The Difference Between Interest and Commitment in Digital Marketing

commitment to digital marketing

In listening to a recent Rich Roll podcast, he and his guest were talking about the difference between being interested in something and committing to something. Hmmm, this got me thinking. This difference between interest and commitment is the same throughout so many aspects of our lives – work, personal growth, health, wealth building, business growth, and more. To demonstrate this point, indulge me as I use another triathlon analogy.

So you want to do a triathlon and do well at it. The first step for many is to sign up for a race. Simply signing up for a race does not mean that you will finish the race or do well at it. It shows that you are interested in racing a triathlon. You want to do well at your first race so you purchase a training plan or hire a coach. The action of buying a training plan or hiring a coach shows that you’re interested in doing well in triathlon, but that action alone does not mean you will do well in a triathlon. Commitment is doing work every day to get you closer to doing well in your race. It’s following your training plan as written even if that means getting up early every morning. It means making better choices about the food you eat, and prioritizing good sleep every night. It means missing brunch with your girlfriends to do a long run instead. Going to brunch and talking about your upcoming triathlon shows that you’re interested. Doing that long run shows you’re committed.

How does this relate to digital marketing? It is very common for business owners to read about the latest “thing” in digital marketing. Every week I have someone approach me and say “I need SEO” or “I want my business to be on social media”. While both of these tactics can be important pieces of your business’s overall digital marketing strategy, as standalone services they may not help you accomplish your business goals. And beyond my insistence that we talk about your business goals before deciding which tactics are best, almost all digital marketing tactics require commitment from your digital marketer AND the business owner. Reading about the latest digital marketing tactics show that you have an interest, but success comes from commitment.

Below, I’ve given some examples of the type of commitment that’s required in order to be the most successful with these digital marketing tactics. At FGM Internet Marketing, we work extremely hard to develop and implement the best digital marketing strategies for our clients, but our years of experience have shown us that if the business does not have the time or commitment to do things well, they will not get the best results for their marketing spend.

Commitment to SEO

Search engine optimization (SEO) has been a hot topic with website owners ever since it became a “thing” way back in 1997. Most people think that SEO is getting your website to the top of search engine results. The issue with that thinking is the over simplification of what search engines are and how they work. Briefly, everyone’s search engine results are different depending on their location, device, search term, and search history so “being number 1 on Google” is a misnomer.

Onsite SEO is a service that can be performed by a digital marketer with the least amount of input from the website owner. The website/business owner does need to understand their customers, what they’re likely to be searching for on search engines, and inform the digital marketer of this.

Ongoing SEO is really where this tactic takes flight and sees the most benefit for the website owner. SEO is a long term commitment and revolves around creating relevant and compelling content. Content can come in the form of blog posts, videos, images, or a combination of all of these. Search engines like to see a website that’s updated regularly. Their bots will visit it more often, it shows that the business is open and operating, and you get to demonstrate your expertise by expounding on your product or service.

Great SEO takes the following commitment from the website/business owner:

  • Commitment to create or help create fantastic content on a regular basis.
  • Understanding that SEO is a long term process that requires months to years to see results.
  • Investing in ongoing website development to keep up with UX/UI, mobile-friendliness, and other technological advances.

Commitment to Social Media

Social media is another hot topic for business owners. We’ve all heard of the kids making thousands of dollars off of YouTube or being Insta-famous, but it’s a mistake to think that simply getting on a social media platform will make your sales skyrocket.

In many ways, social media is pulling back the curtain on what’s going on in a business. Great social media accounts don’t hide behind corporate logos or language. They actively converse and invite conversation with their fans and followers. A business owner must be prepared to pierce the veil and let people into their business. Otherwise, you’re just blasting advertising messages, and we all see enough of them every day (a 2007 study says that we’re exposed to 5,000 ads per day).

