Fresh start

It seems that I inadvertently chose a great time to start a new job. Back in August I was nicely eased in to a longer journey by it being the school holidays. Then parking was easier as there were no students around. I also got to experience both campuses in the sun! Most importantly though it has allowed me to experience a full academic year from beginning to end as the new students were in town for the Freshers' Fair!

I thought rather than just sample the many food vans and free sweets on offer I'd make the effort to speak to the students first hand. This then became filming some impromptu interviews where I asked about them about their initial experiences. I was amused at how excited many of the international students were about being stood in the drizzle as opposed to being in Hawaii and Florida where they had travelled from!

But their enthusiasm was just so infectious it reminded me of my own feelings, when I turned up on my first day surrounded by animals and a pile of digital strategies to write.

These students were all extremely eloquent and clear on what they would find the most challenging. Again, this reminded me of my own mental list of digital marketing mistakes I'd bought with me to ensure I avoided:

1. Failing to set goals and objectives - Without goals, it's impossible to measure success or identify areas where campaigns need additional support or require a shift in strategy. It will also be difficult to justify future digital marketing investment if progress can't be demonstrated against a set of goals

2. An inconsistent and fragmented brand on social - Years of only minimal governance can result in a variety of social channels that range in quality and consistency of posts. The trick here is to audit, lead by example and provide all of the assets that are needed to succeed

3. Too much focus on organic social presence - With organic reach declining, managing an organic social media presence across multiple accounts can be very time-consuming. The best way to get  a lot of new eyeballs on our brand is with some smart targeting

4. Accidentally competing with ourselves - With a college, a charity and three animal hospitals to market this is a real danger. There needs to be some very careful bidding strategies in place on Google AdWords

5. No forwarding planning on reporting - Retrospective reporting is a dangerous trap to fall into. Deciding what questions need answering before undertaking any activity is essential

6. Too much doing, not enough analysing - Everyone wants to look busy but already I've spent more time revising our reporting structures than posting new content

7. Not being targeted – Even the most carefully calibrated campaigns will fall flat if they’re speaking to the wrong audience. In digital marketing, audience is everything

9. Not repurposing content - cutting content in lots of different ways can ensure we get the most engagement out of everything

9. Underestimating mobile - When working on a shiny new Mac it's easy to forget that the majority of the content is going to be viewed on a little screen.  Mobile must be a consideration in everything your brand does online

9. Not converting web traffic to leads - Whilst Google analytics is an essential tool I'm on a mission to try to cut generic reporting from  our monthly reports. This is because the statistics that matter are the hard leads and conversions from our CRM

10. Not being helpful - The death of any piece of content

Seeing the new students and visiting the hospitals has put my own job into perspective.  By keeping these major missteps front of mind it can save time, money, and stress, and help make our campaigns more fruitful in the long run. 
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