Planning, prepping, strategizing and just before execution, there is a flag on the field. So it goes in online marketing with thousands of minor algorithm changes made monthly to tweaking the so-called search engine ‘secret sauce’. Or too many players on the field, with more and more competitors entering the market with innovative products and messages each day.
In short, the game is always changing and it takes an agile marketer to keep up and stay ahead the curve. Concurrently, so it goes with motherhood. Just when you think you have your little one(s) all figured out and on a proper schedule, you get thrown a curve ball with a growth spurt, a seasonal cold, a teething terror or some other newborn milestone that blindsides you as a new mom.
5 Lessons from Online Marketing
To navigate the first years of motherhood, I have leveraged the top 5 lessons I have learned from online marketing over the past five years.
#1. Be Agile –
Agility in the online marketing world means being able to adapt as quickly as your competitors change and search engine algorithms grow. In motherhood agility is survival. Every month brings new triumphs and challenges. As I have now reached month thirty-two, with two under three, with so few full nights of blissful slumber that I could count them on one hand. My body has adapted to running on short bouts of sleep to accommodate our infant’s and toddler’s schedules, but my mind lags behind. The point is, agility is survival in marketing and in motherhood.
In the same vein, don’t make 12, 24 and 36 month marketing plans when every month the market it changing. Stagnant marketing plans and scheduled parenting plans will never last.
#2. Authenticity Wins –
Shortcuts and repetitive content won’t win over new customers or trick search engines. Babies can smell a fake too. Babies deliver severe authenticity penalization as well as Google. When they smell a fake you will wish you were never on the receiving end of that tantrum and you better hope you have reinforcements. We have had some unlucky relatives and babysitters suffer from disingenuous interaction and it has been none too fun to watch. No matter my exhaustion, I put in the effort and attention. They can always bring a genuine smile to my face, which scores big points and big smiles, the best payment a mom could ask for.
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Your customers and search engines will deliver the same rewards with genuine and authentic marketing. Skip the gimmicks or what you “think customers want to hear” and be yourself. You’ll attract the right customers that will stick around with authenticity.
#3. Listen, Watch & Be Mindful-
No matter how long you are in the internet marketing game, there is more to be learned. No matter how much I think I know after well over a decade in marketing, I am continuously learning and growing in this dynamic space. You have to be open and not assume you have all the answers to be open, mindful and grateful for the lessons you learn from successes and failures.
Similarly, our children have proven time and time again to be much wiser than their years. They show us what is truly important in life and to never take ourselves too seriously. In online marketing and in parenting, I have always learned more in watching, listening and being mindful than talking or preaching.
#4. Test, Test & Test Again –
Even when you are 100% sure the website is ready, the blog is correct, the press release is perfect and the landing page is dynamite…test, test and test again. While I am generally ‘a doer’, I find with less sleep and less experience parenting, it is always best to test our theories before diving in head or feet first.
Whether it is the temperature of the bottle, the bath water, the automated toy or the jolly jumper, it is best to be certain rather than sorry. This one is easier for me as a parent, as it will always be harder on us to ‘learn the hard way’.
It is easy to get caught up in your own ego, assuming you have written the best email, ebook, webpage, ad copy, compelling offer, etc. But instead of believing your own hype, be certain, test your assumptions, don’t just confirm your bias. Openly and honestly test whether you have made the best decisions on your website, in your offerings, etc. There are endless ways to test your marketing practices with heatmapping software (e.g. www.crazyegg.com), web performance software (e.g. www.pingdom.com), usability software (e.g. www.usabilityhub.com) and countless more.
#5. Laugh & Learn –
We all make mistakes. No one is perfect, but it is a difficult fault to recognize in ourselves. We each will fail at our jobs, in our relationships and as parents at one point or another. I have admittedly made bad decisions in online marketing that I have been hard to overcome and learn from. However, these failures have made me a better online marketer and left the scar tissue to grow and learn from each mistake. I hope in the future my parenting mistakes can also be learning lessons that make me a better parent – for that I am sure my children will be the judge. I can’t say I am looking forward to that milestone.
During these times of turmoil it is important to give ourselves a break, laugh at what we can’t change and fail forward, learn from our shortcomings. I have a hard time doing this as professional and an even harder time doing this as a parent. But at work or at play we are setting an example for others, in most cases our children. The best way to teach our children to deal with disappointment and failure is to show them everyone experiences it, including your parents. Laugh about it, cry about it, do whatever it is you need to do to grow from it and move forward.
A graduate of the Management of Technology MBA program from Simon Fraser University (SFU) and a former Board of Director for the SFU Alumni board, Erica finds balance through academic challenges as well.
As a self-diagnosed digital marketing junky, she spends most of her days studying search engine algorithm updates, A/B testing her own confirmation biases and building digital marketing strategies for various B2B clients.
When unplugged from the Digital World, Erica spends her time brewing beer, ultramarathon running and exploring the vast north of the 49th parallel with her husband, kids and vizsla.
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