Great social media takes the following commitment from the business owner:

  • An openness in sharing what their business is about. Think about sharing photos from the company picnic, sharing what causes and charities are important to the business, and be ready to answer questions and complaints on a public platform.
  • The understanding that social media is a long term strategy. It takes time to grow followers, develop your audience, and turn them into brand advocates.
  • A willingness to be truly authentic. Anything less than authentic will not fly on social media.
  • Allocating time and resources to create compelling social media content. Great posts don’t happen with a click of a button. Consider investing in professional photography and videography, and a professional writer. A well-crafted social media post takes hours, not minutes, to compose.

Commitment to Email Marketing

Email marketing may not be the latest and greatest. In fact email marketing conjures images of those annoying, daily emails you get from every online retailer you’ve ever bought something from. But there’s a reason companies still invest in these emails – they work! Daily emails may not be appropriate for your business, but email marketing does have a place in your digital strategy if you want to increase customer loyalty and upsell to current customers (it is much easier to sell something to a person who has purchased from you before than to convert a completely cold lead).

A pitfall with many digital marketing channels, the platform providers try to appeal to everyone by making their platform easy to use. You, too, can be a marketer! It’s just a simple drag and drop. It’s true that these platforms can be easy to use, but dragging and dropping an image from your desktop into an email means nothing if there isn’t a purpose behind the email. One doesn’t just send emails to send emails.

Great email marketing takes the following commitment from the business owner:

  • Developing a database of email addresses, with the appropriate opt in, or understanding your current database of customers.
  • Spending time thinking about the purpose of your email campaigns, and developing a plan and content schedule.
  • Allocating resources to design the emails, write content, and allowing time for testing.
  • Understanding that it’s a long term strategy. It may take months or years to see a return on your email campaigns.
  • Serious commitment would be to hire an email marketing expert with experience in nurture campaigns.

Commitment to E-commerce

E-commerce falls under the misconception of “if you build it, they will come”. If only that were true. Building an online store will not magically have people buying your products. While everyone is accustomed to buying online, we all still need a level of trust before typing in our credit card details. That trust either comes in the form of shopping with an established brand (think Amazon), or through developing a fantastic user-experience. If there are any hiccups or unusual activities happening in the process of buying something online, you will lose that customer. And this is predicated on people actually finding and coming to your website!

Great e-commerce takes the following commitment from the business owner:

  • Investing your time, or hiring someone, to work on the UX/UI and SEO for your website.
  • Analyzing data, like shopping cart abandonment, and testing different layouts and user flows to optimize the shopping experience.
  • Focus placed on driving traffic to the website, whether that’s through search rankings, search ads, social media, or email marketing, but most likely a combination of all of these tactics.
  • Importance placed on developing a plan to scale, and having all the mechanisms in place to fulfill orders. What if your products are incredibly popular but you can’t deliver on time or at all? That’s the death knell for your online business.
  • Understanding that this is a long term investment. Overnight successes are few and far between. You need to be in it for the long haul.

Are You Committed or Interested in Digital Marketing?

This blog post is not written to discourage you from attempting digital marketing for your business. It’s simply a test to see if you are ready to be committed to digital marketing in order to make it successful. In every instance above, I’ve written “understand that this is a long term investment”. I think because the internet is so instantaneous – news spreads like wildfire on social media, it takes a few minutes to type up an email on your laptop or phone, and a video can go viral in the blink of an eye – there is a misconception that digital marketing is also instantaneous. That’s just not the case.

That YouTuber was vlogging for 2 years before anyone saw her channel. That Instagrammer posts 5 times a day, which takes hours to do. That daily eblast you get took a team of 6 to compose.

Ask yourself, are you committed to digital marketing? Or just interested? If you’re just interested, that’s fine! Read more, learn more, but maybe hold off on hiring a digital marketer and thinking that all of this will magically happen without your commitment.

If you’re committed to making digital marketing an integral part of your business plan, reach out to FGM Internet Marketing to make it happen. We’re committed to our clients, and we’re committed to doing great things online.

commitment to digital marketing