Pivoting from the world of software engineering to where I am now, running a digital marketing agency, was quite a transition. But after being in this industry for more than 12 years now, I still remember something a mentor told me that has affected how I approach business to this day.
It was a story about how when they first built the Waldorf Astoria New York hotel back in the 1930s, the leaders didn’t put a sign up to garner buzz and foot traffic and then take it down when it didn’t immediately reach the icon status it eventually achieved. Instead, they invested time in creating something with staying power, a place that redefined luxury and took everything people knew about hotels to the next level.
This story has stayed with me, and it’s been a helpful reminder that consistency will always bring better results than jumping on the newest fad. It’s about committing to something, seeing it through and having a long-term approach. Here are some ways you can leverage this advice for your own business.
Recognize That It’s Great To Be First, But Better To Be Lasting
Seasoned journalists know that while being first is part of the job, above that is getting the story right. As the Reuters Handbook of Journalism states, “Accuracy … always takes precedence over speed.”
The same is true in digital marketing. While it’s easier to garner attention when you make a big announcement or launch a new initiative, the real staying power comes from what goes on behind the scenes — namely hard work, consistency and a proper strategy.
Take SEO, for example: Sure, you can experiment with black hat methods that attempt to trick search engines into considering a site more valuable or reputable than it actually is. But not only is this dishonest; it’s also likely to get you penalized by search engines. Cultivating strong SEO takes time, but it’s worth it to see your brand rise through the ranks for the right reasons.
Don’t Jump On Every Bandwagon
Video content, TikTok, artificial intelligence. Between rapidly evolving technology and ever-changing search engine algorithms, the digital marketing space doesn’t stay stagnant for long. But that doesn’t mean you should invest time and energy into every new fad that crops up.
Throwing your resources toward each new trend isn’t only risky, but it also can lead your team to burnout. It’s great to try new things, but don’t forget about your brand’s core mission and values along the way. And if a new development looks like it might have some staying power and isn’t too costly to try out, go for it.
Focus On Long-Term Goals
I know it’s easy to get caught up in day-to-day tasks when you’re running a digital marketing program or even an entire company. But taking the time to revisit your long-term goals prevents you from getting bogged down in daily to-dos — and it keeps you focused and rooted in your mission.
What are your business goals one year out? Five years out? What can you do today, next month and next quarter to make those things happen? This type of thinking gives you perspective and helps you plan better for the future.
At least quarterly, get with your marketing team to discuss how you’re tracking toward those goals, so you can recalibrate as needed and leverage your resources as efficiently as possible.
Don’t Abandon Projects That Aren’t An Immediate Success
While a set-it-and-forget-it model may be tempting when it comes to running campaigns, it’s been my experience that consistent testing is how you’ll get the most bang for your buck — and the highest return on investment.
Testing certain aspects of a campaign helps illuminate what is and isn’t resonating with your audience. With that in mind, it’s also worth noting that just because something didn’t bring you the best click-through rate or a ton of leads this month doesn’t mean it won’t pan out in the future.
Stick to it. Keep iterating and testing, and you’ll be surprised at the returns you get from being patient. If you’re still not seeing the results you want after a few months of testing, then it may be time to scrap that campaign and start over.
Invest In Being Evergreen
While timeliness can help an ad or campaign resonate (for example, during the holidays or a new season), often the content and initiatives that stand the test of time are evergreen. When publishing a video, blog article, offsite content or something in between, creating things that are relevant, educational and actionable can bring you positive results months and years down the line — far more than one-off trend pieces will.
Not only that, but evergreen content allows you to work smarter versus harder by giving you a lasting foundation you can continue to build on. One great example of this is content pillar pages. These are one-stop-shop articles on your site that cover a broad topic in your industry and then link to other, more niche articles under that same umbrella. This builds your credibility and helps your site be viewed as an authority by search engines.
Get Your Clients On Board
These days, people want results right now. But in many aspects of digital marketing, it simply doesn’t work that way. Anyone who says otherwise is peddling a pipe dream.
Sure, we can find quick wins when working with new clients through things like setting up proper tracking or creating paid search campaigns. But it’s crucial to help clients understand that digital marketing isn’t a one-and-done process — real lasting results come after months (and years) of dedicated, hands-on work.
You want your digital marketing program to be around for the long haul — not just a flash in the pan. It’s all about keeping your mission in mind, thinking about the big picture and building up strong, consistent processes that set you up for big wins and even bigger returns.