There is a war being waged every day ‘right at our doorstep’. And no, we are not referring to the conflict in Ukraine following its invasion by Russian troops – an action we find unacceptable, and which, despite the fact that we are nobody and that our opinion interests no one (especially this not being a digital marketing or online issue), we condemn and despise from the very first moment. Because in situations such as these, there can be no doubts, preambles, ‘justifications’ or ‘guilt easing’. A sovereign country has no right to invade another country, also a sovereign one, nor to interfere in the destiny of the latter, for whatever reason, full stop.
But no, the war we are referring to is not this one, but the one that is being fought online, daily, on the digital plan by all of us (although the other one is also being fought there).
Ever since the internet appeared in our lives and the explosion of digital marketing took place, we have all been fighting each other, often without realising it. We all want to be online, to be seen, to sell what we produce with the maximum profit possible, or to buy what we need with the best conditions and at the lowest price; which is fair enough!
If we have a company, a business, the digital channel is highly appealing and, in the vast majority of cases, it allows us to easily reach our target audience, wherever they are. We can have a website where we show, demonstrate and explain what we produce or the services we offer. We can have an online store in that website where our client can easily buy what we sell. We can have business profiles and pages in various social media, where we share what we do, ‘who we are’ (our corporate identity) and generate traffic to our website (which even has e-commerce to make things easier) or to our shop, showroom or physical office. And we can advertise online (Google Ads, Meta Ads, etc – yes there are others!) to increase the number of leads we receive, and thus boost our sales.
And as users, on a digital level, we have the world at our feet, or rather, in our hands! We can stay connected with friends and family, share what we do or see, and see what they do or see, chat, share, be present even if we are far away from each other. We can read, learn and stay informed (or not, depending on the source…!). We can get involved in countless projects as mere spectators or even as collaborators. We can work remotely (if there was one thing the pandemic brought was the democratisation of remote working, which used to be that weird thing that pretty much only the geeks and nerds of this world did – guilty as charged!). We can travel without leaving our home and visit hundreds of spaces, shops, offices, in the area where we live or across the planet. We can buy anything we want, or need, even if it’s one of those things that is only made on the other side of the world and by a very restrict number of people.
“All right, infinite possibilities, sounds great,” you’ll say. But clearly the above scenario is more idyllic than warlike. So where is the war we were talking about before? Well, it’s on the websites, the clicks, the ads, the content, the posts, simply put, on the utter ‘online existence’.
Let’s start at the beginning. You have a website, right? Did you know that at the time we are writing this article there are about 1,170,000,000 websites (we wrote in full to better illustrate the size of this number, but if the amount of zeros is confusing you, we tell you it’s 1.17 billion) on the World Wide Web, and 200,674,843 of these are active? Obviously, not all of them are from your competitors, but the question remains – how does one appear on the first pages of search engines in detriment of all the others? And we can hear you reply, “I work on my website’s SEO, create good content, and do online advertising to generate traffic”. Fantastic! It’s good to know you’ve been paying attention!
Though, when it comes to SEO, keep in mind that it is something you do today to get results in an X amount of time. And we say X because no one can really say how much X is worth. It could be a few months, a few years… but, to declare an exact time for this X period, is pure speculation. Also remember that SEO is something you do today, and tomorrow, and the day after, and so on. It’s never finished, it’s never ready. On the other hand, it’s also important to remember that it is something that it’s not entirely up to you – it depends on your competitors, on Google, on users’ search terms (and their perpetual evolution) and their intent. A struggle, that’s what it is.
And when it comes to content, don’t forget that it is another one of those tasks that will ‘stretch on forever and ever’ – much like SEO it will never be finished either! For your website you have to create fresh and relevant content. And ‘fresh and relevant’, you see, doesn’t last long. You have to review it often, update it, clean it, add to it, refresh it. And when we move on to social media, it gets a bit worse: frequency is important, but relevance does not fall behind – on the contrary, users can be very, very demanding. And if, with your content, you don’t keep them happy, satisfied, say goodbye to the followers, the Likes, the exposure, the engagement and, ultimately, the clicks and traffic to the website. Another battle.
That leaves you with online advertising – Google Ads and Meta Ads (the most common). And here the war takes on a whole other dimension. Surely you know that, in either case, to make these types of ads you will have to enter auctions. In Meta Ads’ case, a ‘relatively small’ budget allows you to ‘throw a nice party’ on Facebook and/ or Instagram. With Google Ads, however, it’s not quite like that. Whether or not your budget is ‘healthy and sufficient’ will depend much more on your rivals than on you. Imagine you have € 5 available to pay for a click on a particular search term. Sounds like a lot, right? But what if one of your competitors has € 7 and another € 9? As we say in Portugal, ‘já foste’ (‘goodbye mate’, roughly translated), unless you can increase your investment! On the other hand, in addition to the amount to invest, and assuming you have enough to be able to appear where you want, you then have the quality of the ads you produce sieve to go through, the relevance to that particular search term or target audience, and if you pass all these stages, you still have your website or landing page, which has to be your best seller (for real! We are not kidding), capable of convincing the user who got there to buy, order, ask for a quote, etc, etc. And thus, we go back to the beginning!
Please kindly note that in this digital war we’ve analysed here, we didn’t even get into the question of which part of the globe you want to ‘attack’ (because that “take me to the whole world, please, with half a dozen of pennies” is neither realistic, nor efficient). But this is something about which much more can be said, and material for a whole other article in itself.
The solution? Convince yourself that this is a war worth fighting, and one that you have to get into. But don’t go in crossing your fingers, hoping for the best and “may God help me”.
Arm yourself (because nobody goes to war unarmed)! Read, learn or hire professionals who will form an army to fight for you – you’re guaranteed to ‘reduce fatalities’ and save on ‘war material’ (or in layman’s terms, save time and money!).
As for the other war? We’d love to see it end soon, but we don’t hold out much hope…