By Tim Priebe
March 23, 2021

The most important element in marketing

Here are three qualifiers for any digital marketing effort that help you focus on what's really important.

Your website isn’t important. Okay, that sounds weird coming from someone who has been building websites since 1996. But hear me out.

Your Facebook Page isn’t important. Your LinkedIn presence isn’t either. And you can forget about your email newsletter, your SEO efforts, your new videos on YouTube. None of them are important.

What’s important? The people you’re trying to reach with all those tools! Without those people, all of those tools and platforms would be pointless.

It’s easy to lose track and not be able to see the forest for the trees. You get excited about using some new tool or tactic. Maybe you’re investing tons of time to do it yourself or a decent amount of money to have a professional help you.

And there are so many options! So many bells and whistles that you could make use of.

So how is that helping your target market? Is it causing people who are the right fit for you and your organization to know, like, trust, and value you?

Because if it’s not, it’s a waste of resources.

Any digital marketing tool you may use should fit the following three qualifications.

1. It needs to benefit your target audience

We’re long past the stage of saying, “If you build it, they will come.” If there’s nothing in it for your target audience, they’re not going to use it. That could be potential customers, clients, members, donors, volunteers, or any other group you choose to target.

They may want information about you and your organization. They may want resources to do it themselves. They may want to save time by downloading and pre-filling forms. They may want to know your organization’s history or how you help your customer, clients, or members.

Regardless of the specifics, your digital marketing needs to benefit the members of your target audience.

2. It needs to benefit you

If you’re going to sink time, money, and energy into digital marketing, be reasonably confident that you’ll see some sort of return on that investment.

“But Tim, everyone needs a _________.” 

It doesn’t matter whether you put “website,” “Facebook Page,” LinkedIn presence,” or anything else in there. It’s just not true!

You only need it if it’s going to benefit you somehow.

3. It needs to be sustainable

One-time digital marketing efforts no longer provide ongoing returns. That’s not how things work any longer. You can’t just launch a website and expect not to touch it for five years. If you do, you’re not going to get much return out of your investment.

But at the same time, whatever the tool or tactic, it needs to be sustainable over time. Sure, there may be some advantage to writing a blog every single day, and maybe you and your customers would get something out of it, but can you keep up that pace?

Probably not. Be realistic. Only invest time, money, and resources that you’ll be able to invest on an ongoing basis.

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About Tim Priebe

Tim is a public speaker, author, publisher of Edmond Business, and the owner of Backslash Creative. He helps businesses that are worried they don’t have the expertise or time required to invest in doing their own digital marketing. He helps them plan where and how much to invest and often helps execute the plan.

Tim started the Edmond Business online magazine in May 2020 to fill a need in the community when The Edmond Sun shut down and stopped publishing their monthly magazine, The Business Times.