This little stretch of beach occasionally has dangerous rip currents.
The sandbars strung along our part of the coast create strong, narrow currents that run perpendicular to the shore. Unsuspecting swimmers can quickly get pulled far from the beach. If they don’t know what to do, they require emergency rescue to avoid drowning.
Marketers can get sucked into the grip of a rip current too.
“You need to post 20x per day on Twitter.”
“You have to have 50,000 Facebook fans.”
“The audience will only read short posts.”
“The audience will only read long posts.”
“We need to strip every link out of our blog posts because Google might blacklist us.”
These rip currents pop up, suck lots of unsuspecting swimmers out to sea, and then dissipate.
How to Break Free of a Marketing Rip Current
Keep your feet planted on the ocean floor
- Find resources and publications that aren’t trendy. That means more reading Harvard Business Review blogs and less Buzzfeed.
- Be sure you have someone on your team who will help you focus on your mission when you’re tempted to chase after the latest shiny object.
Remain calm if you get caught
- If you notice that you’ve gotten sidetracked and sucked into a marketing rip current, don’t just start trashing everything. Go back to your marketing plan, your goals, and your strategy, and remove anything that’s not feeding into them.
- If you need to take corrective action, do it systematically once you’ve figured out how to proceed.
- Sometimes it’s hard to remain calm in the face of danger. If you suddenly lose half of your website traffic, or a major client decides to leave, be sure you have a trusted advisor or mentor who can help you navigate the issue. Don’t try to go it alone.
Try to regain your footing and call for help immediately
- Come up with a plan of action for recovery. If the rip current meant that you suddenly found yourself on page 10 of Google search results, put together a detailed strategy to regain your position.
- You can iterate and test. Your strategy doesn’t have to be “all or nothing.” Learn about how to do simple A/B testing.
- Use your data. Numbers don’t panic; use the analytical tools at your disposal to help you sort things out.
- Don’t try to “wing it,” if you’ve got a problem that needs professional assistance. Consider hiring a consultant or contractor who specializes in the issue (an SEO, a digital marketer, a web designer, a PR pro).
Swim parallel to shore to escape the current
- When you realize you’ve been pulled out to sea, it’s tempting to swim like crazy, straight for shore. Instead, try a path that makes the most sense for your situation. Rip currents aren’t very wide, so if you swim sideways for a bit, you can return to shore safely.