Set It And Forget It? Oh, No You Don’t!

Set it and Forget It

There’s something magical, even mythical, about a small kitchen rotisserie that requires virtually no effort. Just turn it on and — bam! — out pops a juicy roasted turkey, mouth-watering ribs, succulent roast chicken with a zesty lemon herb rub, or a peppercorn crusted roast beef.

But the truth is, even Ron Popeil’s famous Showtime® Rotisserie oven requires more work than the trademarked slogan suggests. The manual of the current model, for example, is 32 pages of instructions, cautions, tips, hints and recipes.

Still, there’s something deeply attractive about the idea of “Set it, and forget it!”

It’s the way most small business owners treat their website and digital marketing, for instance.

Here’s how it goes. You know that the internet has turned the world upside down, but you’ve got a business to run. So you hire someone to build a website. You ask your web designer to sprinkle a little SEO fairy dust over the thing, and — bam! — out pops a website that generates a steady stream of phone calls, emails and new business. Now you can get back to the business of running your business and let the internet take care of itself.

Here’s the truth we all know, but want to forget: Marketing is a process, not a project.

But guess what? While you’ve forgotten about it the internet, your customers haven’t. If you’ve neglected your website in the last few years, here’s what you might have missed:

  • Mobile Crushes Desktop. Back in 2016, mobile devices overtook desktop computers as the most common way to to access the internet. This is a game changer for your business. Is your website mobile responsive? If not, you’re losing potential customers (and probably losing ground in search rank as well.) Not only are mobile visitors less likely to spend time on a website designed for desktop, this reluctance is reflected in Google’s preference for serving mobile-friendly sites.
  • Content Marketing Continues to Advance. Has the content on your website remained unchanged since the day you launched it? You’re not alone. But content marketing (think blogs, articles, ‘advertorials’ and the like) continues to grow  because of its ability to serve several needs at once. Good content marketing engages and informs customers, establishes credibility and provides a strong advantage in search optimization. Unattended websites will fall behind while those that provide regular, valuable content continue to advance.
  • Online Reviews Amplify Word of Mouth. Are you in a business that relies mostly on word of mouth? That’s awesome. But guess what, that word of mouth has moved online. In one recent study, 97 percent of consumers check online reviews for local businesses. Online reviews took off with Yelp’s restaurant reviews, but online reviews now affect local businesses of all kinds, from attorneys to electricians to auto dealers. And guess what? Most people — 85 percent — trust online reviews as much as real-life personal recommendation.
  • Contextual Advertising Surges Back. Sometimes, what’s old is new again. Back in the good old days, it made perfect sense for an auto dealer to take out an ad in the local newspaper classified section. It’s simply a matter of advertising where shoppers are shopping. The picture changed as search, social media and online publishers began offering fine-tuned targeting based on consumer demographics and behavior. But that technology continues to face the challenge of attribution that only measures the last click in the sales funnel. And in a world where people spend most of their time online looking at social media, news and entertainment, advertising is often a distraction to the user rather than a benefit. In that environment, contextual advertising makes more sense than ever.

Here’s the truth we all know, but want to forget: Marketing is a process, not a project.

The great news is that digital marketing can transform your business, and the tools to get the job done are getting better all the time. The rise of content management systems like WordPress make it relatively easy to publish rich, mobile-friendly content that engages customers. Businesses can use existing word of mouth to create a virtuous cycle of positive online reviews. And online advertising is driving business like never before.

It’s tempting to set it and forget it. It may (sort of) work for your next chicken dinner. But an effective digital marketing strategy requires attention.

Need help? We’re always just a phone call or email away.