Here’s a conversation that happens frequently for us. “Tim told us you do Facebook ads — can you help?” or “We need SEO.” While we are always grateful for a referral, my first question in conversations like this is: “Why?”
Unfortunately, the most common responses from prospective clients are that they don’t know or that someone told them to do it.
Can most businesses benefit from Facebook ads? Of course. Is SEO important, especially in today’s competitive digital climate? You bet.
But here’s what’s critical to understand: a single tactic, or even a collection of tactics, won’t move the needle on your marketing.
Think of it like tires on a car. Having one big off-road tire on one side and a donut spare tire on the other would make your car very imbalanced. Having only two tires won’t get you anywhere, either. You need to have a full set of tires that are the right size and that all point in the same direction in order to go anywhere.
Effective marketing requires a direction, a goal (think of it like your destination). What are you aiming toward? What does your business really need? Keep in mind that your company’s needs are different than someone else’s — even if you’re in the same industry. Each tactic — each tire — should be aimed in the direction of your overall goals and work to get you there.
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How to Identify the Right Marketing Tactics
Can you upgrade to race-ready performance tires? Sure, but they might be a bit much for your Honda Civic that you use to drop the kids off at school or drive to a coffee shop. Similarly, SEO might be needed for your website, but if you aren’t regularly reaching out to your current customers, then you’re missing out on a much bigger opportunity.
Here’s an example. If you’re an IT services provider, your potential and current customers aren’t likely to really engage with you on social media — no matter how cool and engaging your post about cybersecurity might be. Buying Google Ads for people searching for “IT services near me” is likely a better tactic than creating social media posts.
Marketing strategy doesn’t have to be complicated — it is simply knowing the best ways to reach your audience and ensuring those ladder up to a bigger goal. No business has unlimited time or resources (except maybe Apple) so it’s key to figure out what is truly going to be effective in reaching your goals and prioritizing those activities.
This type of targeted approach has been part of my business’ values since I launched it. I don’t take the easy money when it isn’t the best thing to do for our clients. We have turned down potential clients because they were set on one specific tactic without really knowing how it fit into their marketing mix.
My team doesn’t have a preference or bias toward just one area of marketing, like social media, because it may not be the best tactic for a specific client. Doing what’s right for the business is the only guiding principle we have.
So no, I won’t just do Facebook ads, unless I’m confident that they’re an appropriate and effective part of a bigger marketing plan. I’ll continue asking “Why?” and helping clients hone in on the best way forward, the best tires to invest in.