This piece is about the importance of making assessments as they relate to shopping AND growing a business in the digital age.
Everything we do, have done, and ever will do during our time on the planet revolves around making assessments. We make assessments every day in our personal as well as our business lives about people we come in contact with, tasks or challenges we are faced with, and events that will shape the course of our future. In fact, we make assessments so often that we tend to do so unconsciously. In many cases, these unconscious assessments are innocent enough, such as when we look at someone and think instantly that we ‘like or dislike’ them. Or when we make digital assessments such as when you instantly think that you need to be ‘careful’ about opening certain types of e-mails because it may contain a virus.
However, in the business world, there are other times when making unconscious assessments can get us into trouble; such as believing that your digital marketing efforts are top notch based merely on the fact that you have assessed your website to be nice looking and therefore, assume that there is nothing else that needs to be done. You see, the problem with making unconscious assessments is that they lead to unconscious assumptions, and in the world of digital marketing, this could be costing your company many thousands or even millions of dollars!
Before digital marketing, life was simpler. While promoting a business may have revolved around content then every bit as much as it does now, the meat and potatoes of most marketing campaigns involved creating a pretty logo, a catchy slogan, printing up a few flyers, shelf talkers, business cards, and mailers, and then launching some commercials on your local TV and radio station. This approach to marketing was perfectly acceptable because any potential customers who would be making assessments about your business would only know how to do so based on the content delivery systems that were available at the time.
But times change…
Thanks to the internet, consumers today have literally dozens of ways that they can make assessments about your company in seconds. Smartphone’s give them the power of an internet capable computer in the palm of their hands. On the bus, at a relative’s house, or standing in front of your shop, they can learn everything the internet has to say about you in under a minute, and make their assessment of your business based solely on the information they find on their phone. This is why print marketing, TV commercials, and store front style web sites are no longer sufficient.
It’s true that when the internet was young, having a website was enough… in fact it was a super-sexy commodity! But even that has become one small piece in an oversized puzzle that involves embracing a far more dynamic type of web design that is optimized for proper link flow and high search engine rankings; and that’s just the beginning! While your website remains your business’s online epicenter, your digital marketing campaign will also require a far reaching social media presence, blogging, graphics, video and other forms of digital content to support it. While terms like search engine ranking, viral content, and SEO didn’t even exist before the creation of the internet or even during its early days, today, they are central to the techniques that guide a successful modern marketing campaign. If you are not embracing digital marketing in a profound way, then you are behind the times and have some catching up to do.
Of course, even the savviest business owners will find it hard to use their current resources to define, initialize, and execute a successful marketing campaign in the digital realm. In fact, most companies lack either the manpower, financial resources, or time to learn the skills needed to define and develop a comprehensive digital marketing strategy, let alone implement it in real time. In truth, many businesses don’t even know where to start the conversation, which makes it impossible to make a meaningful assessment of the effectiveness of any efforts that would be applied thereafter.
This is where the power of assessments from third party experts on the matter come into play!
Imagine being tasked with going to Japan in order to learn all of the codes, morals, and etiquette of bushido (credo of the samurai), which you will then have to demonstrate to your bosses, shareholders, and customers with authority in 6 week’s time… except that you will be living and working in a building where no one else knows why you are there, no one speaks English, and all of the books are written in Japanese. Suddenly, a task that seems like it should have been easy becomes near impossible.
This is because making the assessments necessary to apply effective digital marketing in the modern world is like speaking another language! Fortunately, digital marketing assessments are merely a dialect of a broader language that the Molloy team is very familiar with; the language of commitment!
Whether you are a business owner, president, CEO, or other executive, we know you have a million things on your plate. We get that you have to negotiate contracts, motivate employees, steer the company’s direction, and expand upon its vision. That is precisely why our approach makes it easy on you and your team. All you have to do is communicate some rudimentary details about your business and tell us where to find any trails of your current online presence. Then, you can let out a breath of fresh air because we will make a comprehensive assessment of your current online presence, take the reins, and create a strategy for making it not just powerful, but visible and effective.
