The chaotic nature of the internet makes it easy to think digital marketing is a game of luck, and getting results is up to chance. But you can tame the unpredictable whims of the internet with the right techniques. If you’re not getting results, one of these nine digital marketing mistakes may be at fault.
Many companies (both large and small) that engage in digital marketing make these mistakes without realizing it. Read on to find out whether any of these nine mistakes sounds familiar...it could turn out to be the one thing that’s holding you back from getting the results you need.
9 Common Digital Marketing Mistakes
1. Not taking it seriously
It’s easy to underestimate the scope and demands of digital campaigns. Fledgling teams will often assign social media responsibilities to someone who already has a full plate, asking them to tweet or email whenever they have a spare moment.
Hint: They don’t have any spare moments, and your social media is going to get stuck in idle. Implementing an effective digital program requires strategic planning, routine scheduling, and a designated manager.
2. Lacking focus
Many brands think that all it takes to succeed in digital marketing is to launch a couple of social media accounts and then sit back to watch the follows, shares, and leads start pouring in. That’s a nice start, but results will take a bit more effort. Before launching digital marketing initiatives, you need a thorough understanding of your goals, competition, and audience.
Understanding these basics will help you create a focused strategy for where and how to direct your efforts. More isn’t more when it comes to digital marketing. Not every social platform or digital initiative is going to be a good fit for your brand’s personality or objectives. Choose wisely and hone in your strategy on one or two best-fit platforms to see the greatest results.
3. Neglecting to set goals
Without defining what success means for your marketing campaign, it is nearly impossible to evaluate your results. Before launching any new campaign, outline your benchmarks in terms of clear, numbers-driven goals (i.e. new leads, sales, web traffic – whatever is most important to your larger business objectives).
By establishing concrete goals at the outset, you give yourself a yardstick that you can use to measure the results of your campaign, and thereby determine the ROI. A digital marketing campaign without goals cannot fail, but neither can it be unequivocally deemed a success.
4. Spray and pray
“Spray and pray” is a phrase used to characterize the practice of publishing content at random, hoping that it will somehow reach the right audience and work its magic. If you’ve ever felt like you were sending your content into a digital black hole, you’ve engaged in spray and pray.
With the sophisticated audience targeting capabilities available for free on most social media and digital advertising platforms, there’s no reason to leave your audience up to chance. Build buyer personas for your target consumers, and then translate those personas into custom audiences on your social media and ad platforms.
You can (and should) also use Audience Insights to learn more about the people who are already following and engaging with your brand. The more targeted your digital marketing efforts are, the more effective they will be.
5. Doing too much, too quickly
Even the best strategy can fail if it exceeds bandwidth or budget, so start small. Pick the platform you’re most comfortable with and take it one campaign at a time. When you start to see results on that platform, you can slowly expand to include other platforms and tactics, working your way toward a fully integrated strategy.
Think of your digital marketing like a tree. Trying to launch a complete integrated strategy right out of the gate will result in a network of weak, spindly branches that can’t support the weight of your objectives. By taking it slow, you guarantee that each “branch” has time to grow into something that’s strong, stable, and effective.
6. Lazy content
Content marketing is a powerful tool for establishing credibility, building an audience, and growing your business. The quickest way to squander that opportunity is to post lazy content.
What’s lazy content? It’s anything that doesn’t directly benefit your audience. Self-serving promotional messages, irrelevant information, and blog posts riddled with SEO bait are all common examples of lazy content. If it doesn’t benefit your audience, build your brand, or establish your authority, it doesn’t belong in your digital marketing plan.
7. Failing to test
Digital marketing is an ever-changing landscape. Just because you found a winning formula for your current campaign doesn’t mean that formula will hold true for the next one. There’s no sitting back on your heels in digital marketing; if you do, you will soon be outpaced by other, more agile brands. Ongoing testing is required to move your campaigns – and results – forward.
Use A/B testing to continually refine and improve your digital marketing efforts. A/B testing involves pitting two versions of your content against each other, with one variable different. The variable can be almost anything. For example, for an email campaign, you might test two different subject lines, two different images, two different CTAs…you get the idea. The version that wins becomes your new control.
The goal of testing is always to beat the current control, replacing it with one that performed better. If you can do that, your digital marketing efforts will become incrementally more effective with each and every A/B test you run.
8. Falling through on follow-through
This may sound counterintuitive, but digital marketing isn’t about gaining reach, impressions, or clicks. Those are a good start, but your goal should be to create an eager audience of prospects ripe for conversion into new business. You could have a blog post go viral or gain enough Twitter followers to populate a small town, but unless you are capturing information and building a pipeline for conversions, those numbers are meaningless.
Following through on your digital marketing efforts requires two things:
1) Tracking the right metrics and interpreting them correctly.
2) Creating opportunities to move prospects further down the sales funnel, by offering something of value for each stage of their customer journey.
9. Failure of communication between sales and marketing
The goal of marketing is ultimately to drive leads to the sales team. It’s remarkable, then, how little communication there are often is between sales and marketing teams. You know the saying, “the left hand doesn’t know what the right hand is doing”? That’s true of the relationship between sales and marketing departments.
To be effective, the marketing team needs frequent input from sales to make sure they are targeting the right people with the right information. Likewise, sales needs to know where leads are coming from and what marketing did to qualify them before hand off. Lack of communication can result in duplicate efforts, misguided strategy, missed opportunities, and lost revenue.
This post was originally published in February 2016 and has been updated to include new information.