10 Deadly Digital Marketing Mistakes And How You Can Avoid Them
Digital marketing is not a fad or buzzword like it was initially made out to be. It has proven itself to be highly effective, and it quickly went from being the future of marketing to the most effective marketing strategy now. And by effective we mean relevant. There are many other forms of marketing like email marketing and out-of-home marketing, but these are no longer the powerful standalone strategies like they were in years prior. Whether consumer behavior adapts to technological advancements or technological advancements adapt to meet consumer needs is a conversation best left to social scientists. What we can say with absolute confidence is that you need to implement a digital marketing strategy now, or you’ll be left behind along with billboards, flyers, and newspapers.
Great as it may be, we’re not here to sing its praises. The fact of the matter is that many hesitate to start digital marketing because they simply don’t understand it – and we can empathize. The internet is saturated with conflicting information about the best approach, countless self-proclaimed gurus and visionaries, and companies that will take advantage of your inexperience. (Don’t even get me started on the number of acronyms)
We were in your shoes once too. Rather than let a marketing agency dictate our strategy we pooled our knowledge and created a results based growth marketing company that works with companies just like you. We also understand the desire to do it on your own, and that’s perfectly understandable too. However, it’s not fair for us to let you run off into the great unknown without sharing some of what we know, first. Specifically, the biggest mistakes that newcomers make and what you can do to avoid them.
1. Setting Unrealistic Goals
Setting a goal means trying to meet a certain objective. But if you wander without a compass or don’t have a map then you could get lost or worn out along the way. Which is to say that goal setting is very important because your future actions and decisions are rooted in trying to meet that goal. Can you actually accomplish it though?
Not being able to meet a goal as soon as you would like is better than trying to reach it only to gain nothing but frustration from the experience. If you’re unsure of whether or not your goal is reasonable you can use the tried-and-true S.M.A.R.T. technique.
- Specific. The more specific you can make your goal, the easier it will be to reach it. Goals that are too broad lead to confusion and anxiety because the endgame isn’t very clear. You’re going to have a much harder time making crucial decisions. Here’s a silly but concise example:
○ General- I’m going to the grocery store to buy some fruit because I want fruit.
Specific-I’m going to the grocery store to buy some raspberries.
The problem with the first goal is that once you get to the grocery store you will need to decide which fruit you want to purchase. There are many different fruits available and you can easily be overwhelmed by your options. Choosing the raspberries ahead of time means you know exactly where to go, how long it will take to get there, and how much you’re going to spend. The trip is worth it. Spending forty-five minutes deliberating between apples and bananas, only to leave with bubble gum instead? Not so much.
- Measurable. Are you able to track your progress? Do you know what the milestones are? How much distance is between you and achieving the goal? Without tracking the results of your efforts thus far you have no metric for success and no clear idea of how much more work you’ll need to put in. It’s going to be much harder to stay focused on your work.
- Achievable. How are you going to accomplish your goal? Do you have the skills, resources, and connections that you need? ‘Achievable’ and ‘realistic’ are synonymous so it’s easy to get a little confused here.
○ Realistic- Can I do it? This question gages your ability.
○ Achievable- How can I do it? This question asks if you have what’s necessary to utilize the ability.
- Relevant. Before embarking on your journey you need to know whether or not it matters. An accomplishment is an accomplishment, but how do you benefit from it? Is the benefit part of something greater, or is it something you’re doing for the sake of doing so? Here’s an example:
○ Irrelevant- I am a college student and I am pursuing a degree in Physics, so I am taking a lot of Chemistry classes because I want to.
○ Relevant- I am a college student and I am pursuing a degree in Physics, so I am taking a lot of Physics classes because it’s necessary for my degree.
○ Also Relevant- I am a college student and I am pursuing a degree in Physics, so I am taking a single Chemistry class to complement my degree.
The first student should either take Physics classes or switch to a degree in Chemistry. The second student is on track. The third student is taking on an endeavor that’s part of a greater strategy, but needs to be sure not to lose focus or they’ll end up like the first student.
