Digital marketing is essential for any business these days, whether online or physical. The rewards for doing it right means more customers, higher search engine rankings and increased domain authority.
Although digital marketing is important, to put it bluntly, it can be tedious and very boring.
If you are an established business, you’ll probably have an expensive marketing team or freelancers conducting digital marketing on your behalf. Congratulations and well done to you.
But when you are starting a business in the absence of a big financial backer, you have to do the dirty work yourself.
Running digital marketing tasks is by no means quick and easy. The activities consume a lot of time and can distract entrepreneurs from their actual business. Some of the marketing tasks involve a lot of cold emails asking (begging) for something to happen.
You’ll soon find yourself away from the glamourous part of being an entrepreneur; making decisions, picking your strategy and ensuring your customers are happy.
Instead, you’ll find yourself pulling your hair out (if you still have any) over the grammar of a 2,000-word article. Sending hundreds of cold emails asking (begging) for something to happen. Or you might be starting to experience arthritis-like symptoms from writing content crammed with your keywords.
That 9-5 job you just left might now be looking more appealing.
Let’s look at some of the things entrepreneurs will for sure be annoyed about during digital marketing work
What is digital marketing?
So we’ve got eMarketing, email marketing, Internet marketing, digital marketing, and so on. Rather than going through each one and writing up fancy definitions, let us keep it simple.
By digital marketing, we mean everything you do on the internet for your business…. Hmmm, ok that is too simple.
Digital marketing is all online techniques you do to get more customers. Dividing the marketing tasks into two buckets, you have 1. Advertising and 2. Growing your site’s authority.
Examples of advertising tasks are:
- Running Google Ad campaigns
- Creating social media adverts
- Runner banner ads
- Paying for solus emails
- Newsletter features
- Sending cold emails (known by many as SPAM, JUNK or “just delete it”)
Examples of growing the authority of your site include
- Creating website content
- Creating backlinks
- Optimizing your website for search engines (SEO)
So now let’s explore what probably attracted you to read this article in the first place – 101 of annoying things you’ll face during digital marketing activities.
1. HARO – How can you just ignore me?
HARO is a great tool for getting journalists to write about you. Journalists post questions and you respond. In return, your business gets mentioned on their site, often with a backlink.
The questions journalists ask can be very niche or vague & open to ideas. You need to review the type of questions being asked regularly and choose which to respond to
HARO sends 3 emails a day during the week so it’s impossible to respond to all relevant questions.
Every so often, you’ll see an extremely niche question that seems as though it was written for your business as it’s so specific.
So you own a vehicle rental business specializing in blue colored mopeds in California? Well imagine seeing the request “I’m looking to interview a moped rental business owner based in California to ask about how blue colored mopeds sell more than other colors”
So naturally, you get excited, write a well-written response addressing exactly what the journalist was asking for. Then you submit the response and sit back waiting for the article to be published.
A few days pass & you hear nothing… then a few weeks pass and you begin to realize your response isn’t going to get featured.
But…But… your response was perfect!
It’s demoralizing when you think you’ve hit the jackpot with certain questions & getting nothing out of it.
It’s important to keep at HARO, consistent responses will be rewarded. HARO is a quantity, not a quality game. Actually no, that’s wrong. HARO requires quantity and quality.
Commit to responding to a certain amount of questions every day without losing passion.
Make life easier for yourself, have the introduction and closing paragraph templates that can be adapted to different queries ready.
Refine your templates. What can be added to increase your credibility? What needs to be removed to improve reading for the journalist?
Focus on requests wider than just your business domain. If you own a property business, for sure target property industry-related questions. But you’ll no doubt have gained skills in sales, face to face communication, online conversions, and so on.
‘Soft skill’ requests are included in HARO every day, make sure you review those as well and see what value you can offer.
2. The backlink costs HOW MUCH?!
Creating backlinks improves your site’s authority and as a knock-on affects your rankings for keywords.
If people are naturally writing about your site and how great it is, fantastic.
