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7 Biggest Causes of Stress for Digital Marketers

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7 Biggest Causes of Stress for Digital Marketers
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Digital marketing, in all forms, comes with a variety of stresses. It’s an amazing career and industry to be a part of, but it wouldn’t be a career if it didn’t stress people out here and there.

Whether you’re a technical SEO trying to diagnose a client’s website issue or a social media marketer trying to get ROI organically, stress is inevitable as a digital marketer.

Here are a few of the biggest stressors we face and ways to deal with them.

1. Measuring Metrics

The Stress

Measuring metrics in itself isn’t exactly stressful. The stressful part of metrics comes in two forms.

First, you have the result of metrics. Say you’ve been working on a campaign for the past six months and you’ve put your whole marketing heart and soul into it. You’ve devoted more than full-time hours into the campaign and have done everything you were supposed to, and then some.

Then the campaign comes to an end and the results are calculated. The metrics come back to inform you that unfortunately, despite your efforts and doing everything the pro’s suggested, goals weren’t met. You’ve utilized the last of the budget and spent the past 6 months on a campaign that didn’t produce results. Insert sad sigh.

So, you take the data that you have from the campaign and you say it wasn’t a complete loss because you’ve at least learned more about the user behavior, or the targeting, or the ad copy, or the keywords. Now, it’s time to go plead for more budget and try again. Insert stress.

The second part of metric stress is the part I see digital marketers struggle with the most. This is the part of having no metrics at all! Yes, it happens. Like a lot.

Take content metrics for example, 88 percent of marketers integrate content into their marketing strategies, but, 57 percent of marketers are struggling to measure their content marketing strategies.

That’s more than half who don’t understand (or are at the very least having a difficult time trying to figure out) what metrics they’re supposed to measure.

How to Deal

Set yourself up for success, and not stress, right away.

In the beginning stages of your strategy development, you need to be defining what is the most important part of this campaign. Is it direct sales? Increase video views? Perhaps it’s as simple as doubling engagement and not tied directly to a dollar amount.

Either way, you need to define what the primary goal is, and then the secondary, and the tertiary, and so on.

It’s important to go past just defining the main goal of the campaign because the primary goal isn’t always met, especially in the first round.

Plus, you want to have a few other metrics to measure in order to quantify some success or total failure, not just focusing on a primary or secondary.

2. Low-to-No Budgets

The Stress

Oh boy. Not having a budget or having an extremely low budget to work with makes a digital marketers job extra stressful.

Lots of times the low-to-no budgets are paired with extra-high-expectations.

These expectations could be something like generating 10,000 new leads by making a homemade video on YouTube and having no advertising budget to promote the video. Talk about a stressful situation!

How to Deal

Not everyone is gifted with large or “experimental” budgets. As digital marketers, though, we need to be prepared to work with both players, the big and the small.

By clarifying realistic expectations from the beginning, you’ll be able to inform your boss or client what they can expect to receive by spending X amount.

No, we can’t predict the future, yes we certainly hope and work hard for the best, but by making it known from the get-go what can actually happen with a specific budget range you’re avoiding extreme amounts of disappointment and stress.

After the budget meeting, head back to your desk and run your own numbers on what you’ve seen as a result in the past. Get an idea of how much it took for similar goals to be achieved and how long it took.

Then, prepare a report clarifying what has worked, under what conditions, and a prediction of what your boss or client should be able to expect to receive based on X budget.

3. Google Updates

The Stress

Oh, Google. We are constantly trying to stay on top of every update that you make. We even try to prep before the updates and algorithm changes happen. Yet, you still cause us digital marketers an insane amount of stress with every new update, Google.

Within the blink of an eye, a major change could have just happened and our websites or our clients’ websites are affected by it. Most of the time they’re affecting negatively, too.

So, yes Google, you do occasionally bring on the stress.

How to Deal

One of the best ways to deal with the Google stress is to stay on top of anything and everything that happens within the industry, just as Google does. Google takes note of things like user behavior, cyber bugs, spam, and a handful of other web issues.

You should, too. Doing so will help you better predict when changes are going to happen and what kind of changes are most likely to come next.

Take mobile for example. As we began to use our mobile devices like computers Google and other search engines took note. Defining a mobile experience that was different from desktop was becoming a more immediate need.

Those who jumped on board and start making their websites responsive for mobile devices were able to get ahead of the curve before the word mobile was even thought to be paired with Armageddon.

Another way to help cope with the stress of Google updates is to follow and subscribe to many of the top SEO blogs. These blog posts are written by the experts, some of which have great connections with Google and long-term histories giving them better chances of predicting, adapting, and sharing strategies with other marketers.

Take it a step further and follow SEO experts who not only know their stuff but are great sources for SEO predictions.

4. Wearing Too Many Hats

The Stress

Whether you work in-house, agency, or own your own business I can bet all of the money in my wallet ($4 and change) on the fact that you wear way more than just one hat.