- Timely. If you don’t know how long it will take you to achieve this goal, you need to establish a timeline. Not only does this allow you to set a deadline, it prevents the remedial daily tasks from interfering with your priority tasks. A goal that is timely can answer questions like:
○ What can I do in four months?
○ What can I do in four days?
○ What can I do right now?
2. Using Clickbait
It’s tempting to take this route. The reason? We fall for it all the time. You might believe that you can find a way to use it to your advantage too. The problem with that is it doesn’t add any value and reflects poorly on you. Rather than using something that sounds appealing, offer them something that is appealing.
What’s more attractive than clickbait? Creativity. Yes, clickbait requires you to know how to play with words, but it’s still a form of deception. Clickbait is ‘How can I twist this so it looks more interesting than it really is?’. Creativity is ‘How can I present this so people click with intent to engage with my company?’. This brings us to the next issue.
3. Not Knowing Your Target Audience
Many companies are guilty of this and it’s by no means exclusive to digital marketing, or even business for that matter. The target audience is the group of people that you are either trying to appeal to or will appeal to. Here’s the difference:
- How can I get this demographic interested in what I have to offer?
- Which demographic earns the most value from what I have to offer?
This also emphasizes the importance of having a goal that satisfies the Measurable in S.M.A.R.T. One way to measure your success is by the traffic coming to your website. If you aren’t getting many visitors then your messaging doesn’t resonate with the people you are presenting it to. Is it the wrong offer, or the wrong audience? The interests, preferences, and priorities that your target audience has is going to inform a majority of the decisions you make, so it’s crucial to know who they are from the get-go.
4. Avoiding Social Media
Digital marketing is not a monolith and can be broken down into many different channels. Social media marketing is one of the channels that falls under the ‘digital marketing’ umbrella. Social media marketing is a beast in and of itself because there are many different platforms, with more being developed each day.
Why does this matter? Different platforms appeal to different audiences. Earlier we discussed the importance of knowing who your audience is. That information is useless unless you know where to find them, though. And to complicate matters further each platform functions differently. Social media is also an umbrella term.
- Facebook was made so friends can stay in touch with each other
- Instagram allows creative types to share their projects with the world
- TikTok gives Gen Z a place to express themselves, and is the birthplace of the latest trends
These are only three of the most commonly used platforms, and they all serve a different purpose. They also connect with audiences in a different way. For example, Facebook allows you to target people based on interests. It looks at the pages they follow, groups they are in, and content that they interact with. All you have to do is tell the site what to look for. Trying to market organic dog food? Your ads will be shown to people in groups for dog owners. Do you offer reiki sessions? You can instruct the site to show your ads to people who follow Deepak Chopra’s fan page.
People aren’t just going to come to you, you need to reach out to them with a well crafted message and make a genuine connection. That’s not to say you shouldn’t try to direct traffic your way, of course.
5. Only Using Paid Advertising
There are people who swear by paid advertising and see organic advertising as ineffective and a waste of time. And you can find very vocal crowds who claim the opposite. Who is right? Both, or neither depending on how you look at it. Paid ads and organic ads both have their pros and cons. It’s not a matter of which is best, but rather which is best for you.
If you already have a site that has steady organic traffic, putting your entire budget into paid ads will bring that traffic to a screeching halt. Capitalize on your existing strengths, because that means you’re already doing something right. Continue to improve your content, personalize your messaging, and respond to comments and emails that customers or prospects send to you. People don’t want to connect with companies, they want to connect with other people. Show them that you’re listening.
If your business is dependent on bringing customers and clients to a specific location, such as an automotive mechanic, you need to invest in ads so you can show up in the results when someone does a search for ‘car mechanic near me’. Is the mechanic in the wrong for not personalizing their message? No, because they don’t need to share a personal story in order to generate interest in their service. They simply need to reassure prospective customers that they are available to meet their needs.
It’s possible to create a hybrid strategy, but even that requires some comprehensive market research. Otherwise you spread yourself thin and won’t have any success with either. Speaking of which…
Like clickbait, this is another temptation that must be resisted. You might think to yourself ‘If I try a little bit of everything then I’ll be seen by as many people as possible!’. That’s true, but that’s not what you want. Which scenario is more appealing?
