How Knowing Your “Why” Can Revolutionize Your Digital Marketing Strategy

How Knowing Your “Why” Can Revolutionize Your Digital Marketing Strategy
Many digital marketers carry out their daily tasks in a furious frenzy. They send out email blasts, update social media, perform keyword research and so on, trying to accomplish as much as possible. Working hard and staying busy makes us feel we’re being productive. But how many people stop to think about why they’re doing what they’re doing? Of course, you want to generate leads, increase brand exposure, improve conversions, etc. But what’s the underlying…

Many digital marketers carry out their daily tasks in a furious frenzy.

They send out email blasts, update social media, perform keyword research and so on, trying to accomplish as much as possible.

Working hard and staying busy makes us feel we’re being productive.

But how many people stop to think about why they’re doing what they’re doing?

Of course, you want to generate leads, increase brand exposure, improve conversions, etc.

But what’s the underlying purpose of your digital marketing?

What specific goals are you hoping to achieve?

In this post, I talk about how knowing your why can help you optimize and ultimately revolutionize your digital marketing strategy.

I’ll explain some specific reasons why this is worth your time.

In addition, I’m going to provide a basic formula to help you figure out your why so you can start seeing immediate benefits.

The golden circle

In 2009, author, speaker and marketing consultant Simon Sinek delivered a TED Talk called How great leaders inspire action,

He pointed out that some of the world’s most successful brands and leaders had something in common.

I believe he specifically mentioned Apple, Martin Luther King and the Wright brothers.

The overlap among them was they understand why they do what they do.

While everyone knows what they do, and many know how they do it, very few know why they do it.

He breaks this all down into what he to refers as “The Golden Circle,” which is illustrated like this:

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Knowing why means you understand your purpose.

You’re not merely going through the motions and haphazardly completing tasks each day.

There’s a distinct purpose that’s driving you, which is important for three key reasons.

1. Clarity

Digital marketing is a wide umbrella.

Here are just a few components you might integrate into your digital marketing strategy at any given time:

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If you’re not sure what you’re trying to achieve, you won’t be very effective.

There’s just no way around it.

In fact, the brands lacking a purpose are often get caught up in a so-called spray-and-pray mindset, where they tinker with this and that without thinking ahead.

Taking this type of approach seldom yields favorable results and usually wastes time and money.

When you know your why, you have a clear vision of what you’re looking to accomplish and what your purpose is.

Having clarity inevitably helps you pick and choose specific digital marketing strategies and lets you know which metrics you need to measure.

Here’s an example.

Let’s say your goal is to increase leads to your website by 25% within six months.

This would provide you with a sense of direction.

All of a sudden, you know why you’re choosing certain strategies and which actions you need to take to give yourself the best possible chance of reaching that goal.

For instance, you might do the following:

  • look for an analytics tool that provides in-depth insights on website traffic
  • identify which three strategies/channels are bringing the bulk of your traffic
  • put more of your effort into optimizing those three strategies/channels
  • continually examine key metrics to spot areas of improvement
  • consistently strive to improve those areas until you reach your goal of 25% more leads

2. Efficiency

Following a step-by-step approach like this is much more efficient than a spray-and-pray campaign, lacking any forethought.

Let’s say you were getting the bulk of your leads from SEO, YouTube and long-form content, but the rest of your tactics were having minimal impact.

With this knowledge, you would know you should place a bigger emphasis on SEO, YouTube and long-form content and spend far less time on the other areas.

This is basically following Pareto’s Principle (or the 80/20 Principle), where focusing on a few vital tasks allows you to achieve the biggest results.

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In turn, this would make your digital marketing strategy much more efficient and enable you to hit your goal of 25% more leads more quickly and with less friction.

3. A tactical advantage

I’m a firm believer that finding success in digital marketing requires you to be a master tactician.

Everything should have a purpose, and there should be no wasted motions.

Knowing your why is critical because it enables you to plot and plan and develop a strategy.

It lets you know what data to analyze, which topics to research, which competitors to assess, which trends to capitalize on, etc.