But if that’s not the case, you’ll need to reach out to bloggers to see if they are willing to write about how great your site is.
Bloggers & site owners as nice as they are, aren’t always as accommodating. Many will ask for a fee in return.
For newbie digital marketers, realizing a blogger wants to be paid for posting your excellently written, over 2,000 words and the original article can be an eye-opener.
Paying for backlinks has been part of the game for decades. You should expect fees to be quoted by most of the bloggers you reach out to.
A site’s domain authority gives you an idea about how much you should pay, the higher authority the higher the cost.
What’s annoying is the actual costs some of the bloggers & website owners try to pitch.
Fair enough, it’s their site, they control the content & choose their price. But
I’ve been quoted prices over $300 for a site with a domain authority of 30.
On the flip side, cooling some of the frustration, I’ve seen sites with a domain authority over 60 charging less than $100.
When being quoted extortionate… No, I shouldn’t use that word. When being quoted higher than expected prices, you have two options.
- Walk away
- Make a lower offer
Walking away is fine unless you really really really want to be featured on the site. Although you may want to ask yourself why that is if the site’s domain authority is low.
It may be the case that the site’s traffic converts well for your product. If the ROI works, then possibly the higher price is justified.
Making a lower offer is usually the best bet, although you’ll want to take care to not be insulting.
The initial high price may have been a result of the blogger or site owner trying to maximize their revenue.
When a site owner begins to chase you for a response after you’ve ignored their quoted fee, that may indicate they want your business.
3. Free Google Adword audits
If you’re paying for Google Adwords, you don’t need me to tell you how expensive and time consuming running campaigns can be.
Your eyes will be glued to cost per click, conversion rate and impression share metrics.
So much so, you’ll be tempted to try out a Google Adwords management firm. Often these firms will throw in a free audit of your campaign, which is where I start my moan.
Now my moan isn’t about large (expensive) Google Adword management firms. My moan is about the flurry of managers promising to manage your account at a low price.
As an entrepreneur starting your business on a small budget, these managers can be tempting. You’ll face yourself accepting a free audit at some point in your initial journey for sure.
The feedback will be underwhelming. I’ve had 3 audits on my campaigns and it is basically a rehash of the Google Adwords recommendations tab that focuses on your optimization score.
The audit will pull out the fact that your optimization score is only 56 percent and the Adwords management team can bump you to 100% in no time.
Sounds good right, a higher optimization score is sure to get you more profit… yeah not quite.
A lot of the recommendations won’t be adequate for your campaign or cost you more money.
Looking at recommendations for some of my current campaigns, I can see I can improve my optimization score by 8 percent if I increase my Adwords budget. Fantastic (for the shareholders of Google).
The best cost-saving, if you have the time, is to run your Adwords account yourself. There are so many online tutorials that learning the basics and some of the fancy features can be done quite quickly.
Once you’ve grasped the basics and have built conversion data, switching to Adwords automated bidding strategies may help.
The automated strategies will use algorithms and your existing data to target specific users that are more likely to convert.
If you’re planning to hire an Adwords manager, running the ads yourself or using an automated strategy to start with is essential. This will allow you to build metrics to compare to how well your manager is performing.
You need to ensure that the improvements the manager bring outweigh the cost of hiring them. Seeing performance before and after you’ve hired them gives you that analysis.
4. SEO Optimization Guru’s
Getting ranked high on Google and other search platforms are the holy grail for most entrepreneurs. You’ll get more site traffic and you can finally cut down on advertising costs.
At the risk of sounding like a simpleton, getting ranked high on search engines isn’t easy (yes, yes, I’m a genius).
Your site needs content, the right keywords need to be targeted and your site should have the right metatags & descriptions to name a few things.
As soon as you can press the “Go-Live” button on your site, you’ll be bombarded with offers to improve your sites SEO and get “ranked to number 1 in a few weeks”
My insightful/expert/genius comment on these types of promises is, the services won’t work. We all know that they won’t, but that doesn’t stop the irritating offers still continuously coming through.