Life’s about details, so here are a few regarding what it takes to make a typical assessment of your company’s digital presence as well as what the endgame is.
The first place to start any digital marketing assessment is your website. If you don’t have one, then it can be built up from scratch. If there is a website, it will be gone over with a fine tooth comb page by page, link by link in order to see how well it performs. In order for a website to be recognized by search engines, it needs to not just look pleasing to the eye, but have proper meta tags, link flow, content, and SEO. Every improvement made on your website will be with one clear goal in mind; gaining rank and visibility in the digital space in order to drive more customer traffic to your location so you can make more money.
After your website has been overhauled and optimized, it will then be time to create a supporting presence online using directory listings, social media profiles, and blogs, all of which will function much like a digital spider web. What will you ensnare in this web you ask? The logical answer would be customers, but in actuality, the target will be the search engines themselves!
You see, customers aren’t the only ones making assessments of your website. Every search engine (including the big guys on the block like Google and Bing) are making digital assessments of your online presence every day. They do this by sending out little feelers that crawl across the great spans of the internet called search engine spiders. (It’s no coincidence that the first major search engine was called web crawler).
These spiders are tasked with collecting data that comes from any website, social media profile, or other digital presence containing content. Afterward, they follow the various link threads to see where they lead. A smooth and coherent link flow is essential for this reason, even between different sites, because if a search engine spider comes across broken links or gets confused as to where the parent website is, it will automatically stop its assessment and your website will consequently rank poorly.
After the data has been collected, their findings are pinged back to a central location where its relevance is assessed. A search engine spider’s definition of relevance used to be based almost entirely on three major factors: keywords, meta tags, and proper link flow, but now, even that is changing. This is because companies looking to take advantage of the simplicity of such an approach used to launch websites with a million links attached to a million blogs stuffed with keywords and no coherent content of any kind. This approach (known as black hat SEO), made it easy to increase one’s search engine rank in mere days. However, leading search engines like Google are now using specialized algorithms to make their spiders far more intelligent. The main focus of these changes has been to help the automatic assessment of websites become more focused on the relevance of the context and meaning of content, rather than just on how many keywords it has.
After all these factors have been considered and the assessment is completed, the search engine then stores the data, but not before it makes automatic assumptions based on relevance in order to dish out an appropriate search engine ranking for each site it trolls and the parent website it might ultimately lead to. For a simple example, if you have a well done website filled with relevant content and a simple to follow link stream as well as a daily blog that automatically links back to half a dozen regularly updated social media profiles and your parent website, it will by proxy rank higher than if you just had a cookie cutter website with poor link flow and no blog or social media presence.
The bottom line is the bigger the content web you weave, the easier it is to entrap search engines for high rankings so you can reel in your target audience with meaningful content delivery system. However, that endgame will never happen without a proper assessment to get the ball rolling. Fortunately the Molloy program has all the right tools and then takes the process a step further.
Behind the spiders, the webs, and all the digital mojo that make up your ratings, the data you put out on the internet for the world to see as a whole is nothing more than a series of conversations. Just because you aren’t physically there to see the end of those conversations doesn’t mean you aren’t having them! Much like the way we often make assessments, the language we use to communicate our thoughts, feelings, and wants can be subtle or even subconscious at times. It becomes absolutely imperative that the digital conversations created online mirror those that your employees are having with customers both on the phone and face to face. Regardless of how well your online presence is assessed or how much it’s improved, you will never see the money you want if your employees are not able to properly handle everyday conversations with your clientele.
Fortunately, Molloy BDG doesn’t just provide assessments of websites, blogs, and social media profiles. We are first and foremost committed to assessing your people and how their business conversations are affecting your branding and your numbers. Once those assessments are completed, we can couple our digital marketing efforts with powerful employee communication training programs, a one of a kind call recording, tracking, and assessment program, and access to coaches as well as exclusive video, audio, and written content. In doing so, our initial assessments will be ultimately justified by the powerful and positive results generated by your business.