This all boils down to giving you a tremendous tactical advantage over most of your competition.

How to figure out your why

At this point we’ve established that knowing your why is incredibly beneficial.

In many cases, it can even revolutionize your digital marketing strategy.

Now the question is, “What steps do you need to take in order to know your why?”

There are a few different ways to go about this, but here’s the formula I recommend.

It involves asking yourself a series of questions and letting your answers dictate the direction of your digital marketing.

What’s my goal/purpose?

I don’t see the need to overthink it or make things more difficult than they have to be.

At the end of the day, finding your why is simply identifying the goal/purpose of your digital marketing strategy.

What is your number one overall goal?

The trick here is to be as specific as possible.

In the example I used earlier, there was a specific goal of generating 25% more leads in six months.

It wasn’t just to “generate more leads.”

Being specific will help you develop an intelligent approach and allow you to measure your progress along the way.

Who’s my target audience?

At the core of any successful campaign is a digital marketer with a clear understanding of whom they’re trying to reach.

In other words, you must know your target audience:

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You probably (and should) have at least a basic understanding of this, but if there are any questions, you need to answer them ASAP.

I won’t go into all the gory details here, but check out this guide for more on this topic.

It will help you figure out your target audience in a hurry.

Which digital marketing techniques/channels allow me to reach my target audience?

This is where things start to get interesting and where knowing your why begins to pay off.

Once you have a clear idea of what you’re trying to accomplish and whom you’re trying to reach, you need to figure out which avenues you’ll take to do so.

I recommend evaluating your existing techniques/channels as well as researching other possibilities.

For instance, let’s say you’re trying to figure out which social networks to focus on.

You might want to see which networks are most popular according to your target audience’s age group:

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Or you might want to see which social networks produce the most shares in your industry.

You can find that out by using BuzzSumo, which you can learn more about in this post.

Which tools should I use to measure my impact?

Finally, you’ll need a way to track your progress and determine which areas need your attention.

For a basic overview of the leads coming to your site and how they’re getting there, you may want to use Google Analytics.

To check the status of your SEO campaign and to see how many backlinks you’ve acquired or which keywords you’re ranking for, etc., you might use SEMrush or Ahrefs.

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And to see how your social media campaign is coming along, you might use Hootsuite Analytics.

You get the idea.

The point I’m trying to make here is that measuring your digital marketing strategy every step of the way enables you to make the right adjustments and capitalize on opportunities to increase the likelihood of your goal being actualized.

Conclusion

I’ll admit that “knowing your why” sounds a little bit like something you might hear from a cheesy motivational guru.

But it’s incredibly important on many different levels, especially when applied to your digital marketing strategy.

Understanding the underlying purpose of your strategy ultimately dictates what you do and how you do it.

It provides you with a clear direction.

I know I have come to some amazing revelations after taking the time to ponder my why, and these epiphanies have contributed directly to my success as a marketer.

If you take the time to know your why, I can practically guarantee it will positively impact your digital marketing strategy and provide you with the necessary framework to get the results you’re looking for with minimal setbacks.

What’s the primary goal of your digital marketing strategy?


Source: quicksprout

How Knowing Your “Why” Can Revolutionize Your Digital Marketing Strategy

Why innovative products aren’t enough for a successful pharma launch

Why innovative products aren’t enough for a successful pharma launch
In a tough launch environment, four executives share insights on how to set your company apart—with a laser focus on patients, an agile approach, and an engaged organization.
In a tough launch environment, four executives share insights on how to set your company apart—with a laser focus on patients, an agile approach, and an engaged organization.
Source: McKinsey

Why innovative products aren’t enough for a successful pharma launch

Perspectives on CCAR: Confronting uncertainty in the 2018 cycle

Perspectives on CCAR: Confronting uncertainty in the 2018 cycle
For the third year in a row, no bank failed the Comprehensive Capital Analysis and Review (CCAR) on quantitative grounds. And while regulatory uncertainty remains a challenge, banks have more to do to prepare for CCAR 2018 and to build their longer-term approach for stress testing.
For the third year in a row, no bank failed the Comprehensive Capital Analysis and Review (CCAR) on quantitative grounds. And while regulatory uncertainty remains a challenge, banks have more to do to prepare for CCAR 2018 and to build their longer-term approach for stress testing.
Source: McKinsey

