Digital marketing is an increasingly complex job—long gone are the days when you could build a website, set up a Facebook page for it, sit back and watch the dollars roll in. These days there are numerous complex channels, techniques and strategies to consider, and it’s incredibly easy to get it badly wrong. Do digital marketing badly and you risk wasting a lot of time, a lot of money and potentially a lot of disillusioned customers too.
Fortunately, some of the biggest digital marketing mistakes are also among the easiest to avoid.
1. A Bit of This, a Bit of That
You know the saying “failing to plan is planning to fail”? That. You cannot take a random, scattergun approach to digital marketing and hope to achieve anything other than a whole heap of frustration. It’s essential to plan your digital marketing carefully.
Start by doing plenty of research to ensure you understand your market. Pay careful attention to what your competitors are doing, and to what you can find out about what your customers really want from your online presence. Assess your brand’s strengths and weaknesses, set some objectives, and figure out how much time and money you can afford to invest in digital marketing. Then work out, step by step, which kind of marketing would give you the results you need.
2. Going Old School
Hopefully, you’re not employing the talents of a dinosaur when it comes to your digital marketing. Anyone offering aggressive, blackhat SEO techniques is going to do your brand far more harm than good. Older-style strategies such as spammy link building and keyword stuffing are also out of favor now—and for good reason. What customers really want is useful, personalized content (see #3) not cackhanded text which is barely readable and means they’ve wasted a click. Learn about organic digital marketing, content marketing and other sensible techniques, or employ a professional who knows what he or she is doing.
3. Forgetting the Content
Content matters, as much now as it ever did, if not more so. Your customers will expect you to provide, promote and share useful, engaging content which will help them, educate them, inspire them, encourage them, solve their problem or make them smile. If your website is just sell, sell, sell then you’re going to have a tough time getting good results from quality digital marketing techniques.
4. Failing to Get Mobile
Depending where you are in the world, it’s beginning to be much more likely that the visitor to your site is on a mobile device, not a desktop PC. It’s essential that your website is optimized for mobile. If it isn’t, then Google will put you in the naughty corner, and many customers will instantly click away.
5. Not Managing (Your Own) Expectations
Digital marketing takes time. You (usually) won’t see results for your hard work tomorrow, or next week or perhaps even next month. For newcomers to digital marketing, it’s very easy to get discouraged, but you have to be in it for the long game. Social media marketing may get you results within a couple of weeks (or hours, if you’re a total genius), but pay-per-click campaigns typically take at least six weeks to really kick in, while search engine optimization is an ongoing adventure and may not bear much fruit before six months is out.
Be patient, and keep learning and trying.
6. Fingers in Too Many Pies
This is a particular problem with social media marketing, where you may feel that you have to be everywhere at once. Not so; it’s far more effective to focus on just one or two social media channels to start with (eg Facebook and Twitter) and to wait on the others until you start to see real results from your original efforts. Each social media channel has its own quirks and is best suited to a different type of content—trying to do the same thing with each of them is a recipe for disaster. Do a couple, but do them well.
7. Not Understanding What Worked
A failure to use or properly understand analytics and metrics is a key mistake in digital marketing, especially for small-medium companies. What use is it to have seen an increase in sales, but to not understand where it came from, or what you did right, so that you can replicate that in future?
As your digital marketing strategy grows, it’s easy to become bogged down in data, but you don’t need to over-analyze every little thing. That said, you should be keeping a constant eye on the metrics which affect your bottom line, and you should be learning from these results and regularly tweaking your efforts as you go along.