In-house marketers are generally trying to do it all, acting as the SEO, UX designer, social media specialist, PPC expert, and content marketer.

At the agency, employees have their unique specialty that they focus on but often find themselves assisting other departments.

The business owner, well they know very well what it’s like to balance 50 different types of hats on their heads at once better than anyone else.

How to Deal

Zone in and truly focus on your area of expertise. Yes, stay on top of the millions of updates happening in all realms of the digital marketing world, but put your primary focus and research toward perfecting the craft of your niche.

Prioritize what the main objectives are for your specific niche and then, if time allows, see how you can assist in other departments.

A good example of this is if you’re a social media marketer to subscribe to both overarching digital marketing podcasts like Edge of the Web and more focused podcasts like the Perpetual Traffic Podcast that focuses on just Facebook.

This will keep you informed of both industry and your specific niche’s trends, updates, and strategies.

5. Lack of Strategy Development

The Stress

The pressure is always on to hurry up and produce results. Even though it’s become common knowledge now that digital marketing takes T-I-M-E, we all still want results to happen yesterday.

Which is why so many budgets are wasted because we go head first into trying to produce results and forget about first developing a strategy that will get us to those results.

How to Deal

Define your goals, what your needs are, and then define a strategy that should be able to get you there. Don’t work backwards.

A new project or campaign flow should look like the following:

  • Define the audience: Who is this campaign going to be for? Who are you trying to reach?
  • Define the goal: What do you need to accomplish with this campaign? What’re the primary and secondary objectives?
  • Define the budget: How much can you afford to spend on this campaign? How much do you think it will take for you to achieve the goal?
  • Define the strategy: What is the best method to get there? What kind of marketing will help you accomplish the goal? Do you need ads? What kind of content do you need?
  • Implement the strategy: Put 1-4 together and give the chosen method a shot.
  • Define the results: Were any results produced? Did you collect any data? How close or how far did you align with the goal?
  • Do it again.

6. Not Generating Conversions

The Stress

You finally found the sweet spot with your PPC campaign and were able to drop the cost per click by 40 percent. Clicks are flying in and they’re coming from exactly where you want them to come from.

Yet, no one is buying. Traffic is at an all-time high and still, no one is converting on the website. Why?!

How to Deal

Usually, when it comes to gaining clicks and no conversions there is something wrong with the actual landing page or website.

Check the following to see if you can diagnose what’s causing people to leave without converting:

  • Page Speed: How fast is the page loading? If it’s taking too long to load, people aren’t going to wait and you’re going to gain the click without the conversion. Former Googler Maile Ohye says, 2 seconds is the threshold for e-commerce website acceptability. At Google, we aim for under a half second.” 
  • Design: Is it overwhelming coming to your site? When I land on a website I’ll leave it without even digesting the content if it’s too overwhelming. What I mean by too overwhelming is a pop-up box that takes 3/4 of the page and isn’t clear how I can close it, a site that is 90 percent of text and no clear path on what text box to read first, and videos that play automatically only to freeze within the first 2-3 seconds. If you think your design is great and still aren’t receiving conversions, send the site to 10 different people (a variety of people) and gather feedback.
  • Content: Is what they clicked on what they’re actually going to get from the landing page/website? If you promise a 50 percent off coupon and send users to your “New Shoes” category page then you can’t be too shocked when you receive a ton of clicks and zero conversions. Have your message actually match the page content.

7. Grammar Errors

The Stress

The to-do list is piling up and we need to get that piece of content published, like yesterday. So, we scram together and add the final pieces, give it a little branding flair and then send it off.

Within about 24.5 seconds your phone goes off with a Twitter notification mentioning the brand and a screenshot of the subject line spelled, “How to Takle Technical SEO on a Low Budget”. Your heart sinks, but you’re not the only one.

“Oopsie” subject lines, social media post corrections, and ad headline mistakes happen all of the time.

How to Deal

Slow down!

I promise you it takes a lot less time to just re-read your copy before you publish or ask a colleague to check it over than it does to send out an apology social media post, an oopsie email newsletter, and restart the campaign.

Don’t pride yourself on being perfect. We’re all human and mistakes happen, but fewer mistakes will happen if you take an extra minute and double check your work before publishing.

Conclusion

Sure, we can take apart the industry and break down it’s many, many stresses (like what I did here), but truthfully there is always good with the bad.

And to be honest, our good definitely outweighs our bad. As digital marketers, we are blessed with the opportunity to educate and entertain the masses, all while allowing our analytically creative juice to flow.

Hats off to us all, and remember to breathe!

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Ashley Ward

Corporate Speaker and Evangelist at SEMrush

Ashley Ward is a Corporate Speaker and Evangelist for SEMrush, the most comprehensive business intelligence platform for digital marketing. Her ... [Read full bio]

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