Digital Marketing Lessons From Yoda, Luke, Princess Leia & Han Solo

Marketing inspiration can be gleaned from many sources, and in this case, we look to the famed characters of Star Wars to help us on our way. Let’s review a few pithy quotes from likes of Han Solo, Princess Leia and the great and wise Yoda, and see how they might apply to digital marketing.

LESSONS FROM HAN SOLO

“Punch it.” Take your content to the next level, make it relevant and continually review and refine. In other words, punch up your content!

“Look, I ain’t in this for your revolution, and I’m not in it for you, princess. I expect to be well paid. I’m in it for the money.” Though most organizations are in it for the profit, the goal of many digital marketing campaigns is to establish credibility and to build an online rapport. This is especially true for considered purchase items. So… focus on educating and helping first, and selling second.

“Great, kid. Don’t get cocky.” If your business is growing nicely, now is the time to invest in new ideas, technologies and resources to continue that growth. Don’t get cocky and think that you can continue to sell and market the same way you did a few years ago (or more).

“Hokey religions and ancient weapons are no match for a good blaster at your side, kid.” Old school thinking may not appeal to your progressively younger buyers. Innovate and stay ahead of the curve. That said, we never want to use an email “blaster” mentality. Always follow email marketing opt-in best practices.

“Traveling through hyperspace ain’t like dusting crops, farm boy.” Email marketing to thousands of prospects list is a giant leap from a modest list of a few hundred. Keep this in mind when creating new, aggressive email marketing initiatives.

“Great shot kid, that was one in a million.” Any given campaign can prove to be a home run, but consistent, educational campaigns should be the goal for every business.

“Laugh it up, Fuzz ball.” It’s great to have fun with your marketing initiatives, but many B2B businesses should err on the side of professionalism with educational and relevant content. Explaining the origin of Foosball, or the best recipe for New England clam chowder in your business blog is unlikely the best way to engage your audience.

LESSONS FROM YODA

“Patience you must have, my young Padawan.” Marketing, including digital marketing, takes time and patience. Execute, Measure, Refine. Execute, Measure, Refine. There is no substitute for an experienced digital marketing professional. Don’t trust your digital marketing to a novice or treat it as a part time job to be completed by a salesperson, producer or account manager when and if they have time.

“Mmm. Lost a planet, Master Obi-Wan has. How embarrassing.” Though it must be very embarrassing to lose a planet, forgetting to include a working call to action link can be embarrassing too! Double check all your links before launching campaigns.

“You must unlearn what you have learned.” Just because something has worked in the past doesn’t mean you should continuing doing it in the future. Sometimes you need to step back and assess marketing initiatives, even if they’ve been successful in prior years and for many years.

LESSONS FROM LUKE SKYWALKER

“It’s not impossible. I used to shoot womprats with my T16 back home.” Laser like focus can be invaluable for marketing campaigns. Defining a target market, determining a buyer persona, creating a prospect scorecard and ensuring that your company has a robust prospect list are all crucial to effective and efficient marketing. Whether you’re targeting womprats or trucking executives, make sure you have the data and methodology in place when embarking on your next campaign.

I’m Luke Skywalker. I’m here to rescue you.” Are some of your marketing initiatives going so poorly they need to be rescued? How are you determining which plans need to be rescues versus those that need to be jettisoned? Marketing initiatives need to be reviewed on a regular basis, and culled when they are beyond rescue.

“I am a Jedi, like my father before me.” My father founded this company, so I’m going to run it the way he did. As companies transition from fathers to sons and daughters, there are important elements to keep, and many to throw away. When it comes to marketing, look at what has produced recent ROI, and look at innovative approaches for future ROI. A simple example might be the website your father (Jedi or otherwise) created ten years ago. It might have been great then, but the time has come and gone to create a new, mobile responsive website.

LESSONS FROM LUKE DARTH VADER

The force is strong with this one.” Once you earn a positive digital reputation, the force will be strong with your company, and can remain strong with high quality content and consistent communication.

“It is your destiny. Join me, and together we can rule the galaxy as father and son.” Though ruling the galaxy may be beyond the scope of your business, you can dramatically increase your book of business with innovative marketing initiatives, leading edge tools and the talent to execute them. Considering outsourcing certain marketing initiatives to compliment any missing in house staffing or skills. Outsourcing can be a more effective solution than internal staffing for many organizations, especially smaller businesses.

