would ask how the new job was going and by the time I said the words “meta tag” they regretted asking.  The content writer at the office wrote a whole piece about “How to Explain SEO to People Who Will Never Understand It” for all the technical types who share our pain.

don draper digital marketing

Photo credit: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/20140612121144-237838958-don-draper-wouldn-t-recognise-75-of-what-we-do

Marketing is sexy, but what I do is still pretty nerdy

I wanted to tell every one I was the Don Draper of the Internet, or at least Elon Musk. Turns out SEO and PPC are about as sexy as Bill Gates. The more I can work on graphic heavy and creative campaigns in the digital space the more I feel like a real marketer and less like a developer.

SEO doesn’t exist in a vacuum

If you are still doing SEO without graphic design, social integration, solid web design, and at least some consideration of a PPC strategy, just stop! If you’re reading this piece you should know why. If not, look it up. It’s been known for longer than I’ve been in the industry. There is still an overwhelming amount of agencies whose strategies include two parts: link building and keyword stuffing.

Now days SEO isn’t about shortcuts, its about providing as much value to users as possible. You can t go wrong by providing a large amount of information that is well organized, grammatically correct and original. A lot of the traditional SEO items are still important but they are really just perquisites more than a strategic advantage.

The Internet refreshes every 2 years

We all know about Google’s constant changing algorithms. But the Internet as a whole is a changing at a wild pace. Every aspect of digital marketing has changed and will continue to change. The hot social network, browser capabilities, mobile data speeds, screen sizes and resolution, data granularity, audience targeting… You name it its going to be completely different in 2 years. So stay fresh, keep reading, learning, and evolving. Don’t get left behind.

Digital Marketing Takes A Small Village, or at Least A Super Squad

This goes back the Integrated SEO section again. If your social media guy is taking screen shots of a clients website to use as a cover photo on Facebook, it’s going to look like Bill Gates. Digital marketing needs continuity just like print marketing. Being involved in a sites architecture from the planning stage has helped me map out my keywords and topics across a site, as well as channel link equity to the desired locations. If you have everyone at the creative brief, no one can complain later that the site doesn’t help him or her do their job, whether it’s PPC, social media, SEO or the creative direction.  One of my favorite blog posts this year was by Rebecca Murtagh about the importance of having a whole team to design a website.

The Client ISN’T Always Right

In fact most the time they are wrong. Like I said earlier, most people don’t understand what it is I do, and this includes clients. The knowledge base of each client is drastically different. I’ve been asked by clients, “why aren’t we talking to mommy blogs to write about my drain cleaning?” Then I have to follow that with a ten minute explanation about why a link from The Mommy Magic Blog with a DA of 8 that typically talks about children’s crafts isn’t going to help them rank.

Most of my client meetings are spent educating, not selling or ever strategizing. If someone has paid for SEO before, chances are they had a bad experience. It’s our jobs to teach clients what white-hat quality work looks like and set realistic expectations with them up front, effectively finding the reset button to clear the brainwashing the last agency laid on them.  I believe it’s important to stand your ground and do what’s right for both you and the client. Don’t let your companies’ reputation be damaged by a stubborn client.

In Closing

I sort of stumbled into this industry but am happy to be here. The Internet isn’t going anywhere; let’s all try and make it a better place. I wasn’t around for the “glory days of SEO” but I would love to see it go to a place where people are doing honest work that they are proud of.

This article was syndicated from Business 2 Community: One Year in Digital Marketing: What I Learned

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