Perspectives on CCAR: Confronting uncertainty in the 2018 cycle

The Latest SEO Trends You Should Ignore

The Latest SEO Trends You Should Ignore
Given that Google changes its search algorithm 500-600 times each year, it’s not surprising marketers get confused sometimes. Speculations about the latest SEO trends run rampant and are a breeding ground for many myths. For this reason, it’s sometimes difficult to tell fact from fiction. Of course, the Internet provides the perfect framework for misinformation to spread at an alarming rate. As a result, many marketers waste their energy and resources implementing useless tactics that…

Given that Google changes its search algorithm 500-600 times each year, it’s not surprising marketers get confused sometimes.

Speculations about the latest SEO trends run rampant and are a breeding ground for many myths.

For this reason, it’s sometimes difficult to tell fact from fiction.

Of course, the Internet provides the perfect framework for misinformation to spread at an alarming rate.

As a result, many marketers waste their energy and resources implementing useless tactics that don’t get any results.

Or worse, some implement harmful techniques that get them penalized.

It’s a bad deal either way.

In this post, I’d like to address some particular SEO trends I see many marketers fall for that are really nothing but a waste of time.

Here we go.

Keyword density is a huge ranking factor

Remember the days when jam-packing content with a targeted keyword phrase would send it soaring to the top of the SERPs?

Kind of like this monstrosity:

keyword stuffing1

It made for some lackluster content and provided very minimal (if any) real value to readers.

Thankfully, those days are long gone.

Panda put an end to that back in 2011.

Since then, any SEO marketer in their right mind made sure they weren’t doing any keyword stuffing.

But here’s the thing.

It left a lot of questions regarding proper keyword density.

Obviously, keyword stuffing is a bad idea. That’s a given.

But many SEO marketers still seem to think that keyword density is a huge ranking factor.

They end up putting a lot of time and effort into getting it just right.

Just hit that perfect keyword density, and you’re good to go.

But this isn’t the case.

While it is true that keyword density is a ranking factor, it’s by no means as important as it once was.

There’s no reason to stress about it.

It’s something that you should be conscious of, but it shouldn’t command all your attention.

In other words, there’s no need to drive yourself crazy trying to reach the optimal keyword density.

This line from Backlinko summarizes it perfectly:

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You have to use exact match keywords

There’s another keyword-related myth I would like to put to rest.

And that’s the idea that you should use only exact match keywords.

Let me reference the red apples example one more time:

keyword stuffing1

Beyond the annoying keyword stuffing taking place here, take a look at how every use of the keyword is an exact match.

It sounds ridiculous and unnatural!

That’s not how humans talk.

If it’s unnatural, it’s not adding quality.

And if it’s not adding quality, it’s not contributing to the user experience.

The bottom line is you should use exact match keywords only when it makes sense and sounds natural.

If it makes your content sound clunky, you’ll want to ditch it or use a variation of the keyword.

The concept of always using exact match keywords is extremely antiquated and dates back to when keyword stuffing was acceptable.

But neither has a place in current SEO best practices.

Pop-ups are an automatic deal breaker

In January 2017, Google launched an update known as the “Intrusive Interstitial Penalty.”

Here’s a snippet from the Google Webmaster Blog regarding this update:

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The primary purpose was to provide a better experience for mobile users, ensuring their browsing doesn’t get disrupted by ungodly pop-ups like these:

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This created an uproar in the SEO community with people being deathly afraid to use any type of pop-up on their sites.

And it’s easy to see why.

Why would you want to risk it?

It was an update for which Google gave a warning several months in advance, which in and of itself is pretty rare.

