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Familiarity Vs. Functionality In Digital Strategy

Chris Osterhout SVP of Strategy
#Digital Marketing, #Inbound Marketing, #SEO
Published on February 20, 2015

Is your online marketing agency providing you with measurable results? Learn why it's important to not just go with what you know.

Familiarity is safe. It’s comforting. Sticking with what you know is simply human nature. But in our fast-moving digital world, doing something because you’ve always done it or working with someone because you’ve done so for a long time can end up being highly detrimental to your online strategy.

As we’ve worked with our clients, we’ve found that this is especially true when it comes to the areas of online marketing and Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Often, a company will have a relationship with a vendor who produces print marketing, and this vendor will also offer to manage their online marketing as well. This may seem like a straightforward expansion of services, but if online marketing isn’t the vendor’s area of expertise, they won’t be able to deal with the basic functionality issues that affect whether people can find and use the company’s website.

If you’re already comfortable working with an existing vendor, it may seem to make sense to stick with them for additional services, but don’t let that familiarity get in the way of getting the best ROI for your online strategy. A vendor may offer to increase your site’s traffic through SEO, Search Engine Marketing (SEM), and/or Pay Per Click (PPC) services, but you’ll need to make sure any basic issues with your website are addressed before launching any expensive campaigns.

What Are These Basic Issues?

Here are some questions that any provider of SEO services should be able to address:

  • Are there any errors on the site (redirect errors, errors in title tags or URLs, etc.) that may lower search rankings?
  • Are there any issues with duplicate content?
  • Is the site’s robots.txt file configured correctly?
  • Does the site have a sitemap that lets search engines understand its structure?
  • Are there any performance issues that need to be addressed?

If your vendor is unable to answer these questions, you should consider looking for a different partner. Paying a firm thousands of dollars to create a marketing campaign that will simply send visitors to a broken site is a huge waste of your resources. You need to fix the foundation of your site first before building the marketing strategy that will bring you success online.

The Right Strategy

When you work with a partner to address these issues and plan a SEO and marketing strategy, you should clearly understand what you’re getting every month from them. This includes reports on how any site updates or advertising campaigns have affected your traffic, how people found your site, and what content is bringing you the most engagement. This information is essential for receiving the best ROI in your online strategy.

Ideally, you’ll want to spend money on receiving organic search results rather than PPC. To achieve these results, providing the best User Experience (UX) is essential. Since print advertising has nothing to do with UX, these vendors won’t necessarily understand this. Online marketing isn’t about getting the most clicks; it’s about getting the right information to the right people at the right time. By utilizing an Inbound Marketing strategy, you can provide the content that people are looking for and demonstrate how your products or services can meet their needs.

Do you want to know whether your site has any basic SEO issues that need to be addressed? Sign up for a free SEO Health Check, and we’ll work with you to discover and fix any of these problems that may be keeping people from finding your site in online searches. Do you have any other questions for us about how to improve your online marketing strategy? Please feel free to leave a comment below.