I wanted to update my new job on LinkedIn and while editing my experience section, I realised that I have been in Digital Marketing industry for 9 years now

I had a quick flashback of all the companies and projects I worked in this tenure, and it kept me thinking how far I have come since I started working

The only difference in me, then and now, is the opinions I have developed in all these years from the exciting highs and miserable failures.

These opinions or lessons are honestly what I sell to companies and clients I work for and that shaped me as a professional I am

I decided to put together the 10 lessons I learn in these years:

Prefer to watch these in video? Otherwise keep reading

1. A/B testing is the best friend

One thing that for sure is true in Digital Marketing is that one size doesn’t fit all

I once worked for 3 automotive clients parallely – Nissan, Renault and INFINITI, which aren’t very different in terms of the segments they target and the price range (Infinti is probably a bit different)

What I realised while handling these accounts was that what worked for one brand and even different cars of same brand is entirely different for others 

A/B testing is a tool which you always need to use within budgets, bidding, creatives, audience, targeting and anything and everything. This will help you to understand what works for a specific brand, etc

A/B testing is not just for projects not doing that great, you have to keep testing even if the things are going great.

Never chose an ad over the other because you think it is more engaging, you will always be surprised

You need to always use A/B test unless it is illegal in your country

Now what makes it win win situation is that you will slowly evolve while working for a client to kind of make your marketing efficient. The other thing that happens is you become an expert yourself. If I sit in an interview for an automotive client, I will tell them insights which will blow their mind. So personally I evolved as well

The people who ask for relevant experience aren’t wrong, it does make a difference

It can be as small as testing if an ACe campaign works better with videos and images or just videos or images, Shall the carousel ad have car interior or exterior as the first card?

I quoted this example because this test got us great results and learnings

2. Technology changes, but people and their principles remain the same

In the last 10 years, technology has advanced a hell of a lot leading to the launch of new advertising channels, countless new tools and tracking /attribution abilities. But what has remained the same is human’s basic wants, needs and desires. These dictate how we behave and how we interact with marketing and advertising media.

If you can learn to understand human behaviour, their response, and as a result their buying behaviour, you will be miles ahead of your competitors 

Combine state-of-the-art technology with time-tested marketing messages and you will have a winning formula for sure

E.g for one of the clinics we changed the search copy from “cutting edge technology” to “over a happy million customers” and it got us double digit incremental conversions and clicks

We used a research done by BCG to understand the traveller behavior of tourists coming to UAE and adjusted our messaging, we got the secret sauce

3. Bulls**t is king but Skip the bull**it and  invest in yourself

Unfortunately, there are no certifications or regulations which can gauge how good a digital marketer or an agency is, so anyone can claim anything. The only thing now clients look at is awards and most of them are bought, which I have witnessed myself

There is so much noise on internet from Sell acclaimed guru’s and think tanks just boast their own methods. 

However, i see people who ran their unsuccessful campaign on google ads creating videos on internet about how to run successful campaigns and some claiming that this will get you the job, I can only imagine what happens when a prospect client asks them a question which wasn’t mentioned by the guru in the video

Shortcuts don’t take you long in dm like anything else. Do the regular bit with commitment first and you will develop the unique methods yourself and not listen to someone’s bull***

Investing in your education is undoubtedly important. Just be sure you are learning from people who actually know what they are talking about”

This is a changing world and think through to involve learning in your day to life and work where you get exposed to different things going on in the market but as mentioned do your due diligence about where you are learning from 

Do your bit to stay updated. E.g we have a program to have cross channel knowledge sharing sessions and some for upscaling freshers, i make it a point to join all of them to know what is going on in crm world, martech, and sometimes social media 

4. Don’t develop CTAC syndrome (Constantly thinking about clients syndrome)

Digital marketing is a unique industry because the results start as soon as you make the campaign live or post on a social media page

It gives an opportunity for your clients to become the experts and constantly suggest and demand better results

On the other hand whenever someone starts their career in a Digital marketing agency or a freelancer, there is a lot of excitement and fire to prove which leads to constantly keep thinking or be worried about different campaigns or projects

For some, it is to keep that work laptop always on so that you can keep checking the results in between watching a movie in the evening

I have been guilty of it myself and seen many colleagues doing the same

There are times, when you start dreaming  about the live campaigns and the meetings you have next day

This for one defeats the benefit of being in this industry to have an amazing life where you can literally work from anywhere 

The worse news is, it will lead to burnout and you will start feeling dreadful to work and attend meetings and give it all up

Digital marketing can be a really rewarding career but you need to start learning to practice a healthy work life balance.