LESSONS FROM PRINCESS LEIA

“Help me Obi-wan Kenobi, you’re my only hope.” Though marketing can often be daunting for many companies, particularly small businesses, it’s not as hopeless as it might initially seem. And there usually isn’t just one silver bullet that will solve a problem(s), but rather many options which can provide successful outcomes. When initiatives are going poorly, start with the basics such as market, profile, persona, delivery options, etc. Use A/B split testing (or multivariate split testing) to better optimize messaging and calls to action.

“Aren’t you a little short for a storm trooper?” Just because your budget is small doesn’t mean it can’t be effective. For example, leverage less expensive tools and platforms to expand reach. Use LinkedIn long form publishing as opposed to paid press releases. Cross pollinate your digital content by using free or inexpensive social media platforms. Small businesses and startups can use sweat equity when they have insufficient capital available.

“I have a bad feeling about this.” Well this one seemed quite obvious. If you don’t have a good feeling about your marketing campaign or initiative, think out of the box (or “poke the box”) and try something new. How about whiteboard videos, or a social media based referral program, infographics for digital content, on demand webinars, a new app, or pod casts. There are so many tools and technologies available today, there is something for companies both small and large.

LESSONS FROM OBI-WAN

Strike me down, and I will become more powerful than you could possibly imagine.” If at first you don’t succeed, measure, refine (or overhaul), and execute. Repeat!

Marketing inspiration can be gleaned from both traditional and innovative sources. Businesses need to embrace innovative marketing ideas and new technologies. And if your business is looking to “punch it” when it comes to marketing, you may wish to consider outsourcing some or all digital marketing to a professional and proficient marketing agency.

The Top 10 Don’ts of Digital Marketing

Digital marketing is the method of marketing in which we use various electronic devices such as computers, smartphones, tablets, etc. It also entails the usage of software programs, apps and technological platforms such as email, websites, social media, etc. The world of digital marketing is a vast one in which we can easily get lost.

Because of all the advances and changes in technology, it can be hard to keep up on all the latest trends and methods encompassed by digital marketing. Digital marketing strategies include visual marketing, mobile marketing, and online marketing techniques of various kinds so it can all get very confusing and overwhelming.

We not only need to know what to do in the digital marketing world, we have to know what not to do. Below is a list of ten of the don’ts to hopefully help you trek through the massive digital marketing universe.

1. Closing Your Eyes on Mobile Marketing – The number of people who spend more time on the web with mobile devices is growing at a astounding rate. If you own an online business, you can no longer resist mobile devices as part of your digital marketing arsenal. The first step would be to make your website mobile device friendly. Many site builder programs such as WordPress have plugins and automatic features to do that for you. You can also add a line of code to your site that will format your site to the device being used. Be sure to try your website on your mobile devices to find out exactly how people are seeing it. Go through the mobile shopping experience yourself so you have a full understanding of what you need to do.

2. Too Much Social Media – Social media is so much a part of the internet these days it is impossible to expect to build a presence on all of the social sites. You need to pick 2 or 3 of the top sites and start building your brand and setting up your social presence. The most used social sites as of now are Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Pinterest. I get most of my social traffic from Facebook and Pinterest. Next in line is Google+, Tumblr and Instagram. If you can understand your target market you can become a part of the social sites in which they would most likely participate.

3. Information Overload – The digital marketing world is so vast we can easily become lost in the information. I, as well as many others, get caught in the trap of spending too much time gathering information from countless sources on various aspects of building an online business. We need to narrow our focus and learn only what we need to learn to successfully build our business. Find a few good sources for this information and stick with them to learn the ins and outs.

4. Not Having a User-Friendly Website – Many of us are tempted to create the biggest, brightest, flashiest website possible but this is a big mistake. You want your site design to be simple, easy to navigate and very user-friendly. Add only what is needed to inform your customers. You do want to add some extra content to provide information to your visitors but make sure it directly pertains to what your site is about. Do not clutter up your site with countless ads, irrelevant information or extra steps to get to your call to action. Fancy features and flashy extras will just confuse your customer and possibly drive them to another site.

5. Not Keeping Up with SEO Changes – SEO is very pertinent to your website but the rules and regulations are always changing. Find a good source of SEO information and follow it regularly to keep up with the changes so you can make any necessary revisions to your business website.

