Although quite common now, the roles of digital marketers continue to evolve and expand.
There’s always a new platform your audience is using to communicate, a new tool for measuring analytics, and best practices can pivot on a dime when these platforms update their algorithms, interfaces, or policies.
With all of the constant updates and changes to best practices, digital marketers seem to have a slew of new challenges to overcome.
Like waves in the ocean against an inexperienced surfer, they just keep slamming into you one after another, over and over again.
But you’re not alone.
The problems you’re experiencing are not unique to you and your organization, these are shared issues many digital marketers face.
And the even better news is: There are solutions.
While every organization may face unique circumstances and hardships, let’s dive into the most common problems digital marketers face in their jobs.
Problem #1: “Where should I focus my effort?”
Stepping into the role of a digital marketer can be intimidating with so many digital avenues to consider.
There are blog articles to write, social media posts to develop, videos to shoot, emails to draft, premium offers to create, landing pages to craft, site pages to design, ad copy to cultivate, and press releases to...well, release.
And that’s just what’s due by Friday.
I’m just kidding, not every single one of these items needs to be hammered out by the end of the week, but it is true; there is a lot of ground to cover and content to create to truly be effective at digital marketing.
When looking at the long list of digital marketing tasks, the most important question you need to answer is: Where do you focus your time?
The size of your marketing team will determine how many of these tasks land on your desk, and how many can be dispersed.
Larger organizations often have marketing teams of several members, each specializing in their own area.
Content managers in charge of the blog and email copy, videographers for videos, social media managers for social monitoring and posting, designers to keep your site pages user friendly, and a PR person to...you know, do press releases.
However, for smaller organizations, you may find yourself as the sole owner of all of these responsibilities. And that can seem utterly daunting.
So what’s the fix? What’s the solution?
If you try to be a jack of all trades, you’ll end up as a master of none.
Instead, focus on what’s important now.
Where is your digital audience? How do they prefer to communicate with your brand?
If they spend a lot of time researching online before making purchases, put your efforts towards writing search engine optimized blog articles.
If your sales team needs leads and they need them now, you may want to build paid search or social media campaigns.
If you already have an extensive list of contacts and leads, dedicate some time to creating email campaigns.
The secret is to not be overwhelmed with all of the types of marketing that falls under the digital marketing umbrella, and instead concentrate your efforts where it matters most. For the vast majority of IMPACT customers and users, it's inbound marketing.
Problem #2: “Am I on an island here? I can’t get help from anybody outside of marketing.”
One of the most frequent complaints I hear from digital marketers is the lack of participation they get from others in the organization.
It’s something that’s always baffled me.
The whole purpose of marketing is to draw in prospects; get them excited about your products, services, and brand; and convert them into leads for your salespeople to close as customers.
It is a critical part of the sales process, yet, why does it seem like marketing teams are left to their own devices?
When the sales team is heavily involved with the marketing team, sales not only knows what kinds of blog articles are being written and what kinds of social and email campaigns are being set up, they help to develop them.
The two most impactful ways sales teams can help marketing teams is by brainstorming content ideas and utilizing assignment selling.
Sales teams hear the most pressing questions and concerns prospects have every day, but often, they don’t relay these queries to the marketing team.
For every question a prospect has, there’s potential to answer it in a blog article or YouTube video, develop an email or social campaign around it, or target specific keywords for Google ads.
Without clear communication from sales, marketers won’t know what’s really important to consumers and be left to guess.
We’ve also seen sales teams shorten their sales cycles through assignment selling.
When marketers create content specifically to aid their sales teams, salespeople can send answers to the questions their prospects have before they even ask it.
And once leadership recognizes the tangible value your marketing contributes to revenue, they’ll embrace it, and help make digital marketing part of the company culture.
If you’re struggling with getting your sales team and leadership team to catch the vision and value of your digital marketing efforts, we highly recommend your company have a Digital Sales Workshop to get everyone aligned on your sales and marketing goals.
Problem #3: “Google updated its algorithm again! Did today’s best practices just get thrown out the window?”
Do you feel like the goal post for digital marketing best practices seems to move every time you’ve finally gotten a grasp on the last update?
Sometimes I get the feeling search engines and social platforms delight in frustrating poor digital marketers like us with constant game-changing updates to their platforms.
As soon as they see us comfortable optimizing content to the newest guidelines, they shake the whole thing up like a nefarious snow globe and laugh as we scramble amid the chaos.
How can you possibly stay up-to-date and adapt to all of these constant changes?
Listen to the experts who have their ears to the ground for rumblings of the next big change.
Subscribe to their blogs. Connect with them on LinkedIn and Twitter. Listen to their podcasts.
There are tons of resources out there for marketers, so instead of listing all of them here, I’ll instead point you to an article showcasing the top 21 digital marketing news sites.
If you’re a fan of IMPACT, and you’re not already subscribed to THE LATEST, I highly recommend you head right over there and sign up.
We simplify the most pressing news three times a week to help you weed through the noise and discover what really matters.
And if you want to connect with other marketers to ask questions, share experiences, and feel part of a community, request to join IMPACT Elite. You’ll find over 6,000 like-minded digital marketers waiting to hear from you.
Problem #4: “I don’t know if our digital marketing is working and, at this point, I’m too scared to ask.”
The mother of all problems in digital marketing: Is what we’re doing actually working? How can I tell?
Trouble proving ROI has been a problem for digital marketers for about as long as digital marketing has been around.
I’m sure if you’re reading this, you’re not completely in the dark as to some of the many ways to measure and evaluate your digital marketing efforts.
But the question is, which of these is important and can be used to show the rest of the company the value of what you’re doing?
Before you consider your digital marketing goals and objectives, what are those of the company?
What are the KPIs your organization wants to hit every year, quarter, month?
From there, it’ll be easier to determine how marketing can aid in achieving those goals.
If leads and revenue are top priority, you’ll want to be able to track conversions, MQLs, SQLs, and revenue.
Tools like HubSpot are great at keeping track of metrics like these, especially when it comes to the content you’ve created.
Are you able to confidently say that certain pieces of content directly influenced a sale?
You can do this with HubSpot, but an even easier way goes back to solutions for problem #2 listed above: assignment selling.
If you’re creating content that sales can immediately use in their process for nurturing leads, and you can track whether those leads have viewed the content, you can give that piece of content an “influenced revenue” win if that lead closes into a customer.
Let’s say your goals for digital marketing are simply to increase traffic and brand awareness.
Tools like SEMrush can help you find valuable keywords to target as well as track how you’re ranking for those keywords.
With Google Search Console, you can track the queries bringing visitors to your site, what the click through rate is for those keywords, and your average position is. You can also compare to how you previously ranked.
Find what’s important to your organization, and use the appropriate tools to measure your success.
Where to go from here?
Hopefully now, you’re breathing a sigh of relief knowing you’re not the only digital marketer experiencing these difficult problems.
They’re problems that plague businesses of all shapes and sizes. Just like with solving any problem, the first step is admitting you have one.
If you’re struggling with these issues and need some outside help or just an ear to let you vent, please don’t hesitate to join IMPACT Elite or sign up for a virtual peer group at IMPACT+.
In fact, IMPACT+ has so much more to offer than just virtual peer groups.
There are courses on many topics important to digital marketers, recordings from our events and conferences like Digital Sales and Marketing World, as well as a scorecard you can use to grade and track progress of your company’s digital sales and marketing efforts.
As a wise meme once told me, “problems are like never ending waves in the ocean. You can’t stop them, but you can learn to surf.”
Digital marketing problems are no different: as soon as fight your way through one, another set is waiting to roll in.