What Every CEO Should Know About Digital Marketing

Think of the last time you shared something you saw in a newspaper or yellow page. Now think of the last time you shared a YouTube video or website link. We live in a digital world, and your business NEEDS to be a part of it. So Mr. or Ms. CEO, here are some things you need to know about digital marketing.

1. Why CEOs Should Make Search Engine Marketing a Part of Their Business.

There are many stats we could put in front of you, but here are a few big ones.

  • Companies that blog have 434% more pages indexed by search engines. And companies with more indexed pages get more leads. via Search Engine Journal
  • Inbound leads (potentially a search engine visit) cost 61% lower than outbound leads (potentially a cold call) via Search Engine Journal
  • 93% of online experiences begin with a search engine via Search Engine Journal
  • Digital marketing is an easy way to increase your brand awareness. Instead of TV or radio, businesses can use digital marketing to expand their reach to a very targeted audience through several, different channels
  • Most likely your competitors are already doing it...and they're stealing your market share

No matter what industry you are in digital marketing is taking over, and your business needs to jump on the train. Not only are we in a digital world...we are in a mobile, digital world. If you're not capitalizing on this style of marketing then be prepared to lose market share.

2. This Industry Is Ever Changing

Back in October of 2013 the head of Google's Webspam Team, Matt Cutts, flat out told us that Google is always changing. And you can't deny that. Talk to any digital marketer, and most likely they will tell you that the way they go about their jobs today is different than it was a year ago.

In 2013 alone, there were 17 major changes to Google's algorithm. (To see for yourself, here's an extensive list of every Google algorithm change.) Also in 2013 and 2014 we have seen major changes in the PPC world. Some examples are a new Google Shopping platform with international expansion, engagement ads available to the entire public, new video ad formats, new AdWords reporting features, and so much more. These new features can really separate you from the competition, but if you don't know about them how can you ever get ahead?

It takes a dedicated team to stay on top of what is important in the world of digital marketing. Missing one major update or new feature release could either hurt your results or possibly put you behind your competition.

3. Your Digital Marketing Efforts Are Never Complete

It feels good when you launch a new, optimized website or make major changes to a PPC campaign. Then months later, you review the results and see that your decision made a noticeable, positive impact. The worst thing you could do after that is wipe your hands clean and assume the upward trend will stay like that forever. Google changes their algorithm very frequently, and industry trends are always changing too. So if your business is not staying on top of these changes, all of your positive effort can turn to negative results if you're not constantly paying attention.

Here's a different point-of-view. Let's say a marketing manager increased their site's conversion rate from 1% to 5%. That's fantastic, but could the increase have been 6%, 8%, 10%? The message here is that you should always be hungry. There is always room to improve. Until you're in the number one position for every search term or your site's conversion rate is 100%, there is always room to grow and take market share away from your competitors.

4. Running an Effective Digital Marketing Campaign Requires a Fluid Team

There are many moving parts to a successful digital marketing team. Looking at multi-channel funnels or assisted conversions in Google Analytics will easily show you that SEO, PPC, Email Marketing, etc. all intersect with each other and the potential customer. Segmenting your efforts into separate buckets with no interaction will cause some issues. These departments all need to interact to run a smooth, successful program with the focus on one common goal.

Also, these departments may need to utilize each other frequently to accomplish their own department goals. If the PPC team wants to focus on landing page optimization, they may need help from development or design. If you're running a content marketing plan, you need your SEO, social media and possibly PR teams to be glued together in their efforts. Segmenting your departments might not hurt your results, but most likely that move is hindering the full potential. Look at your business structure and see if any changes can be made so that all of your digital marketing departments have the proper access to each other. If you outsource your digital marketing efforts, does that agency have easy access to all of your internal departments and resources? Removing the barriers will pay off.

5. Invest in Your Social Media Department

If you are involved with SEO at all, then you know that Google rolled out a new algorithm called Hummingbird in the end of August 2013 (publicly announced in the end of September 2013). A big part of this algorithm update was an increase in social engagements as a ranking factor (this has no relation to how many followers or likes you have).

For SEO, traditional link building is getting much harder, but backlinks are still very important. That's where social media comes in. Google is looking for sites to naturally gain links, and what better way than social media? Combining your SEO and social media strategies will help you naturally gain links as well as new traffic from more exposure on all social platforms.

As the Knowledge Graph becomes a bigger part of Google's search engine interface, it's more important than ever to increase your brand exposure and your authority in your industry. (Feel free to utilize your PR department too). Building the size and trust of a dedicated audience will boost your worth in search engine rankings from an increase in site authority. Utilizing social media will make this effort much easier. Keep one thing in mind though. Figure out if your industry's audience use social media. While social media has shown to be extremely beneficial, you have to have an active audience to make your efforts worthwhile.

Take an Interest and Move Forward

Get familiar with what your digital marketing team is doing. Know how it impacts your bottom line. All of that information can be pulled for you to know if you need to increase your marketing budgets and build your presence online. The sooner any CEO can understand the value, and potential, digital marketing can have on the business the sooner you'll see the results.

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