6. Not Utilizing Visual Marketing – By using visual marketing, you could increase your conversion rate by as much as 86%. This is a phenomenal statistic. Place a video on your landing and/or homepage. Strategically place quality graphics in your blog posts and content. Use visuals as much as possible in your social media marketing. Create and use your own infographics for your blog and social media. There are free tools for making infographics. Use a compelling photo or graphic in your articles. It could mean the difference between your article being read or rejected. Look over articles with photos. Does the photo pull you into the article and make you want to read it or does it leave you flat. Take note of the type of image used and what emotion or action it brings out in you. Placing a well-made video on your homepage or landing page will make a substantial difference as well. People will get the message much quicker than by reading and could be the deciding factor as to whether they stay or go. Be entertaining in the video but be sure to deliver your message. Your image and voice will also help your potential customer bond with you. You also want to get started in a fairly new visual marketing technique called meme marketing. This combines humor and real life situations with amusing and/or heartwarming images.

7. Not Testing and Tracking – Take advantage of Google’s free tools to study your stats and track your visitors. Google Analytics can help you tweak your site to its performance peak. Test ads, web pages, article resource boxes, etc. Find out what brings the best results and most response and stick with it.

8. Not Establishing the Relationship – Doing business with people digitally is much different than being able to talk with them face to face. It is harder for people to trust a webpage than an actual person so be sure to do all you can to build that relationship of trust and respect. Answer all email inquiries quickly and appropriately. Be reliable – if you say you are going to do something, be sure to do it. Be consistent – if you are sending out a weekly newsletter do not get lax and start missing weeks. Update your blog and product information regularly. Do not let your site go stale. Be consistent in your social media. Respond to all questions and comments in a timely manner. Let people know you are available for them and can be trusted.

9. Focusing too Much on Traffic and Not Enough on Conversions – Traffic is the lifeblood of an online business but you also need to focus on quality and targeted traffic. Getting 1000 visitors to your site doesn’t do much good if they are not interested in what you offer. Participate in groups and forums where people who are interested in your services might be. If you offer B2B products and services, join groups and forums of home business owners. We all want more traffic but we need to aim for the traffic to whom we can actually sell.

10. Charging Blindly Into the Marketing Abyss – Starting an online business and charging headfirst into the digital marketing world is not a good idea. You need to do some planning ahead and research what you are getting into. Know who your customers will be and where to find them. Make sure you are offering a sellable product or service. Be somewhat prepared for your dive into the digital marketing world.

These mistakes are very common but need to be addressed. If you are attempting to build an online business you need to be informed and constantly be adapting and learning. Digital marketing has come a long way since the early 90s and we need to grow and develop with it. It will be overwhelming at times but you can work to overcome and build a successful online business.

Digital Marketing Planning Process For Beginners

This article centres around formulating a digital marketing strategy and implementing a digital marketing plan for a business.

In this digital age, businesses cannot afford not to have a digital marketing plan has technology is increasingly influencing our business and social lives. As a matter of fact, a business without a digital marketing plan is a business planning to fail.

Quite frankly, some business owners are still struggling to understand the need to have a digital marketing plan for their business. Though, the case is quite different for other business owners who already have a digital marketing strategy, but are unhappy and frustrated with the results, of which fall far short of their expectations.

Digital Marketing Planning Process

Whether you have developed a digital marketing plan that is currently active or you have developed a digital marketing plan that is not yet active or you are in the process of developing a digital marketing plan for your business, Follow the process outlined below to help your business grow and succeed online. This process has proven very successful for so many businesses. Having said that, it is very important that the process is followed judiciously in other to get positive results.

You are just a sentence away from growing your business successfully online.

Establish A Web presence

Having a website, a blog or social media page, or listing your business on local business directory websites are some of the ways you can establish a web presence. These days businesses take advantage of these channels to boost their web presence. Without a doubt, it is highly recommended having these digital marketing assets in your arsenal to increase your search visibility. You want to make sure that you utilise every channel possible to boost your online presence. The more your business is established online, the better.

Domain name registration

When choosing a domain name for your business, you want to make sure that your domain name contains keywords relevant to your niche and city, not just your business name. For example, you offer plumbing services in Toronto, the ideal domain name should be abcplumbingservicestoronto.com.

