As well as running a digital marketing agency, I'm also a retained or on-call firefighter. This means I wear a pager and, when my services are required, my pager alerts me and I respond to it. I do this because I live in a rural community and want to help protect the people with whom I live.
It's not a volunteer position I get paid to do it and go through all the same rigorous training that a full-time firefighter receives. The thing is, there are, believe it or not, some similarities between running a digital marketing agency, or at least executing digital marketing, and responding to a fire.
When firefighters arrive at a fire, for example, a house on fire, which is, thankfully, very rare these days, we don't just grab some hose, hope there's water in it and dash into the building hoping for the best. We take our time, not lots of time, but we take our time to understand the situation that faces us. We send one of the team on a 360 around the building looking for different ways of getting in and out; we establish how we can isolate the gas and the electric and we look for signs of backdraft.
Even when we're ready to commit teams into the building, we're still very considered and methodical in our approach. After all, we're going into a hostile environment, an environment where we need special equipment, breathing apparatus, to survive. Once committed, we move through the building in a very systematic way. It's something we've been trained to do that we know works and we follow the procedures. Of course, we have to react to what we find and what confronts us, but we adhere to methods that have been proven to work and keep us safe.
We can't always see where we're going but there are procedures, and by following these procedures we see results.
Even when it comes to locating the fire there's a procedure for extinguishing it. It's not just a case of squirting water. There's a very considered way of doing it. It involves a technique known as gas cooling, and it allows us to put the fire out without cooking ourselves in steam.
So, when it comes to digital marketing, you've got to follow a procedure. You've got to think about what you're trying to achieve, you've got to look at the market you're in, you've got to look at the market you're going after.
You've got to understand what you're up against and you've got to take a specific approach to achieve the results you want. For example, If you're using paid search or PPC you want to make sure that you don't get people clicking your advert if there's no way they're ever going to buy what you're selling. There are techniques to make sure you avoid that.
With search engine optimisation or organic search, you have to understand what the challenges are, understand where the problems are, get a handle on how long it's going to take to achieve what you want and, in some instances, whether or not you can even accomplish what you want to. But it's a very procedural thing.
Again, as with the firefighting, you have to react to what happens, you have to analyse the data, you have to figure out what happened as a result of what you did and react accordingly and perhaps adapt what you're doing so that you get a better outcome.
So, it's not such a tenuous link between arriving at and fighting a fire and deciding to go after a particular market using digital marketing. In both cases there are proven techniques that get results, they are both dynamic situations and both require those involved to react and deal with what they see.
If you'd like us to help fight your fires, simply get in touch.