Football has always been a big part of my life, much like it has for millions of other fans around the world. I loved learning how to throw a football from my dad in our front yard, watching Texas play Texas A&M every Thanksgiving, and playing high school and intramural football. But if I thought I loved football before, once I started playing fantasy football, my love of the game started focusing less on my favorite team (Go Chargers, Go!) and I began to pay attention to the league as a whole. I like more players, more teams, and have more fun watching with my friends because I expanded my interest and learned about every aspect of the NFL.
Every business owner probably knows they should have great web design, or need to be active on social media, or should blog to establish credibility, but a lot of companies don't see how important all the aspects are, or how they work together. Just like a strong fantasy football team has reliable players that get touchdowns every week mixed with high upside players who can have a big game, you need to lay a strong groundwork in your digital marketing that you can rely on, while also taking chances on things like search engine optimization and sales. If you're a seasoned fantasy football manager, you understand the concepts of digital marketing and how it can all work together to take your company to the next level. Don't believe me? Let's see how every position on a fantasy roster corresponds to different digital marketing elements.
It's rare to see a NFL team winning without an excellent quarterback. The NFL is a passing league these days, and if you want to win your fantasy league, you need to get great production from your fantasy quarterback as well. Whether you have an elite player like Aaron Rodgers, or swap out a couple high upside guys like Tony Romo and Teddy Bridgewater, the quarterback is the face of your team and can win your matchup right out of the gate. The same is true for your web design. If you have an ugly website that doesn't function well and isn't responsive, you're going to lose potential customers and clients before you even get a chance to make your pitch. No matter how amazing your content is or how funny you are on social media, if you don't have a sharp website, your digital marketing plan is missing a quarterback. A website that looks like it was built in 2004 is like starting a Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback on your fantasy team, so take a hard look at your web presence and see if it's time to trade up.
Elite running backs are getting harder and harder to find in the NFL these days as teams aim to pass more, but while a power running game might be more rare on the field, you still need solid running backs to have a chance in fantasy. Hopefully your team has a dual threat player like Matt Forte or Le'Veon Bell who can consistently produce for your team and contribute by both running and catching passes. Everyone's heard the phrase "content is king," but still so many businesses ignore their need for great blogs, ebooks, and other offers on their site. Like a versatile running back, your content contributes in two ways: you can establish yourself as an expert in your industry by blogging, and also creates more pages on your site to help your efforts with search engine optimization. Content isn't always the hottest trend, like social media is right now, but that doesn't mean you don't need frequent and consistent blogging and content offers to help educate and convert potential customers. Without grinding out some content every week, you're just throwing up a hail mary with your marketing efforts.
Recievers are fast, tall, and strong, and can change the whole dynamic of a game with a single play. A great fantasy team has a healthy mix of possesion receivers who grab a lot of passes and rack up yardage like Randall Cobb, and big play guys like T.Y. Hilton who can score from anywhere on the field. Some weeks you need consistent production, and sometimes you need the potential for big players. Social media marketing is the exact same way. It's important to establish a social presence wherever your customers are, whether that's Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, or Pinterest, and get regular posts and engagement with your fans. Then sometimes you'll get the one post that will explode and get you buzz throughout your social networks, potentially getting tons of new traffic to your site and new sales for your company. You may feel like you are wasting your time with small posts that don't get much traction, but if you keep adapting your social media gameplan and understanding your target audience, you've always got the opporunity to make a big play on social media. Just don't drop the ball too early like DeSean Jackson.
Every year we see more and better production from tight ends in the NFL, as former basketball players like Jimmy Graham make the transition to football and use their size and strength to give defenses fits. In fantasy if you don't have an elite tight end like Graham or Rob Gronkowski, you're basically hoping to get a sleeper that explodes onto the scene and produces for your team. Having a top tight end is very important, and you just can't expect to win if your guy just gets a few yards every week. Search engine optimization is a very top-heavy endeavor as well. You need your company to be near the top of Google results, or you won't get traffic or leads through search results. Searching for your website and showing up on the third page of results will do nothing for your marketing efforts, so it's time to find a way to get yourself into the top tier on search engines. Great content that reaches people who want to learn and also helps you rank well on Google is a great place to start. You may think you can get by with meager SEO efforts, but when you have an elite ranking, the improvements will make your company unstoppable.
Defense wins championships, right? It's true that a defense can carry a team a long way in the NFL, with the best squads getting sacks, forcing turnovers, and giving their offense lots of chances to score. In fantasy, an elite defense can set you apart from the other teams in your league, giving you the big plays and points you need to grind out a win. In the NFL and fantasy, everyone loves seeing offenses do well and points get scored, so it can be easy to forget about having a stellar defense. Branding is one of the easiest ways you can set yourself apart from your competition in digital marketing. When people know and like your logo, your colors, your corporate identity, you can get clients and sales that you didn't even expect thanks to their loyalty. It's easy to get wrapped up in the glitz and glamor of social media, but if you don't have a great brand to promote, you'll be wasting your time. Defenses set their teams apart from the pack in the NFL, a great defensive squad can win you a fantasy championship, and branding can make an unforgettable impact on your potential customers and your bottom line.
Kicking extra points and field goals may be one of the least glamorous jobs in pro football, but when time is running out and you need points to close out a win, a reliable kicker is going to go out there and get them for you. Every week I see fantasy games decided because of a kicker making long field goals in tough conditions, so while kickers may not be as exciting as a big touchdown run, there's nothing worse than losing a matchup because your kicker missed a chip shot. Your sales team should operate like an excellent kicker, taking the leads you get from your other digital marketing efforts and reliably turning those prospects into clients. What good will it be for your company if you have great content, high rankings on search engines, and an amazing brand, if when customers are ready to buy, your sales guy can't get the job done? Sales isn't always a flashy job, but much like kickers, if they mess up, everyone will know, and it can really hurt your morale when a big sale doesn't get closed. Get a great kicker for your fantasy team, and develop a great sales team to bring in those contracts!
Just like playing fantasy football introduced me to new players and teams around the league, learning about inbound digital marketing can open up a whole new world of opportunities for you and your company to connect with your existing customers and reach new ones. No fantasy team can win with just a couple great receivers, or only a strong defense. In the same way, you need a comprehensive digital marketing effort to maximize your potential. But while fantasy championships may earn you a few hundred dollars and a trophy, dominating in your industry could take you from a local business to a national powerhouse. You do research on sleepers and read about training camps to help draft the best fantasy team, take some time and learn more about inbound marketing. If you can manage a fantasy team, you can manage a digital marketing campaign. If you don't dominate your industry, your competition will.