- An ad that is seen by 100 people but only 2 click, and neither explore your site
- An ad that is seen by 10 people and 7 click, 4 explore and 3 make a purchase
You can alienate your target audience if you are inconsistent with content because they will be confused about your brand. Let’s go back to the organic dog food company for a moment. The content they release needs to make sense for the product that they are trying to sell. If they release content meant for dog owners, and then start releasing content espousing the benefits of organic food and going green they are sure to lose customers. It’s not what they came for, after all.
Consistency refers to timing as well. If you have a blog that you update once a week then try to release your newest posts on the same day at the same time. Create a schedule and stick to it. If you start releasing a new blog post every day your readers will get annoyed. If you fall behind and release one every month they will lose interest.
7. Not Personalizing Your Responses
This draws from both 3 and 4. Brand loyalty is created by making your customers feel valued, appreciated, and heard. Don’t use automated emails to reply to them, create individual responses. If necessary, you can hire a virtual assistant to clear that inbox for you.
8. Underselling Your Website
You’re creating this site for a reason. Ads and content are only a fraction of the battle. You need to make sure you’re satisfying the algorithm with the right keywords and other SEO essentials. Optimize your website, social media accounts, and content as best you can. If you have a lot of traffic but they don’t engage, Google is going to assume that you’re doing something wrong and your ranking will drop. High traffic and visitors who engage on the other hand? You’ll skyrocket to the top of the first SERP (search engine results page…we warned you about the acronyms).
9. Using Outdated Skills
Digital marketing, much like the digital world as whole, is an ever changing landscape. What worked today might not work tomorrow. Keep up to date with the latest trends by looking into free content online like tutorials and free trials for software. Or you can connect with a professional to find that information for you. Who does that? Funny you should ask.
10. Not Using The Right Resources
Remember the marketing agencies we mentioned earlier? First, no, not every marketing agency is out to get your money. There are plenty that have their clients’ best interests in mind. The problem is that many of them don’t have a sustainable, long-term strategy. An agency that works with any and all clients they can is going to provide the same generic content to each one.
If every client receives the same product then no one is going to have their needs met. All they’re going to do is waste money, get frustrated, and are now convinced that digital marketing is a load of balderdash. An agency that specializes in providing content that is specific to a client’s industry or brand is the agency that you want on your side. Here are some tips for how you can identify one:
- The agency offers different types of content, but doesn’t give everyone the same content. For example, one client may benefit from content for a social media account while another might need an email newsletter. If both clients receive all that and then some they won’t know what to do with it, and visitors to their site will be confused and overwhelmed -regardless of whether or not they’re the target market-.
- The agency helps you develop a unique identity in a way that makes sense for your industry. A company that sells tennis shoes doesn’t need a generic logo with just their name, they need something that reflects fitness and speaks to athletically inclined buyers. A company that sells traditional monochromatic tuxedos doesn’t need a flashy logo because their product is one defined by simplicity and class, so anything other than a minimalist approach is going to be a turn off to their target market.
- The agency leverages the latest technology to optimize the user experience (UX for short). There was a time when most sites lacked mobile-friendly versions. Smartphones which can also do your taxes, order fast food in a pinch, and give you the latest in world news have created a culture of instant gratification. We want everything, all at once, and we want it now. Desktop versions are still very much a necessity, but you can expect a great deal of traffic coming from mobile users.
If you can’t find the information on their website, ask them directly how they customize the content they create for their clients. How much do they even know about your industry to begin with? They don’t need to be experts, but they do need to have enough insight to know how to create something that’s both unique to you and marketable.
The Wrap Up
If you take anything away from this blog post, let it be this-we believe in the power of knowledge. Sharing knowledge builds stronger brands and establishes powerful networks. Knowledge leads to collaboration, and collaboration leads to growth. If you’re ready to develop a growth strategy that suits your needs while allowing your brand to flourish, then go for the gold with Gold Lion Technologies.