The need for a solid digital presence has never been more integral to the success of an organization – regardless of size – than it is today. With more consumers sourcing information online now than ever, the pandemic fueled shift to a primarily and oftentimes solely digital customer experience has left many business owners scrambling to keep up. Agencies can be a valuable resource to lean on in the realm of digital marketing but many of them preach methods and approaches that masquerade as innovation without delivering desired results. The niche that Market Me Consulting – a Toronto based digital marketing and content creation agency that works with clients from the music to automotive industry and many in between – has carved out in the expansive world of consulting, is based on leveraging the historically proven methods and ad platforms that provide the preferred outcome. Re-simplifying the digital marketing strategy for businesses has been a successful model and part of the reason that we talked to Mike Moll, the Co-Founder of Market Me and one of their in-house Digital Marketing Strategists about what the landscape looks like in the current online marketplace.
An Abrupt Change to the Online Experience
Prior to the global shuddering and locking of doors because of covid, there were a ton of companies that were able to get away with providing a suboptimal online experience to their customers. Partly due to naivety about how it would affect their customer satisfaction but also in large part as a result of a lack of necessity. It wasn’t affecting their bottom line and so there was no urgency to creating either a unique and positive online customer journey or one that mirrors the in-store experience (hopefully for most that is one and the same). As the competitive marketplace online exploded in the spring of 2021, companies in every corner of the digital ecosystem reevaluated their positions and whatever budget they had available to keep up with the rapid pace on online consumerism. We delved into this topic with Mike and his perspective on what the most important aspect of an organization’s web presence is versus what it should be offered a natural jumping off point for further interrogation. The standard model for how a website looks and the questions it answers about the user’s query should be front and centre and oftentimes it isn’t. This is usually due to a preconceived notion of how a website is supposed to be structured clouding the designer’s or the client’s mindset. The main purpose of the homepage is to provide confirmation for the user that the search result (your website) matches their search criteria and that starts with a title. Does the title page give the consumer the reassurance that they are in the right place? Assuming the answer is yes, the next logical step is to let the user know what the experience is going to be like – setting expectations up front so that there isn’t any guesswork required. Establishing credibility early is another significant weapon in the arsenal of any good web designer. A site with high rate of return from a lead generation to conversion perspective should have reviews or testimonials about other people’s experience that serves as digital proof that the user is in the right place. The final component and one that is so often overlooked is the call to action. While Mike would attest that some users are lazy, I would prefer to call them directionless (after typing this I am not sure which is more derisive). They just need to be pointed in the right direction to get to where you want them to go and relying too heavily on natural intuition and online savvy is a good way to lose prospects. Call out exactly what you want them to do and how they do it in a simple atheistically pleasing way and watch the conversions rise.
Reverse Engineering the Customer Journey
When considering how to position your business online whether it be your website or your social media accounts it is crucial to reconstruct the user journey prior to solidifying your value proposition. In our discussion Mike explained this as what he deems sales intelligence and it is a core principle that he uses with his team to craft the right messaging on any digital platform. If you are selling a service you have to be able to convey what that is in a clear and concise way so that a user is easily able to distinguish whether your service is what they are looking for. There must be a logical workflow to this and that workflow is dependent on the service you offer. The example Mike used during the episode was a plumber but for the sake of staying on brand we can switch it to collision repair as we do this deep dive. How you talk about your service differs greatly if you are selling something that has an immediate or urgent need and the ancillary pieces are irrelevant if there isn’t an obvious way for the user to get in touch with you. That doesn’t mean that photos of the facility, customer reviews, and an overall pleasing layout are immaterial it simply means that they fall into a more supportive structure of your overall sell message and that is because the most prominent piece must be a strong call to action. This seems intuitive but the trap that many business owners fall into sometimes at no fault of their own (yes this is a shot at digital marketers, I’m punching up!) the adherence to the prototypical content marketing idiom isn’t applicable to every industry. Understanding what you are offering consumers and what mindset they are in when they are in the consideration window of the customer acquisition funnel is paramount to the delivery of your overall message.
New Social Media
Since its inception the Facebook has spread across the world’s screens like wildfire and there is not indication that its popularity or reach will ever slow down. They continue to develop new solutions to intrigue and engage with Facebook Marketplace and Facebook Jobs, the two most recent upgrades to the invasive arsenal of app add-ons. For the app developers these are some of the strategies being employed to get users to remain on the app longer and generate more engagement with their community. It isn’t inherently bad either. The concept of a one-stop-shop for your entire life, social or professional, seems like a convenient solution. But because Facebook is flooded with advertisers trying draw your eyeballs to their latest product or service it makes the Facebook the farthest thing from altruistic. The popular Netflix documentary The Social Dilemma does a great job of highlighting just what apps like Facebook want and its summed up famously with a quote about the actual user experience that many people who watched it, felt deeply unnerved by (it’s me projecting my own insecurities again).
“If you’re not paying for the product, then you are the product”
The quote doesn’t originate from the documentary but its chilling nature speaks to a larger conversation about what users are doing online and how that is being monetized. The following is a caution of sorts about how to advertise or interact with your customers on social media. Businesses must be keenly aware of two very important trends with today’s social platforms:
- Everyone is suffering from digital fatigue whether they acknowledge it or not so be thoughtful about what you’re putting out there. Posting just to post is not the right way to create awareness or engagement about your product or service. Are you offering value to your followers? Is the message repetitive? Am I seeing any positive results? Important questions to answer before you hit the button.
- When it comes to Facebook ads – which so many businesses are leveraging with varying levels of success – you must evaluate who else is in the space alongside or above you. Competition for eyeballs has never been greater and if you are burning through budget trying to make Facebook ads work with minimal return then its time to consider a different path. That doesn’t mean you did it wrong or that your business isn’t marketable on that platform it may just be an indication of how hypercompetitive today’s digital environment is.
About Mike Moll
Mike Moll is a Marketing Strategist and the co-founder of Market Me Consulting. His company helps solopreneurs monetize their skillset and through his expertise, allows them to build systems that create freedom by giving them their time back to focus on what matters most – their business. Mike is also the host of the Market Me podcast which is dedicated to covering all things business development and marketing. The show includes actionable strategies around personal brand building, product positioning, growing an audience, sales funnels, and marketing goals.
About Market Me Consulting
Market Me Consulting is a digital marketing agency based in Toronto. Their simple but impactful approach to marketing is built on the principal that digital marketing doesn’t have to be difficult. Market Me works with clients from the automotive to the music industry and a myriad of other types in between. Their consistent and successful strategy of using proven methods that focus on the fundamentals of digital marketing makes them a valuable resource for any business that is trying to get noticed online.