The promises will no doubt come with the enticing offer of a free SEO audit.
It’s a similar vein to free Adword audits. The audit findings are pretty much based on free tools available across the internet that automatically scan your site for errors & improvements.
Run the tools yourself online, to see what errors on your site are impacting your SEO. The tools will identify issues such as broken links or pages that cannot be crawled. These issues can have quite an impact on your site therefore it is crucial to get them fixed quickly.
While they are crucial to be fixed, it doesn’t mean you need to pay someone to identify them. There are plenty of free or partially free online tools available.
5. Content, content, content.
A key part of digital marketing is creating content for your website. Articles that talk about your industry and services are crucial to improve your search engine rankings.
When starting a new business, you probably thought you’d be focusing on big decisions and negotiations with clients.
Whereas the reality, if you’re starting off small, is you’ll be spending a lot of time writing.
It can’t be any old drivel either. You need to;
- Write well, keeping content as clear as possible
- Avoid excessive promotional talk
- Make sure articles are over a certain amount of words, ideally over 700
- Include relevant images
- Create original content
- Ideally, include research to back up your content
- Choose your keywords to target the right traffic
Using the above criteria, it takes hours and hours to write good content. The objective is your content is good enough to start your site ranking for your keywords. In addition, your good content you hope will start to be picked up by other sites, who will then organically link to you.
The process of creating continuous content can be gruesome. Paying a writer can be an option. You will need to set clear guidelines on the content you want to be created and the keywords to target
6. Why the hell are my rankings dropped?
So you’ve got a bunch of backlinks, created bucket loads of content, and fixed your SEO errors, so you should be on an upwards trajectory for your keywords rankings right?
Rank tracking sites such as What’s My SERP show you how well you’re ranking for your targeted keywords.
You’ll soon find yourself checking your rankings on a daily basis. On the good days, when there’s a sea of green (meaning your rankings have gone up), you’ll be over the moon. You may even treat yourself to that muffin you’ve had your eye on.
However, on other days, there’s red, red, red. Most of your rankings have dropped. That ever so important word that was just creeping onto the first page now’s been thrown in the midst of other mediocrity on page 20.
Search engine rankings are determined by complex algorithms that only the aliens who created them understand.
It’s vital to understand ranking well isn’t a sprint, but a marathon.
Especially for new sites, your keyword rankings won’t be stable. You’ll see large fluctuations, good and bad. Don’t cry based on a small period of adverse ranking trends.
However, it’s important not to be passive either. OK, so your rankings are doing well? Good, keep doing what you’re doing and don’t rest on your laurels.
Ratings are going down the pan? Don’t panic and look into why. There could be a whole host of reasons aside from natural volatility a new site incurs.
For example, a few of the reasons are below (deep breath):
- Lost backlinks: A site with a high reputation may have removed their link to you
- Server issues: If your site isn’t stable, it will reflect in your rankings
- Google updates: If Google has changed the way they rank sites if could have a negative impact on your site specifically
- A sudden surge in backlinks: If your site has suddenly had a lot of backlinks created, it indicates a promotional activity, as opposed to organic growth. This upsets Google.
- Penalties: You naughty entrepreneur. If you’ve paid dodgy sites to backlink to you, Google knows this & will put you on the naughty step.
Conclusion: Annoying digital marketing tasks
Being an entrepreneur and starting your own business is fun and fingers crossed, rewarding. But that’s not to say it can be frustrating as hell.
Overcoming daily annoyances is key to consistency. Use the analogy of a gym head. No one packs on muscle just by training for a few weeks. It takes months and years of consistent and quality training to build one’s desired body.
Treat your business the same. Be consistent and keep motivated. Don’t let the bad times make you doubt yourself.
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I co-founded Rent Round, a letting agent comparison site that is taking the property industry by storm. I also founded a consultancy that works with large banks including the Bank of New York Mellon, Barclays & Deutsche Bank. I’ve been featured in the Harvard University research portal and numerous tech & property articles.