The notion that online is always simple, fast and easy, has led to an increasing number of entrepreneurs, startups and small businesses, hiring sub par online marketing service providers which leave them feeling duped, deceived and lost.
Presently, brands are desperately seeking a rare species of marketers, known alternatively as Data Scientists or Marketing Engineers. Sadly, along the path to the Internet’s gold rush, there were many unskilled Internet marketers who mislead, misrepresented and failed to help business owners create a clear path to success.
So, should social media be a B2B-free zone? Social and mobile channels are growing exponentially but do they meet your marketing expectations? And, is bigger data better data? Is your data big enough, how big?
We’re debunking some of the biggest digital marketing myths and revealing the truth behind these major misconceptions. Here’s a look at what you need to know:
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Myth#1: B2B marketers should steer clear of social media.
Some business owners believe the only digital channel that matters for B2B marketing is traditional web advertising. B2B marketers are hesitant to use social media because they see it as not only a consumer haven, but also as a place for business-free downtime.
For B2B marketers, on the contrary, social media presents an opportunity to associate a face with business and connect on a personal, deeper level. Social and mobile channels are essential and some of the fastest growing digital channels.
Irrespective of the age bracket, the use of mobile devices is growing at an astronomical rate (e.g., are you reading this on your mobile device?), and social channels such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are becoming increasingly powerful channels for driving business and reaching to your customers.
Myth#2: My target audience is vast and wide.
If you think your target audience is narrow and specific enough, think again. Identifying ideal customers can be a tedious balancing act for brands behind products and services that are universally appealing.
Casting a wide net often signifies a lack of focus, which typically harms you more than it helps. You have to zero in on specific, niche characteristics, even within a potentially vast demographic of customers.
Trying to please everyone is a noble goal, but this tactic is seldom successful. It’s better to target five people that will truly love your brand, rather than fifty people that kind of like it.
Myth#3: Social media shortens sales cycles.
Any integrated marketing plan would comprise social media, but many of us overlook analytics beyond likes, re-tweets or shares (which, in some cases, can be passive). It doesn’t imply that a person clicked your link, read your content or bought from your brand.
Tracking social followers through to conversion requires some backtracking to identify the best indicators of a high value customer and is a long funnel. Referrer statistics from social properties may be a start to determine drivers, but they need to connect to other social data. This backtracking will show where to focus your efforts for maximum payoff if social is important to your brand.
Myth#4: More email opens means better prospects.
To think of more email opens as an indication of growing interest is tempting, but it’s not always the case. If someone is truly interested, they’re likely to engage before the seventh open.
Once you get past that point, the odds of a sale are slim to none and while four opens may be better than two, eight opens might actually be worse. Revisited marketing content is a good indication and presents an opportunity for improvement. It means the content is attention-getting and relevant, but is missing that deal-closing quality, and that’s something that needs to be added.
Myth#5: Bigger data, better data.
Big data is becoming increasingly instrumental in helping marketers develop a better, more well-rounded understanding of their customers. However, drawing from too many data points can actually dilute key insight, and distract from the information the marketer is trying to glean.
Business owners should ask themselves, “Are we collecting data in a way that will help drive key decisions?” Otherwise, it’s a waste of resources. Social data, for example, is difficult to tie directly to conversion – it’s more useful for building brand awareness and recognition.
So, should social data play a role in the pipeline? Definitely, as long as there are analytics tools in place that will digest the data to ensure that it’s meeting the business’ needs.
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Myth#6: Online marketing is more hassle than it’s worth.
Don’t be so hard on yourself. It’s just another tool in your marketing toolkit. Your understanding of what can and can’t be measured is limited to your understanding of the data.
Identify the consumer experience that you want to deliver, what your consumer will value, and that will deliver results for your business. Then determine how best to execute that experience in the digital space.
There’s no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to digital marketing. What works for one business may not work for another, so when it comes to these marketing myths, don’t believe the hype.
This article was first published here.