Steps To A Solid Digital Marketing Foundation

AI Are you kidding me?

I just received a newsletter that I’ve been subscribed to for a couple of years.  The topics that they cover are all about digital marketing, which as you can imagine, I’m always really interested in.  And, this newsletter has always been a go to source of really good information for me, but, today the lead article was about AI (artificial intelligence).

Please, don’t get me wrong.  I realize that AI is the topic that everyone is talking about, in digital marketing.  I know the impact Google’s AI is having and will have on search results.  I totally get it!

[Tweet “AI! I’m still trying to figure out social! #digitalmarketing #smb”]

But, seriously, most of the business owners and marketers that we talk to are spending 80% of their time just trying to get more sales leads from their site!  They’re trying to figure out if the money that they are pouring into their AdWords account is getting them more business.  And, they’re trying to figure out how this mobile first index, by Google, is going to impact what few top rankings that they have.  Artificial intelligence is sooo far off their radar that they can’t even take the time to read an article about it.

Focus On This

Analytics: If you don’t commit to anything else in the next 30 days, commit to reading, really reading, certain analytic reports. It is impossible for you to make a decision about anything related to your website, your SEO, or the money you are spending without really knowing what is happening.

Here are a couple of reports that you absolutely have to get on a regular basis:
[tweet “Before you worry about AI, focus on this. #smb #digitalmarketing”]

  • Traffic: There are 2 critical pieces of information that you have to know about the traffic to your site, are you getting any and where is it coming from. To get the answer to this go to your Google Analytics account (if you don’t have a GA account, stop reading this immediately and get one set up) and navigate to Audience -> Overview. For the “where are they coming from” navigate to Acquisition -> Overview.These are just basic reports but, if you’re not getting anything right now, these are the best first steps
  • Behavior: What the heck are these people doing on the site? This is generally the next question that we hear. This report will help you see what people are doing, once they get to your site. The best information that you’ll see on this report is what pages are getting the most views. Knowing this will help you understand what type of information your site’s visitors are looking for. To get this report navigate to Behavior -> Overview

Mobile: It’s huge and it’s getting bigger every single day. I know you don’t think that you’re getting many mobile visitors, but trust me, either you are and you just don’t know it, or you’re about to. Make sure that you’re website is setup to be mobile friendly. There’s a LOT of information out there (here’s our 5 tips for better mobile) talking about how important mobile is and I’ll reinforce that it is. We’ve written a number of articles about how to be mobile friendly so I’m not going to go over all of that here. Also, if you want to find out if your site meets Google’s standards for being mobile friendly, here is a link to their testing tool. All you have to do is put in your site’s URL and you’ll get a report as to whether or not it fit’s Google’s standards.

Traffic: Get Some! It doesn’t matter how pretty your website is or how amazing the information on your site is, if nobody is seeing it!
[tweet “Traffic: Get Some! It doesn’t matter if nobody sees it #digitalmarketing #marketing”]
I can’t begin to tell you how many times we talk with people that want a new site because they aren’t seeing the business impact that they want. The knee jerk reaction is always “we must need a new website”. You may not. We’ve written blog articles and even a white paper on this topic trying to help you not waste more money by trying to fix the wrong thing.

Check your traffic reports before you dive into a new website project. If you’re not getting any sort of volume of traffic, work on that first. Then, when you start to see more people coming to your site, you can make the decision on wha to do next.

Conversions: If you’re reviewing your analytic reports, getting traffic to your site, and your site is mobile friendly now you should start to look at the conversions on your site. Are people taking the actions on your site that you want them to take? Do you have Calls-To-Action on your site that fits with your buyer’s decision process?

Conversion Rate Optimization is all about the various points of conversions that a buyer will go through as they are making a decision on what product or service to buy. Think about the sales funnel that we all grew up with. Buyers at the top of that funnel are coming to your site looking for information that is totally different than buyers coming to your site that are at the bottom of that sales funnel.

And, there are a whole lot more measurable conversions than just that contact us form on your site. There is study after study showing the number of times a person visits a site before them contact a company, how far into their decision today’s buyers are before they contact a company, and the importance of content relevancy as they buyers go through their decision process.

If you review your site, right now, is there information for your customers at their various stages of decision making? Do you have educational resources for them to get more educated on your products, services, or your industry? Do you have Calls-To-Action that persuade them to engage with the content on your page or download a thought leading white paper? Then, do you have the reports setup in your Google Analytics account that measures these points of conversion so that you know if they’re happening or not?


In the end, AI is important and it’s only going to get more important with time. But it is only useful if you have the basics of your digital marketing all working smoothly. All too often we see business owners and marketers chasing the next “silver bullet” of digital marketing, leaving in their wake uncompleted plans, campaigns, and projects.