In an age when digital ad spending is overtaking traditional advertising, digital marketing myths are everywhere. Whether you are a small business owner, a non-profit manager, or even the head of a large company, you have probably been promised amazing returns for your investment in your website, social media, or online advertising. You may have encountered companies who guarantee such seemingly impossible feats as making you the #1 search result on Google for a low, low price.
Like most things in life, it can be difficult to separate the truth from the hype when it comes to digital marketing, a relatively new, and ever-changing, form of advertising. That’s why in this post we debunk 5 of the top digital marketing myths we’ve seen time and again.
Digital Marketing Myth #1: The Guaranteed #1 Spot on Google
Many of our clients have come to us asking if we offer SEO services that guarantee them the #1 spot on Google for a flat fee. It turns out several of our competitors offer this “service” to their clients. What they aren’t telling their clients, however, is that there are actually two different ways to measure SEO: locally and nationally (or internationally).
Depending on how you slice the data, in other words, you may be ranked in a smaller radius (say within your city, county, or state) or over the whole nation (or the world). If anyone promises you the #1 spot on Google, you should ask them what radius they will be using to measure your rank. As a rule, however, anyone who offers this service as a guarantee is probably trying to take you for a ride.
Reputable marketing firms typically won’t guarantee SEO outcomes, because they’re always in flux. Even if a firm got you the #1 spot in the whole world on Google, for instance, you wouldn’t stay there long without a serious investment of resources.
Read more about the differences between local and national SEO:
Digital Marketing Myth #2: Social Media Is Free and Easy to Use
Social media is a great way to market your business, particularly when you’re trying to create brand recognition. The truth, however, is that platforms like Facebook and Twitter are fast becoming paid platforms where you need to spend money on advertising to reach new consumers. Building and cultivating a loyal social media following is also not simply a matter of posting content. You need to interact with your audience, to deliver content that will actually keep them interested, and to avoid too much sales language, which can alienate many consumers.
Learn how to use social media effectively:
Digital Marketing Myth #3: SEO Doesn’t Really Matter Anymore
While some of our competitors are promising impossible returns on SEO investments, others are claiming that SEO doesn’t matter anymore, particularly for small organizations. These marketing firms argue that because search engines have become more and more efficient at indexing content, you don’t really have to do anything to show up in search results anymore.
What they don’t tell their clients is that search engines like Google use hundreds of factors when deciding what content they want to display to their users. If you’re not aware of these factors, the content in your website probably isn’t optimized correctly and won’t rank well.
Learn why SEO matters more than ever for smaller organizations:
Digital Marketing Myth #4: Businesses and Non-Profits No Longer Need Websites
Due to the popularity of Facebook pages and Google My Business profiles, some consumers have gotten the idea that they don’t need a website to effectively advertise their small business or non-profit. What they may not realize, however, is that two of the most important channels for modern marketing, search engines and social media, both rely on you having your own website domain (i.e. contentgarden.org).
First, search engines don’t index Facebook pages the same way that they index websites. Google My Business profiles are also ranked based on such factors as how many people navigate to a business’s location, something organizations have little control over.
Second, if you’re marketing your business or non-profit on social media, it can be difficult to land actual customers without a website. Besides the credibility that a professionally-designed website lends to your organization, websites also allow you to offer features like lead forms that allow prospective customers to contact you while archiving their email address for later marketing purposes. A Facebook page, on the other hand, will offer very few features for marketing your business or non-profit, plus you’ll be but one of millions and millions of Facebook pages, which can make it extremely difficult to differentiate your organization from your competitors.
Learn the five must-have website features for any small organization:
Digital Marketing Myth #5: It’s Easy to Design a Decent Website Yourself
Our final digital marketing myth we’d like to debunk is that it’s easy (and a good idea) to design your own website. Platforms that we recommend, such as WordPress, Joomla!, and Drupal, offer out-of-the-box website builds that anyone with basic internet proficiency can create. Other platforms are even easier to use, but sacrifice things like SEO.
Just because it is possible to throw a website up on the web, however, doesn’t mean that it will be effective. Unless you are a professional web designer, building your own website means that you’ll be presenting an amateur-looking site to consumers. It also means that your website will underperform when compared to the websites of competitors who hire professionals to build their sites.
Learn why you shouldn’t design your own website: