Why You Need a Digital Marketing Workflow

Digital marketing is confusing. There are too many options, all of which change frequently. There is also a great deal of hype and a positive infatuation with the latest thing, regardless of demonstrated usefulness, much less value. This translates to paralysis when starting a digital initiative, and wandering about once a program is under way.

While it is confusing, the mechanics of digital marketing aren’t very difficult. It’s easy to set up a website, blog, Twitter account or adwords campaign. As a result, many websites, blogs, Twitter accounts and adwords campaigns get setup, and later abandoned.

To make matters worse, digital isn’t a campaign, it’s a process. Sending out a direct mail piece has a clear beginning, middle, and end. Once delivered to the post office, the pieces are gone, prospects are either going to call or not, and there’s nothing left to worry about- except perhaps an uncomfortable explanation if people didn’t call.

Digital isn’t like that. You build a website and try to get people to come to it. If they do, great, you get to service them, then work to keep up the flow. If they don’t come, the website doesn’t get thrown in the trash can. It sits there, day after day generating lonely visitor stats, reminding you of your failure. You have to do something with it. It can’t be ignored. You need help.

What helps me is having a framework. A plan that shows me where I am and where I’m going. Without that it's too easy to start in on something with great enthusiasm, get discouraged when results don't appear immediately, then abandon the project when something more appealing comes along.

What I realized over time is that the initial idea wasn't necessarily flawed, or that I was doing the wrong things. The problem was usually not approaching the project in a consistent, well thought out manner. Without knowing exactly what the next step was, it was easy to let it slip my mind when something else came along.

To help myself I sat down and analyzed the parts of web marketing and realized that it consists of doing the same things over and over again, in a disciplined, predictable pattern.

Now I realize that discipline is not a prescription anyone wants to swallow. Discipline is getting up before you want to and denying yourself chocolate cake. Discipline isn't fun, it's work.

Well, following a digital marketing plan isn't as bad as all that. Yes, it's work. But it's work that comes with rewards if you go about it in the right way. If you prefer, think of this as a plan that comes in four parts.

It's a process that will help you get going and maintain direction once underway. In following posts we'll go into each of the four parts and show you how to apply them to your business.

If you want to get started right away, take our primer course on Internet Marketing for Local Businesses: First Steps