For Digital Marketing, Seek Professional Help

DIY embodies a great philosophy when you want to learn a skill or save money.

It isn’t the best approach when you want and need the absolute best result.

I love do-it-yourself projects around the house. If it isn’t perfect, I can always try again. My wife and I watch HGTV, Food Network and their various spin-off channels. We’ve done a lot of work on our homes and we love to cook for fun.

DIY is not how to approach business.

When you have legal questions in business, contact a lawyer. For payroll and tax questions, hire an accountant or use a dedicated service.

For digital marketing, work with professionals.

Online digital marketing requires special skills. You can perform the basics of digital marketing yourself even if you’re not an expert, but the results won’t be ideal. In business, time is money. Minor mistakes have lasting effects on client perceptions, too. You need online marketing strategies executed flawlessly the first time for a rapidly changing online world.

First, you should work with professional website designers.

Creating a website has never been easier. Free tools exist for visual layout designs, and many services promise quick-start sites for small businesses.

Those easy-to-use website tools lack search engine optimization (SEO) and rarely result in high search engine result page (SERP) placement. Yes, you’ll have a business web address to list on business cards and social media pages, but only existing customers are likely to find you online.

Good website designers are SEO experts. They follow the latest news on Google and Bing algorithms. They understand how to structure the hidden content of metadata and the visible website content to maximize search results. A great-looking page doesn’t matter if potential customers cannot locate it using search.

Next, optimize your social media strategy with a social marketing expert.

Again, you can create Facebook pages and Twitter accounts easily, but they won’t be optimized to be among the top results in searches without some specialized knowledge.

Social media experts understand the complex design guidelines for social media. Your website and your social media accounts need to seamlessly complement each other behind the scenes. Those connections between the various social media platforms and your website require careful planning. Plus, many of the services don’t communicate easily between each other.

Each social media platform has different image size requirements. They all have different standards for post lengths and typography. You should never use the same image and text on Facebook and Twitter, for example, because they crop images to different widths. I’ve seen Twitter posts featuring “headless” business owners thanks to these differences.

Facebook, Pinterest and other platforms use the Open Graph metadata standard to index information. Your website and social media accounts must include matching metadata for best results.

Merely getting things right isn’t enough because search engines and social media platforms constantly change their rules, too! That’s another reason you need an expert to help keep your digital marketing strategy on track.

Finally, a digital marketing campaign needs excellent photos, images, audio and video content.

Don’t resort to stock photos and clipart images if you can avoid them. You want your brand to stand out, so budget for some unique visual branding. We might all be able to take photos and record video with our smartphones, but the results seldom match what professional photographers or videographers create.

That’s not to say that behind-the-scenes and spontaneous media cannot be effective. You should definitely post frequently to social media, and followers value authenticity. I encourage business owners and managers to use their smartphone cameras as marketing tools.

However, for branding content, you’ll want professional production values.

The same camera in the hands of a hobbyist and a professional photographer produces strikingly different results. A photographer or videographer knows composition theories. The professional understands framing a shot, lighting a scene and other aspects of creating effective imagery. From depth-of-field tricks to three-point lighting techniques, the camera professional enhances your brand’s visual identity.

I’ve been encouraging business leaders to create audio, too. Consult with an expert before recording audio using a phone or cheap computer microphone. The popularity of podcasts offers a great opportunity for business influencers.

The podcast audio should reflect professionalism, not something created on the cheap.

Did you realize that multimedia content should also have metadata content?

It should in most cases, and your digital marketing team should be able to help you with “tagging” media files. Audio and video content need these informational metadata. Such little touches make a difference for digital marketing campaigns.

Business owners and managers should concentrate on serving customers, not managing advertising or branding campaigns. Large corporations now hire digital marketing experts. An entire career path exists for SEO experts, too. Seeking professional digital media help will free you to do what you do best … and expand your business.