I even wrote an article in late 2016 called “What Are Interstitials, and Are They Hurting Your SEO?” to give my readers advanced warning.

At the time, it seemed like a very legitimate concern.

But now that some time has passed and the dust has settled, it appears it’s not that big of a deal after all.

Most experts agree:

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And I can’t even begin to tell you the number of pop-ups I still get hit with whenever I’m exploring the web or doing research.

In fact, I’m a little disappointed because I hate being disrupted by mindless pop-ups when I’m in the zone and trying to find important information.

Apparently, having pop-ups on your site isn’t the kiss of death.

But if you do decide to use them, be responsible about it.

Don’t go out of your way to interrupt the user experience, and try to make pop-ups as seamless as possible.

It’s all about inbound links

We all know links are super important.

I’ll be the first to say a great looking link profile is a thing of beauty.

But it seems too many marketers are too fixated on just inbound links and forget about outbound links.

Of course, you want authoritative and relevant sites to link to you!

But don’t ignore outbound links:

Outbound links

I mentioned in a post on NeilPatel.com that “outbound links or links that point to external web pages from your own site can actually impact your blog authority. Make sure the pages your links point to are relevant, useful and have good standing with Google. 

And there are plenty of experts who agree.

In fact, Backlinko listed outbound link quality as #31 of Google’s 200 ranking factors.

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That’s fairly high.

But isn’t it a disadvantage when people exploring your site are directed to an external site?

Wouldn’t it adversely affect your bounce rate and average time spent on your site, not to mention your conversions?

Well, as we all know, Google’s top priority is an awesome user experience and great content.

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If you include super helpful outbound links that expand on a topic, you’ll be rewarded.

What I’m trying to say here is all links are important.

Instead of focusing solely on acquiring inbound links, you should link out to awesome resources as well.

Make it a habit.

Note: make your outbound links open in a separate tab. This increases the chance that readers will return to your site, and I find it creates an overall better user experience.

Jamming your site with affiliate links is no big deal

Ah…affiliate links.

What website owner/blogger wouldn’t want to cash in on them?

It’s one of the most efficient ways to get a nice payday with minimal energy expended.

Don’t get me wrong, I like affiliate marketing. I really do.

In fact, a lot of people completely crush it with affiliate marketing.

Just take a look at what Pat Flynn of Smart Passive Income made in a single month:

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This isn’t to say that making over 80 grand in a month is the norm.

But it does go to show the potential affiliate marketing has.

So, of course, some people will go overboard and stuff their content with affiliate links, assuming it’s no big deal.

And this might have been the case a year ago.

But if you’re familiar with the Google “Fred” update that took place in March 2017, you know going crazy with affiliate links is tempting fate.

Barry Schwartz of Search Engine Land took the time to analyze roughly 100 sites affected by the update, and here’s what he found:

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I would say experiencing a 50-90% drop in traffic is cause for concern, and you should proceed with caution for the foreseeable future.

This isn’t to say including a few affiliate links here and there will kill your traffic, but it’s definitely something to be aware of.

Having an abundance of affiliate links signals to Google that making affiliate sales is the main purpose of your content, which could negatively affect your rankings.

Conclusion

I’ll be honest.

SEO can be maddening at times.

There are always some kind of adjustments being made to Google’s algorithm.

Some are major; some are minor. But this constant tweaking often leads to speculation.

This speculation leads to rumors, and rumors lead to persistent myths.

That’s why I thought I would clear the air about some of the most pervasive SEO trends that are actually quite useless.

I hope that putting things into perspective for you will help you focus on what really matters and help you avoid investing your time and energy into tactics that won’t bring any results.

It should also reduce your odds of incurring any ugly penalties.

In your opinion, what’s the biggest SEO myth that marketers continually fall for?