Content Creation

After choosing your domain name, the next step is to develop great contents for your website, contents that would attract qualified leads (prospects that would end up converting), the ideal thing to do in other to develop great contents is to first conduct a research on niche keywords and include these keywords throughout your text, especially in the headings/subheadings, title and meta description on your web pages. Also, it’s a good practice to add the location of your business in the areas mentioned above. Bear in mind, it takes quite some time to rank for your niche keywords – It not as simple as ABC. It’s a clever idea to hire a content developer if you don’t have the technical expertise to create engaging contents –

Content is king!

Optimising your Website

As soon as you have your content ready, the next thing you want to do is hire a professional website developer who is also skilled in (on-page and off-page search engine optimisation SEO), to develop a user and mobile friendly high converting website for your business. Notice how I laid emphasis on “user” and mobile friendly” – You want to make sure that your website has a good user experience, it is said that humans have a short attention span of about seven seconds, in other words you have seven seconds to grab the attention of your website visitors. That being said, It is cheaper to hire a professional website developer with SEO skills than separately hiring a website developer and SEO specialist. If you want to rank on search engine result pages (SERPs), then ensure that your website is fully optimised (on-page and off-page) for search engines A fully optimised website has a 90% possibility of showing up on SERPs.

What is on page and off page SEO? In a lay man’s terminology, on-page SEO is when a website understands and speaks the language of search algorithm and off page SEO Is when other websites send signals (by a way of votes) to search engines that your website has credibility. As soon as your other websites starts sending positive signals to search engines about your website, Chances are your website will show up on SERPs.

Check the performance of your website online and your website SEO when your website is ready to go live, there are free tools online you can use to check the performance of your website as well as SEO. Ensure that you follow up and resolve any issues with your website, especially issues like: loading time of your landing pages, browser caching issues, heading, alt-tags etc. I cannot emphasise enough the importance of having your website fully optimised for search engines.

Link Building

You have chosen a proper domain, created a highly converting website with great contents and your website is fully optimised, at this point, you should start building links. Link building is a technique used in (off page SEO). It is a process whereby you get external web pages with authority, link to your webpages. The following are some of the ways you can build links: submit your website to business directory websites (citations), create social media accounts and distributing content across social media platforms and other across other websites with high authority, optimise press releases, social bookmarking etc. These efforts are geared towards acquiring “link juice”, which increases your website authority (assuming the links are quality backlinks). Outreach (link building) is quite a daunting task. You are better off assigning the task to your website developer, except you are comfortable doing it yourself. Furthermore, list your business on Google my business and Bing places for business and ensure it is optimised.

Search Engine and Social Media Marketing

At this stage, creating a Pay Per Click (PPC) campaign on Google AdWords and Facebook is certainly a clever way to strengthen your online marketing campaigns. It is essential to explore means to drive quality traffic to your website, this would help to improve your ranking on search engines (if done properly). You can start with as little as $50 advertising budget per month if you are on a tight budget. Trust me, it worth your every penny, because as you drive quality traffic to your website for your “focus keywords”, your keywords quality score improves, and if done consistently, chances are your webpages will rank high on search engines. Anyway, creating an ad is one aspect of it, optimising the ad copy is another aspect which is very crucial. You want to make sure that your focus keywords are relevant to their target webpages. If your focus keywords are not relevant to the target webpages, search engines i.e. Google would dock your website as a result. Simply put, avoid attracting visitors that would end up bouncing from your website, hence why it is necessary to create relevant ads. I can’t stress enough the importance of creating relevant ads. Furthermore, utilise social media platforms to promote your business. Create an ad on Facebook to promote your business webpages. The amount of time people spend on social media platforms these days is overwhelming, hence why you need to utilise this medium as an opportunity to grow your business.

Google Search Console

Sign in to Google search console and get familiar with the basics. Follow the instruction on how to improve your search presence. If this is too technical for you, ask your website developer or digital marketing specialist to assist you in setting it up. This tool will not only give you insights in regards to your site’s performance, but will also guide you through on how to resolve any issue that would affect the performance of your website.

Google Analytics

Sign in to Google analytics and follow the set-up process. This tool would help you track important metrics such as conversion, customer engagement, page views etc. You can monitor the effectiveness of your online marketing campaigns, contents on your websites and user experience with this tool. Basically, you want to know which areas you need to improve on, once you identify the areas, you can apply a solution.

Closing Thoughts

Don’t be overwhelmed by the process outlined above, remember Rome was not built in a day. Begin now, apply this result-driven digital marketing plan to your business, be consistent and follow the process judiciously – I guarantee your business will grow and succeed online.

All the best!