The attention span of the average consumer is eight seconds—one second less than that of a goldfish. In 2000, this figure was at 12 seconds. With short attention spans becoming increasingly shorter, there really is no debate between inbound and outbound marketing. Today, marketing isn't about hunting for customers. Rather, it's about making the customers come to you. People don't like the older, in-your-face methods of marketing—and it just doesn't work anymore. Even television commercials, entertaining though they can sometimes be, are skipped by 80-90% of viewers.
We now live in a world where blogs, social media and SEO marketing have taken the place of annoying and interruptive ads and are the norm when it comes to marketing. But the question remains: are people always responding to these methods as we would like them to? Marketers understand that blogs are important; most company websites have blogs. But are they working?
Let's take a look again at what made traditional advertising and marketing so ineffective. These methods were based on interrupting people while doing something that they otherwise enjoy. This includes, but is certainly not limited to, commercials while watching television, ads in a magazine or on a website, and phone calls from telemarketers when eating dinner. All intrusive, unwanted interruptions that annoy rather than capture a potential customer's attention or interest. Today, by contrast, digital marketing is about creating an experience that people actually enjoy.
People like reading blogs that legitimately answer their questions and needs. People enjoy social media that draws communities of like-minded people together in an online platform where they can discuss their shared interests. SEO brings the most helpful webpages up first in a Google search, so people don't have to search long when looking for something online. In fact, nearly half of a company's website traffic comes from search engines. These digital marketing tactics are proving to be much more effective than "old-school" interruptive techniques. Research shows that 61% of consumers say they feel better about a company that delivers custom content; that translates to more sales. And since people spend over 50% of their time online looking at content, a company that doesn't use this kind of digital marketing tactic to win customers is missing out on a large chunk of the pie.
What if your company has a blog, twitter handle and great SEO strategy? The average company might think this is enough, but it really isn't—unless an average company wants to remain average.
At their core, these activities are not, in and of themselves, appealing. People won't read a blog unless they get something from it, something they can act upon. An advertisement written as copy and disguised as a blog will certainly not attract consumers. People won't engage with social media profiles that post boring content. In fact, interesting content is a top three reason that people follow brands on social media. Boring content translates to fewer followers and less engagement. And no one likes manipulative or spammy SEO with an unrelated backlink that sends users to a webpage that has nothing to do with the user's search query.
So if your digital marketing tactics seem like they are not bringing results, it's likely you might be holding on to traditional marketing techniques—the type of marketing that most consumers avoid at all costs. Rethink your digital marketing tactics, especially if you aren't seeing traffic, engagement, or conversions. Remember the following:
- communication should be interactive and two-way
- customers should be coming to you
- marketers should provide value
- marketers should seek to entertain, educate, and gain trust
- the consumer is in control
That last one especially is important to remember. Don't forget that ultimately the consumer is in control, and if your marketing effort is one that annoys or bores, the consumer will move on to something else, and you will have lost their business in the process. Take our digital marketing quiz to test your knowledge.