Each of the last 4 years I’ve trained for the New York City marathon from July to November. If you’re familiar with distance running, then you know that means I’ve had to deal with my fair share of aches, pains, and even injuries.
Whenever I feel like I’m on the brink of an injury, I do what most everyone does in our “internet information age”: I turn to Google. I don’t talk to a coach or a trainer, and I certainly don’t schedule an appointment with a doctor. I start my research online.
Why? Because I can get nearly instant answers to my questions. Getting information online is fast and easy. Simply type your question into the search box and you’ll get an almost endless supply of articles and videos. In fact, I bet you do this as well for just about every topic you need to research, including digital marketing.
However, the benefit of instant gratification is not without some serious pitfalls. In this article, I’ll highlight the 3 major pitfalls you need to avoid when researching online, especially when you’re going to use this information to make important decisions about your digital marketing.
Pitfall #1: Out of Date
Unfortunately, the internet is littered with old, out-dated information. For example, if you want to learn more about search engine optimization (SEO), then you need to be extremely careful. Much of the information you’ll find online is either no longer effective, or worse, will get you into trouble. That’s because SEO tactics have changed rapidly over the past few years.
Like SEO, digital advertising has changed as well. When I started advertising on Google AdWords in 2006, there was no such thing as remarketing, video ads, behavioral targeting, ad extensions, or even demographic targeting. The simple interface I grew to love was quickly replaced with all the robust features you see today. In other words, if you tried to learn Google AdWords by reading an old article, then you may find that the tools, buttons, and even the terminology is no longer valid.
Pitfall #2: Unproven
Since there are no prerequisites to publishing information online, it’s hard to distinguish between tried-and-true tactics versus unsubstantiated theory.
For example, people have published predictions about the end of email marketing as an effective marketing tactic because of the rise of social media. In theory, this makes sense because more and more people are checking Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other social media channels more frequently than they used to check their email inbox. But as I just wrote, this is just “in theory.” It’s not fact and it does not mean email marketing is dead. However, it’s easy to read these types of articles online and fall into the trap of believing unproven information.
Pitfall #3: Not a Good Fit
Finally, given the vast size of the internet and the differences across people and businesses, it should be obvious that not everything you read is a good fit for you and your situation. This is often a problem when I’m researching running injuries. There are so many factors like age, experience level, previous injuries, and running technique that it’s nearly impossible to find a recovery program that is a good fit.
The same is true with digital marketing. The particular products or services you’re selling, customer lifetime value, budget, your team’s experience level with digital marketing, and even the age of your business (startup vs. established) all play a role in determining which information online is appropriate for your situation.
What Does This All Mean?
To avoid the 3 pitfalls listed above, you need to make sure you’re following up-to-date, proven information that matches your unique situation. And that’s exactly why we created the Main Street Inner Circle membership program.
As a member of Main Street Inner Circle, you get access to monthly live trainings where we share the latest tactics that we’ve testing in our business and with our clients. Plus, to answer all of your questions and ensure you’re focused on marketing tactics that fit your situation, we offer Office Hours where you can call in and get expert marketing advice.