Marketing has rapidly evolved with the Internet. Many of these changes have occurred in just the last five years. As a consequence, many marketers are left in doubt as to the effectiveness of their strategies. The online marketing space requires a high level of adaptability in order to perform at a high level. It’s our job as digital marketers and as partners to educate clients so that results continue to exceed expectations. With this in mind, effective communication is key. We want our clients to not only be informed of changes, but more importantly they should be able to understand what impact it has on their business.
Take a look at the last few months alone. We’ve seen the rise of 100% (Not Provided) as a keyword, the roll out of an entirely new algorithm (Hummingbird) and new features to Google Analytics. And these are but a drop in the bucket. So how do we keep up and more importantly keep our clients informed so that they may make the best possible decision with their resources? We’ll walk through several ways to do this.
- Number one, keep up with current industry news yourself. This should be a given. You don’t want to find out about an algorithm change during a conference call with a client. Be proactive in communicating changes and their anticipated impact to clients, not the other way around. The challenge here can be knowing where to look. Everyone will have their own methods. My personal favorites is using Twitter, Google Alerts, and RSS feeds. Follow your favorite news outlets for digital marketing and organize them into lists such as “SEO News” or “PPC News” to monitor. Similarly set up RSS feeds with these outlets or Google Alerts around a particular topic. These methods work for me to find news in a time consuming manner.
- Share articles with clients that you believe will be important regarding changes in the industry. Or better yet, write up a blog or create some content that makes understanding changes easily digestible. Keep clients informed instead of keeping them guessing. And this doesn’t just mean quickly glancing the headlines. Make sure you fully understand changes and their consequences before communicating them to clients.
- Be prepared to answer questions. This comes from knowing your client and their industry like the back of your hand. Once you understand what is going on you should be able to look at a client account and anticipate what questions they may have. Will these changes affect their goals short-term? Long term? Does the strategy need to be adapted to fit the new marketing landscape? Will this change how we view and measure certain metrics? These are all questions your clients may present to you. For example, we’ve had clients ask us if recent inclusion of hashtags in Google search results will affect the way they target their content on social media. Knowing the impact of this change and our clients overall strategy across search and social we we’re able to calm the storm.
- Be able to provide solutions to the problem. Clients want partners that are problem solvers. Anyone can point out the problem, but providing the solution is where you establish value. For example, with the roll out of “not provided”, we as digital marketers will need to find alternatives to pull keyword data. There are several ways to do this if we just think outside of the box; we can look at paid search data to find new keywords or analyze landing page performance to measure the effectiveness of current keywords. It’s important that we are able to communicate these alternative methods to clients to let them know the sky isn’t falling, because we have a solution.
- Anticipate trends and changes in online marketing. Another important aspect of educating and providing great partner support to our clients is being able to anticipate changes before they happen. Often changes can come completely out of the blue, but to a certain degree we should be able to anticipate changes by studying the trends in the industry. Again using not provided as an example, for the most part we’ve seen this coming. We began seeing not provided as far as two years ago. Seeing this, we explained to clients that 100% not provided was likely to happen in the future and as a result we were able to get ahead of the change.
Digital marketing will never be static or boring, there will always be something new to learn. Keeping our clients up to date on current events and working with them so that they can comprehend the consequences of change will help them stay at the top of their game. If we truly understand our clients and their industries, our passion for this field should translate into client success.