E.g one trick that worked for me is whenever i have something going on, i think about it if there is a worse outcome, will it effect me in 10 years, if the answer is no. I don’t think about it after the working hours or work on it

5. Work Smart not just hard

This is such a cliche but true for this industry as well. Let me give you an example

If you are a freelancer, consultant, work for an agency, for a client side, you know that after delivering numbers, the most important thing is reporting for a client or your boss

How you report and what you report on can also make your work great or worse than it actually is. If you simply switch to data studio from your ppts, or connected google slides (Both are free) it can make a lot of difference in showing casing your work and delivery in a sophisticated way 

On top of it, it saves a lot of time and makes clients happy

E.g in one of the agencies, I observed that there was a guy in one client team who would just work on reports the whole week. We used to present the weekly reports for 20 ongoing campaigns on Fridays and the campaigns he would work on mondays would be history by friday and there was always frustration on this with the client

We switched to google slides and connected it with bog query and it changed the whole game

For other clients, we just compiled, the metrics we wanted to show in the report and graphs and widgets our clients would generally ask us for their internal meetings, and put together a dashboard and that’s it

Even for different campaigns, we would just copy paste the dashboard template

I have a video where i show you how to create an amazing dashboard in minutes

This is so important that i would like to mention on more thing within this point which is don’t try to re-invent the wheel. 

Sometimes learning from big boys often help you to get in the game. 

e.g If you got a new client who is a email automation company company. The first thing before putting a strategy together is you should go and look what kind of ads are big players running in that industry. I will first check what facebook ads are mailchimp running

You can easily do that in facebook ad library and i have a video on that

If you see they are running an ad from let’s say 6 months, it means that ad is working for them and they have spent tens of thousands of dollars to to know that and you know it for free

You don’t have to exactly copy paste it but it will give you a direction

If you get a hotel as a client, check if the big hotel chains are running ad on competitor keywords and what ad copy are they using, as simple as that

These things give you a starting point and give you a head start from where you would have started

6. Trends come and go, Don’t be like trends don’t get too attached that you are kicked out with them

This world is changing so fast and there are always new niches created in terms of technology, content, business ideas but they disappear or become irrelevant even faster

Don’t just go on youtube to learn a super niche affiliate marketing skill or trick and be a fool to think it will always stay like that. This is beyond foolish.

When I left publishing side, I was trained on oracle bluekai and was fairly good at it. I was among very few professionals who can do complete implementation and activate it for clients. Literally I could make 5 times my salary just from freelance but If i had limited myself to it, you all know what my situation would be now

So be in a position to ride the trend when it appears but have something to fall back to when it disappears. As a professional, keep your profile future proof

7. Clients like attention and feeling like a boss

In short, if you are a freelancer, or work for an agency or a boss, just give them more information than they need

Keep them informed about everything you are doing. If you don’t tell them, whatever you do, for them, you don’t do anything

Anything brought into their notice, is the only work you do

They really feel good to mention in a meeting that competitor share on search is increasing and a competitor has started bidding on our brand keywords, which they heard from you

Or we are testing, a beta in our google ads

Personally, we have won businesses from big brands of agencies and the only trick we used whenever we go to pitch was to emphasize on our processes and dedicated resources we will provide them and how we will involve them in the projects

If something is not doing good, you informing the client before they start asking are two different things and they feel you give them attention and forget that something is …. up

8. More isn’t always better

One thing I have seen is smaller the budgets, more the demands of the client

Smaller clients will question every penny and will demand you to make the earth upside down while clients with bigger budgets will not be as crazy

The crazy thing is, no matter the budget, the efforts is always the same and in some cases lesser for the bigger clients

If you have to run a search campaign for 1000$ and 20000, the efforts is the same, keyword research, conversion tracking, ad copy, reporting and analytics setup, etc

In some cases, tbigger clients will have a creative team, reporting and BI team and content creation team and smaller clients will need you to adapt ad copies, content for landing page and setup goals on analytics and implement tags 

So, if you have an option, set a budget criteria  below which you won’t work to maintain the quality of work you do

Learn to say no respectfully and don’t chase numbers

Focus on the good clients and you will grow much more there 

Apart from this, sometimes beyond budgets, you will feel during the discovery sessions that some clients are going to make your life dreadful, say no straigh away

In most of the cases, these are clients who have no idea what they want and just show off their googled jargons

9. Don’t compromise on people

This is generally for agency owners, managers or freelancers

In my tenure in this industry and working for agencies for 6 years, I have seen countless agencies pop up and go. Most of them actually never make it to the success mark. The common thing i observed in the survivors and the agencies who made it was they focussed on people

This is a people and skill set driven industry, an agency is all about the team behind it 

One good guy in an agency can turn the things around. Invest in right people to hire or freelancers. Don’t compromise on quality and skills of people

That’s all I could think about now, thanks for watching, i will see you in the next one.

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