There’s an old saying, “the cobbler’s children go unshod.” This was the reality when it came to Inprela’s digital footprint. Four years after starting the agency and managing rapid growth, it was time to take a step back to evaluate what’s working and what’s not. What wasn’t working – our digital footprint (or lack thereof) – was clear.
Our first generation website had outdated content, directed people to our former office location, lacked search engine optimization and was not optimized for mobile use. To make matters worse, our website was hacked by bots. When clients and prospects searched for Inprela, they saw inappropriate offers embedded in our content. Our digital footprint couldn’t get much worse and, needless to say, it was embarrassing!
Adding insult to injury, I personally neglected to stay active with one of the most important channels for B2B marketing, LinkedIn. If you’ve ever started your own company and grew quickly, you understand how something this important can easily be neglected. Once we were well on our way to shoring up our digital footprint, it became an inexcusable excuse. I mean, LinkedIn presents a MASSIVE marketing opportunity for our agency and for our clients.
Once I got over the shame, I decided there was no time like the present to start taking a strong dose of our own digital marketing medicine. While I always want to remain a boutique agency, we intend to pack a punch in serving our niche markets manufacturing and healthcare companies. So, we partnered with a digital specialist to complement our internal expertise, who could help us plan and execute a focused strategy to get our digital footprint back on track while we continued to serve clients. Luckily, we’re not new to the best practices for fixing a digital footprint, and you’re probably not a novice on the process either. However, here are a few things I learned along the way.
- This is fun and I’m excited to see results! Why didn’t we do this earlier?
Capturing this thought out loud serves as a good reminder: despite starting off in a place of dread and embarrassment, this process can be incredibly rewarding.
- Know thyself (and where you fit in)
We had a strong sense of who Inprela is and what we offer, but we were unsure if it aligned with client perceptions and the actual experience of working with us. That’s why we started with a brand audit. It sped up the process tremendously and helped us focus our message in a way that highlights our unique strengths, and doesn’t sound like every other PR firm.
- Don’t be shy, let your personality shine
And what a strong personality and point of view we have. Inprela is collaborative and our practitioners aren’t Minnesota Nice when it comes to serving our clients. In fact, it’s one of the things they like most about us. Reflecting on who we are is already helping us attract the right clients for Inprela. (In case you’re wondering, our best clients are passionate about what they do and continue to push the boundaries of B2B marketing.)
- Mobile. Mobile.
You know why and so do we. That’s why we edited our beta site via mobile devices.
- Google doesn’t care how impatient I am
While we can achieve results in a relatively short timeframe, they do not come overnight. Google has other things to do than just focus on us, but let’s be honest, sometimes I wish Google could just make us a priority anyway.
- I’m going to say it… I miss good ol’ static websites
Come on, I’m a business owner and we have clients that need our help and attention. Did I mention we’re a boutique firm? How about the cobbler? With the technical sophistication that exists today, we must keep feeding our digital channels. Making changes to your digital footprint doesn’t need to be massive or all at once, but they still take time and a real commitment to serving your digital needs. But, I’m proud to say that we’ve make huge leaps in prioritizing time to publish original content and contribute to important discussions happening on social media. We’re now publishing articles on our site every two weeks and leveraging that content to connect with B2B marketing leaders on LinkedIn and Twitter.
- Remember when “social media experts” claimed that marketing was free (and easy to do yourself)?
I didn’t buy into those claims then, and my beliefs have been proven many times over. Putting the proper investment behind your digital footprint is a must if you want to successfully increase your findability fast and bridge the gap until you improve your organic search results.
- Doing all the right things today doesn’t mean past issues won’t plague you
This holds especially true if you’ve lost your password to Google+ and the content (like your address and company name) is outdated. All we can do is sit. And wait. For Google. Eventually they will respond to our request to take down our former page so we can correct the issue. Until then, I must remind myself that patience is a virtue and I must remember to give prospective new clients our current address. (SIGH.)
In the meantime, our strategy to enhance our digital footprint is paying off. Since launching, we’ve already eliminated web issues that were suppressing search performance and optimized our site for search. We’re already seeing signs that we’re headed in the right direction, but we’ve not yet reached our destination. As an example, we’ve started showing up on page one of search engine results, but not consistently yet. In the meantime, we’re already talking about implementing the next round of website updates to keep our content fresh. It’s a lot of dedication and work, but the Kool-Aid tastes better than neglect.