For many businesses, competing in the Digital Marketing game is tough. It involves a big commitment of your time and money. You need to be sure of your return on investment. And you need to know that it’s working for you.
From experience, I know there are some predictable mistakes businesses make when it comes to digital marketing.
But forewarned is forearmed, and there are practical steps as a business leader that you can take to maximise your opportunities for digital success.
1. Not Working to a Business Plan
There are so many different aspects of digital marketing to consider, with more appearing on virtually a daily basis, and you may want to try them all. You’ve got a web site, you’re doing email marketing, socialising on Twitter, writing a blog, advertising on AdWords – and that’s before you mention all the basic search engine optimisation work that you’ve been doing.
Be honest though, do you have a business plan guiding all of your efforts? Have you identified your key marketing objectives and how they are going to help you to meet your business goals? It’s hard to find time for all the different things that you could be doing, and if you aren’t clear about what you’re trying to achieve, you might find that your enthusiasm for it all fizzles out pretty fast.
It’s far better for you to choose one aspect to work on and to do it really well than to spread yourself too thinly. For most businesses this may something as simple as lead generation and in that case it could just be basic SEO – yes, social media may be sexy, but for some businesses it may be far more likely that you’ll get quality leads from Google. Or maybe your plan should be to extract lifetime customer value from your existing client base. There is a lot of profit to be had from ensuring all your customers know everything you have to offer, and by keeping in touch so they know how much you value their business.
2. Looking for a Quick Fix
I’m going to let you in on a secret: there is no quick and easy way to get great results from digital marketing.
Yes, people will say that social media is free, and that email marketing is free, and that websites are cheap.
But whether you are working on SEO, social media or PPC you need to put time and effort into any digital marketing strategy. It’s all about hard work and brain power and elbow grease. Yes, it is harder this way, but you avoid potential penalties associated with the “quick fix” strategies that Google sees as spam. Or hare brained social media ideas that will only serve to damage your brand.
3. Not Giving Your Digital Marketing Campaigns Enough Time
You’ve taken the advice to stick to ethical digital marketing techniques and you’re doing everything by the book. So, why is it taking so long for you to take pride of place at the top of Google? Why aren’t more people engaging with you on your social media? Haven’t you done enough? Don’t you deserve it?
Unfortunately, these things do take time, and anything that you can do to “hurry things along” is likely to be penalised for spam. (See my comments about quick fixes above). It can be frustrating when it takes months to meet your goals, but you have to be patient and keep working at it.
The long term benefits are worth it. And the benefits are called “long term” for a reason – once you start to get traction you’ll continue to derive benefit on an ongoing basis.
4. Worrying Too Much About Your Competition
It is healthy to keep a watchful eye on your competitors, but it doesn’t make good business sense to obsess over what they’re up to. If they are ranking higher than you, do some competitor analysis to see if you can learn anything from them and move on.
We can help you with competitor research, to help you understand what keywords your competitors are bidding for. What their social media campaigns are doing. Who they are connecting to in the social world.
But constantly wondering how you can get one over on them is a waste of your time that is much better spent on your own digital marketing efforts.
5. Obsessively Checking Your Rankings
Or checking AdWords position every few minutes, or the number of fans on Facebook, number of hits to your website… It isn’t a good idea to focus too much on these details, because the simple truth is that in the grand scheme of things they don’t matter.
Think back to your business plan: was your goal to get to number 1 in Google or was it really to generate more leads? Did you simply want 1,000 visitors a day to your website or is it more important to focus on the number of enquiries coming through the door?
You should measure your success against your business objectives, not vanity metrics that don’t give your business cash on the barrel benefits.
6. Not Analysing Your Data
You had 1,000 visitors to your site last week, you’ve got a conversion rate of 2.1% on your website, you have an average cost per acquisition of £36 for each qualified lead that you get through your website.
Do you know your businesses’ key performance indicators? Do you know how you stand up against your competition?
There is of course the risk of drowning in all the date. I have to say this “paperless office” thing is all a myth. But, like it or not, digital marketing is a numbers game, and in order to be successful you need to analyse your data. What have learned? What are you going to differently as a result?
7. Starving the Budget
The Internet is amazing – anyone can build a website, send out marketing emails and so much more – and it’s all free!
Sorry to disappoint, but that just isn’t true.
You can get a free summer intern to run your social media marketing campaigns, but there is a good chance that there will be tears before bedtime. You can scrimp and save on the development of your website, but a professionally designed site is likely to have greater impact and to help you to achieve your marketing goals. Not using an appropriate email marketing package can potentially cause difficulties with managing subscribers and data protection concerns. Even if you have paid out for an AdWords account you have to remember that you can only do so much with a limited budget.
There are many low cost ways to use the Internet, but none of them are entirely free, and as with anything in life you get what you pay for.
8. Not Thinking About Your Online Reputation
If you can only do 1 thing to improve your websites visibility, think about your online reputation. It’s not what you say about yourself that’s important, it’s what other people say about you.
Your online reputation takes many guises:
- the reviews customers write about you
- the press coverage and mentions your business gets on other websites
- and the links coming from those websites to yours
- your social media profile
- your mentions on social media
- and social media interactions
Your online reputation is at the heart of your digital strategy, and is directly related to all digital activity. Don’t take your eye off the most important ball.
Need some help?
If this list of 8 typical mistakes has given you pause for thought, then feel free to get in touch. I’d be happy to talk more about how your own business can be harnessing the power of digital marketing, and how we can make you more successful on the Internet.