Source: quicksprout

The Latest SEO Trends You Should Ignore

Building trust-based relationships in pharma

Building trust-based relationships in pharma
Belén Garijo, member of the executive board of Merck and CEO of Merck Healthcare, touches on the industry’s outlook and how her company is positioning itself for the future.
Belén Garijo, member of the executive board of Merck and CEO of Merck Healthcare, touches on the industry’s outlook and how her company is positioning itself for the future.
Source: McKinsey

Building trust-based relationships in pharma

588: When Startups Scrapped the Business Plan

588: When Startups Scrapped the Business Plan
Steve Blank, entrepreneurship lecturer at Stanford, UC Berkeley, and Columbia, talks about his experience of coming to Silicon Valley and building companies from the ground up. He shares how he learned to apply customer discovery methods to emerging high technology startups. And he explains why he believes most established companies are still failing to apply lean startup methodology in their corporate innovation programs. Blank is the author of the HBR article, “Why the Lean Start-Up…
Steve Blank, entrepreneurship lecturer at Stanford, UC Berkeley, and Columbia, talks about his experience of coming to Silicon Valley and building companies from the ground up. He shares how he learned to apply customer discovery methods to emerging high technology startups. And he explains why he believes most established companies are still failing to apply lean startup methodology in their corporate innovation programs. Blank is the author of the HBR article, “Why the Lean Start-Up Changes Everything.”
Source: Ideacast

588: When Startups Scrapped the Business Plan

BlackMan Yeast vs. Bottle Dregs

BlackMan Yeast vs. Bottle Dregs
It feels like every other blog post or BYO Advanced Brewing article starts with me in some exotic location meeting an interesting person or drinking a mind-blowing beer that sparks an idea for a batch… this one starts October 2014 when I spoke at the Dixie Cup in Houston, Texas. It is the final competition in the Lone Star Circuit, and the banquet marks the end of the local homebrewing competition season. Among the highlights…
Barret and me.It feels like every other blog post or BYO Advanced Brewing article starts with me in some exotic location meeting an interesting person or drinking a mind-blowing beer that sparks an idea for a batch… this one starts October 2014 when I spoke at the Dixie Cup in Houston, Texas. It is the final competition in the Lone Star Circuit, and the banquet marks the end of the local homebrewing competition season. Among the highlights were a visit to St. Arnold’s Brewing, listening to a fantastic presentation about hops, the rowdiest awards banquets of my life, judging a specialty category of “Best Beer to Chase a Hurricane,” and a “barleywine breakfast” that was heavy on the vintage barleywine, light on the breakfast.

BlackMan Yeast samples and homebrew.One of the people I chatted with was Barrett Tillman, who was just getting Blackman Yeast running. Apparently I made a good impression because a few weeks later a box of samples showed up: both his first-and-still-only dried souring cultures, and a couple of homebrews (not to mention a note on what appeared to be on a surplus thank-you card from his wedding). Barrett’s cultures are just brewer’s yeast and bacteria (Lactobacillus and/or Pediococcus), bring your own Brettanomyces. It is a unique and interesting approach because Brett can come from so many sources and  provide such a range of flavors. As a power-user it is nice to have acid-production and funk as two separate dials (the same way I like my spice-rubs to be salt-free so I can add more without over-salting). To be as fair as possible, not wanting to judge his B4 Belgian Sour Mix on someone else’s Brett, I added the bottle dregs from Barrett’s delicious homebrewed Lambic for funk and to clean-up after the Pedio.

Mike and Anna.My friend Matt had been considering starting to homebrew, to entice him I invited him over to split a batch of pale sour beer. A few weeks earlier I’d been over to his house for a tasting and he’d selected a few choice bottles of De Garde, Cantillon, and Modern Times for dregs for the other half of the batch. I must have left the culture in the pressure-canned mason jar of wort with a loose lid for a few days too long before transferring to a bottle with an airlock, because by the time we gave it a smell it was pure malt vinegar. Since then I received a free sample of reCap mason-jar lids and water-less airlocks that are have hold up for two weeks without issue.

Luckily I’d also grabbed some dregs from more than a couple bottles of Hill Farmstead Anna that my friend Mike had stockpiled (including an especially good batch dubbed “magic” Anna). Hill Farmstead bottles their saisons with wine yeast, but the other microbes are likely doing most of the heavy lifting after long aging to this point.

