Every business owner should know they need to have responsive web design, or need to be active on social media, or produce content to establish credibility, but a lot of companies don't see how important all these aspects are and 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 working big opportunities like search engine optimization and sales enablement. If you're a seasoned fantasy football manager, you already 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.
Meeting the Starting Lineup
Your Quarterback = Your Website
It's rare to see an NFL team winning without an excellent quarterback. The NFL is a passing league, 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 Kirk Cousins and Jimmy Garoppolo, the quarterback is the face of your team and can win your matchup right out of the gate.
The same is true for your website. 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 2008 is like starting a Buffalo Bills quarterback on your fantasy team, so take a hard look at your web presence and see if it's time to trade up.
Your Running Back = Your Content
Elite running backs are getting harder and harder to find in the NFL in 2018 as teams aim to pass more, but while a power running game might be rarer on the field, you still need solid running backs to have a chance in fantasy. Hopefully, your team has a dual-threat player like Todd Gurley 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, pillar pages, and other content on their site. Like a versatile running back, your content contributes in two ways: you can establish yourself as an expert in your industry, and also creates more pages on your site to help your efforts with search engine optimization. Content doesn't have to be blogging or ebooks, there are so many easy ways to create video that is more engaging and consumable than the written word. Without grinding out some content every week, you're just fumbling away your marketing efforts.
Your Wide Receiver = Your Social Media
Receivers 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 possession receivers who grab a lot of passes and rack up yardage like Antonio Brown, as well as big-play guys like Deandre Hopkins who can score from anywhere on the field. Some weeks you need consistent production, and sometimes you need the potential for big plays.
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. 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 opportunity to make a big play on social media. Just don't drop the ball too early like DeSean Jackson.
Your Tight End = Your Search Engine Optimization
Every year we see more 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 nightmares. In fantasy, if you don't have an elite tight end like Graham or Rob Gronkowski, you're hoping to get a sleeper that explodes onto the scene and produces for your team. The best tight ends are the ones who contribute with blocking and receiving, and keep themselves on the field bringing value as much as possible. 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 from 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 front page on search engines. Creating great content that reaches people who want to learn is a great place to start. Writing pillar page content that appeals to both readers and Google's algorithm is the best way in 2018 to see consistent organic growth for your SEO. 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.
Your Defense and Special Teams = Your Branding
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 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 glamour 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.
Your Kicker = Your Sales Enablement
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 field goals 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 process isn't built to get the job done?
Sales enablement is all about building a system that sets your sales team up for success, and helps provide measurable and trackable results throughout the pipeline. 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 enablement process to bring in those contracts!
Building a Dynasty for the Future
Just like playing fantasy football introduced me to new players and teams around the league, learning about inbound marketing strategy 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 being a small local business to a national powerhouse. You do research on sleepers and read about training camps to help draft the best fantasy team, so 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, and there's nothing worse than watching someone else win.