The Balance of Startup Digital Marketing
Published: June 26, 2019
Author: Jordan Shinn
You’ve done it: you’ve developed a product or service that’s going to change the world. Odds are, before you start writing your TED Talk, you may need to focus some of your energy on marketing. If you run a startup, you know that life is one big balancing act. Your digital marketing efforts are no different.
We’ve worked with dozens of startups at 3Q, and there are some valuable lessons we’ve learned across industries. Below are things to keep in mind when trying to balance your time, money, and focus with regards to digital marketing.
Spend Time on the Things that Matter
This may sound pretty straightforward, but for some people this is the hardest thing to do. Some things are more fun than others, I get it, but editing YouTube videos probably shouldn’t take precedence over setting up organized campaigns and making sure you’re tracking properly. Some of these more tedious tasks might feel like they take forever, but I assure you they are necessary. Your copy might be good enough to win a Pulitzer, but it’s not going to make you much money if your campaigns are targeting countries that your business doesn’t serve. Take the time and set up everything properly; you’ll thank yourself later.
Allocate Budgets Correctly
Sometimes it can be daunting to think about where to allocate your budget. You have a finite amount of money; some channels have been working well for you but you worry about scalability; and other channels will take a bit more effort to get set up, but you have a hunch that they’ll be your bread and butter. What do you do?
The most important thing to do with regards to budgets is to have no preconceived notions. Take a minute to step back and see how much value each channel and each campaign is actually bringing your business. Don’t get caught up in sunk-cost fallacies. Yes, you put a lot of time into that Facebook creative, but you have limited budgets and Google and Bing are performing well, so you should maybe consider shifting budgets.The numbers don’t lie. You may take more pride in some channels than others, but if they aren’t serving your business, it may be time to abandon ship.
Know When to Narrow Your Focus
One mistake I see time and time again is people spreading themselves too thin across a wide range of marketing efforts. Do you really need to expand to that channel right now? Is new copy really where you should be putting your time when there isn’t proper structure? I get it: the world of digital marketing is a fun and ever-changing place. But sometimes it makes sense to focus a little more attention on the efforts that will actually create the most growth in the near future.
Testing is in our DNA here at 3Q. It’s always great to be able to walk away from a test and know exactly what needs to be done next. However, what’s just as important as the results themselves is knowing the why. Okay, great, this call to action leads to more conversions than others, but why? What does this say about our customers?
It’s crucial to understand why some things that have been tested actually won. Perhaps that winning call to action should be utilized in more of the copy. The rabbit holes that these tests can lead down can be overwhelming, but the learnings can be incredibly valuable.
Know When to Broaden Your Focus
I’m about to blow some minds, but what’s equally as important as knowing when to get granular is knowing when to broaden your focus. (Balance, ya know?) It can be easy to get so caught up in optimizations and testing that some people can’t see the forest for the trees. Maybe it is time to expand to that channel.
Your Google search campaigns, which you have been optimizing and focusing on for months, are doing great, but what are you going to do if performance plummets? Much like with stocks, diversifying accounts can be a life-saver. Like I said, the world of digital marketing is an ever-changing place, and this isn’t always for the better. Again, this doesn’t mean that you should immediately jump on every channel known to man just to get a bit of padding, but with careful and deliberate expansions, you might be surprised by some of the performance you see.
Even more important than looking around for new channels is looking back at the data for trends in performance. Is there seasonality to your product or service? It may make sense to pull back spend during some parts of the year and spend a little more heavily in others. Looking beyond your specific company, how is the industry trending as a whole? Perhaps there are world events that are leading to a change in public perception of your industry. It may be time to shift your focus (and copy) to either take advantage of situations or shy away from others
In digital marketing, there will always be lots of balls in the air. Take a breath, look at the big picture, be objective, and make sure you’re putting your attention in the right areas.