Free is generally good. At least that is what we are led to believe. Yet we are all familiar with the old adage that says nothing in life is free. And let us not forget that anything worth having is worth working for. So where does that leave us? In conflict. This conflict is easily observed in the arena of free digital marketing resources.
The internet is a vast sea of information. Look out on that sea and you will discover millions of business entities like so many boats trying to stay afloat. Most of those vessels are manned by people who know nothing about digital marketing or SEO. It is akin to staffing an aircraft carrier with men and women who know nothing about sailing or flying.
No doubt there are plenty of free digital marketing resources that businesses can avail themselves of. Those resources promise fantastic results with no additional investment required. If they are to be believed, there is no need to pay for professional digital marketing and SEO. Just learn on your own and do it yourself.
Understanding the Basics
At WebTek interactive, an SEO and digital marketing firm with operations in Salt Lake City, Utah and Austin, Texas, their specialists are well-versed in all things digital marketing. Team members have decades of combined experience marketing for more than 200 clients.
They acknowledge that it is possible to learn and understand the basics of SEO by taking advantage of free resources. For example, Google’s Analytics Academy offers beginners a rudimentary understanding of how to collect and analyze basic marketing data.
Such a basic understanding will only get you so far. Why? Because there is a lot more to digital marketing and SEO than raw data. Collecting and analyzing raw data gives you a set of facts to work with. That is a great starting point. But the facts and data do not tell you how to take the information at hand and weave it into a digital marketing campaign.
No Substitute for Experience
When you hire someone to do a job, do you look for experience? Of course you do. You don’t want an apprentice carpenter remodeling your kitchen on his own. You want an experienced remodeling contractor with at least dozens of new kitchens under his belt.
The fact is that there is no substitute for experience. Furthermore, experience is just as important to digital marketing as anything else. The one thing you cannot get from free resources is experience. Experience only comes from doing. The more you do, the more experience you gain.
The difficulty for nonprofessionals, at least in the marketing arena, is that they do not practice what they learn frequently enough to cause it to take hold. Anything they might inadvertently retain lacks context commensurate with a lack of experience.
Different Strategies for Different Goals
A recent Forbes article written by Forbes council member Amine Rahal encourages readers to avail themselves of free digital marketing resources to “step up your marketing game.” While there is nothing inherently incorrect in the article, one glaring omission is the reality that digital marketing utilizes different strategies for different goals.
This is something else that free resources often fail to cover. It is great to know the basics of keyword research, pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, etc. But it’s not enough to know what these things are and how to use them. You also need to know when to use them.
Keyword research is the foundation of all digital marketing and SEO. But not all keywords are created equally. Did you know that if your business is in a highly competitive sector, some of the most used keywords in that sector are not worth fighting for? Yet you would know that with just a basic understanding of keyword research. It takes years of learning and practical experience to figure out which keywords have the most value at any given time.
The point here is not to disparage free digital marketing resources. It is simply to point out that there is a reason that professional marketers get paid to do what they do. We wouldn’t expect a digital marketer to be an expert at building houses. So why would we expect builders to embrace DIY digital marketing? It doesn’t make sense.