Yes, you heard that right: bats INSIDE my home. To say I’ve been creeped out is an understatement, but unfortunately, anyone who’s ever had to deal with bats knows that it’s not an easy fix. They are elusive creatures that humans have been studying for years. And when the exterminator says “I can’t help you,” you know you’re in trouble.
As I’ve reflected on this terrifying experience this summer, I’ve made a few connections between how you deal with bats inside your home, and how you manage digital marketing in today’s world.
LOOK FOR THE EVIDENCE.
You may not see bats, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t there. You see, in this entire process, I still have yet to see a single bat. The way our house works is that we have exposed logs as the beam structure for our roof and it’s all exposed. So, while we have bats “in” our house, they are between the ridge of our roof and the very top beam that runs along the length of our house. How did we know we had a problem? Well, guano. The S@%* was really hitting the fan in our case because their guano was literally being pushed off of that top beam and falling every night onto our loft floor when the critters were moving at dawn and dusk. We never saw the animals themselves, but we saw the “evidence” of them.
In digital marketing, you may not know exactly how different strategies work. We can’t see Google and Facebook’s algorithms, or see exactly how people click through digital ads. What we can see are the results: the evidence if you will. When you are looking for proof that your digital marketing strategies are actually working, you need to look at your stats for social media, emails, website traffic, and paying customers. Are you collecting evidence or even looking for evidence in the first place?
You need to set up the right systems in order to collect data to see if your marketing strategies are working. Set up your website analytics to track your web traffic. Monitor your social media analytics and you email analytics. It takes time and work to check these, but by doing so on a regular basis, you can begin to inform future digital marketing efforts.
GET THE RIGHT TOOLS.
We are still building our arsenal of tools, and when we decided how we were going to seal off the interior of our house from these bats, we knew we needed a few more tools. This included a heavy-duty ladder to reach the top of our ceiling. We also had to purchase tinted caulk specifically for log homes. We also needed some rock-climbing gear for extra safety measures, but luckily we already had those! The tools allowed us to solve our problem, but we could not have done the project without the ladder, caulk, or even the rock climbing gear.
In the same way, you need tools to make your digital marketing work well. You need analytics tools to measure your platforms. You also need research tools to curate and inspire great content. You need tools to protect your websites from hackers and to keep them healthy. Sometimes the best tool you can have is an expert who truly understands content marketing so that you don’t waste time on worthless efforts. But perhaps the best tool you can have when you are doing digital marketing is your content plan. We are big believers in having a content strategy that directs all of your efforts from your web copy to your social posts and tweets, to your blog topics.
We had two different exterminators come out to consult on our bat problem. One said they couldn’t help, but referred us to a bat expert. This expert came out and gave us a wealth of information we needed to understand bats a little bit more. We discussed a ton of possibilities of what might be happening and then created a plan for how we would handle them. The problem, as I alluded to earlier, was that bats are still very much unknown. This meant that our planned course of action did not necessarily guarantee that we would resolve the bat issue. We may need to try something and then try something else until we found a solution.
Digital marketing is a similar situation. With an ever-changing digital landscape, and organic behavior by fickle humans online, it can be hard to know if a marketing campaign will be fully successful. That’s where research, A/B testing, strategic filtering, and monitoring campaigns comes in handy. What you do at first may not be the ultimate successful solution. However, you can learn from that first attempt and make smarter marketing decisions moving forward.
Fortunately, (knock on wood) we have been bat free for a while now and our interior seal off seems to be working. Little by little, we are working to improve this house that we bought, and sometimes that includes “adventures” like this one. These experiences help build a stronger structure to our homes, and also to our digital marketing. Whether you are evicting bats from your home, or working to improve your digital marketing, you can make progress! We’re living proof of that!