When the two batches were ready Matt and I tasted them and made a few sample blends. It made sense, the BlackMan was more acidic, while the saison culture had better depth of funk and fruit flavors. However, when we blended them they each lost what was special. The combination didn’t have the snappy acidity or the depth of funk-character. They were better left to stand on their own!

First pour of the two batches. M&M var. Black Man (Left)

Smell – Lemon and pineapple, has gotten much more interesting since bottling. Even a little farmyard.

Appearance – Similar appearance, clear gold on the initial pour, a little haze on the top-up. White head with poor retention.

Taste – Firm lip-smacking lactic acidity. Slight grain-cereal-yeastiness in the finish. Horse blanket as it warms, distant smoky phenolic.

Mouthfeel – Crisp without being watery. The acid is a bit grippy. Medium-plus carbonation.

Drinkability & Notes – A more assertive beer in terms of acidity and aroma.

Changes for Next Time – Not much.

After topping-off, and with HDR.M&M var. Anna (Right)

Smell – Bright and restrained. Hay, old citrus. Slight honeyed malt oxidation.

Appearance – Similar, although with slightly better retention.

Taste – Soft lemon, lots of hay. Really mellow, like my favorite gueuzes. Lactic acid is tame in comparison, more tart-saison than American sour side-by-side, but it was quite acidic on the first sip. A little Orval in the finish.

Mouthfeel – Feels a little softer thanks to the lower acidity. Similar medium-plus carbonation.

Drinkability & Notes – This is about it for me when it comes to an unblended mixed-fermentation sour beer. A range of fruity and funk, some bright acidity,

Changes for Next Time – Not a wow beer that would show well at a tasting or festival, but the sort of beer I’d get a second pour of… if this wasn’t my second to last bottle.

Matt and Mike Sour

Batch Size: 12.50 gal
SRM: 4.0
IBU: 4.0
OG: 1.054
FG: 1.012/1.011
ABV: 5.5%/5.6%
pH: 3.04/3.30
Brewhouse Efficiency: 75 %
Wort Boil Time: 90 mins

Fermentables
——————
77.1% – 18.50 lbs. Weyermann Pilsner
8.3% – 2.00 lbs. Weyermann Munich Malt
6.3% – 1.50 lbs. Rahr 2-row Brewer’s Malt
4.2% – 1.00 lbs. Weyermann Carafoam
2.1% – 0.50 lbs. Weyermann Acidulated
2.1% – 0.50 lbs. Gold Medal AP Flour

Hops
——-
0.63 oz. Crystal (Pellet, 3.25% AA) @ 60 min.

Yeast
——-
1: Black Man Belgian B4
2: Starter of Hill Farmstead Anna dregs

Water Profile
—————–
6 g Calcium Chloride

Calcium
Chloride
Sulfate
Sodium
Magnesium
Carbonate
70
70
50
20
10
90
Other
——–
1.00 tsp Wyeast Yeast Nutrient @ 15 Mins
1 Whirlfloc @ 5 Mins

Mash Schedule
——————–
Sacch Rest – 30 mins @ 158F

Notes
——–
Brewed 8/2/15 with Matt and Chris.

Collected 15 gallons of 1.045 wort with 3 gallon cold sparge.

Bagged hops. Chilled to 85 F with ground water, then 75F with ice.

Pitched 1 L of HF Anna starter. The other half got Black Man Belgian B4, and dregs from a bottle of Barret’s 2013 Lambic. Left at 64 F to ferment.

Racked at some point.

1/2/16 BM is sharply acidic, a bit sulfury. HF is mellower, tart, fruity, sweet.

7/17/16 Bottled both. HF had a bit more than 5 gallons with 130 g of table sugar. BM had a bit less than 5 gallons with 125 g. Both got a splash of Right Proper’s house Lacto/Sacch culture for carbonation.


Source: The Mad Fermentationist

BlackMan Yeast vs. Bottle Dregs