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7 Common Digital Marketing Mistakes And How to Dodge Them

breaking computer screenDigital marketing can feel like a minefield sometimes, especially if the topic is totally new to you.

Wading through conflicting online advice; new jargon constantly coming out of the woodwork; swimming in data but no clue what to do with it all; the learning curve can feel like a real uphill battle.

But doing any kind of marketing incorrectly can sap your sales, pummel your promotions, and crush your credibility – not to mention waste time and energy.

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Here, we’ve identified 7 common missteps that beginner marketers make, with actionable advice on what to do instead.

Content & Social Blunders

Pushing Sales Rather Than Value in Your Content

We all know how business works. You’re in it to make money. You get it, I get it, your customers get it. But content marketing (the practice of creating and sharing blog posts, videos, infographics, etc.) is all about being helpful and sharing value – not pushy sales pitches. The aim of content marketing is to paint yourself as a trusted adviser. A credible resource. Not a corny foot-in-the-door salesman.

We’re so jaded towards blatant marketing messages nowadays that it’s become second nature for us to simply tune them out; hence why the helpful, giving nature of content marketing can be such a breath of fresh air. So until a prospect is warming up to buy, your mantra should be “how can I help?” rather than “what can I sell?”.

Not Recycling Your Best Content

Sharing helpful content is a great way to get people interested in your brand over the long-term. But all too many companies hit “publish” on a blog post or video, share it on social media once, then leave it to collect dust forevermore.

Don’t be shy about repeatedly sharing your content over social media and with your email subscribers. As long as you aren’t sharing the exact same links day-in-day-out and the information within each piece is still useful, then share away! Tools like RecurPost and MeetEdgar can help you maintain a continuous flow of content across your social channels.

If you do this, remember that you may need to make occasional changes to your older content to keep things relevant and up to date. While you’re at it, you could even repurpose a particularly popular piece of content into something different – rehashing an “old favourite” blog post into a video or downloadable checklist for example.

Writing About You, Not Your Customer

When writing any kind of advertising copy for your company, always focus on the customer’s perspective and their needs. All too many companies write from their own perspective – resulting in copy that reads like “we do this, we do that”. Though informative, this approach is unlikely to have customers beating a path to your door.

Instead of keeping the narrative about yourself, start by talking about the customer’s problem and lead back to how your solutions can help. Let’s look at a couple of examples.

Bad Example: We are trusted providers of affordable recruitment services to businesses across the manufacturing sector. Our team are trained to the highest standard and provide a service that’s second to none.

This is fine, but it doesn’t directly acknowledge the customers’ own feelings about the problem the recruiter solves. Let’s flip it:

Better Example: Building the right team is essential in business. But the constant grind of reviewing CVs, setting up interviews, and evaluating candidates can be time-consuming and stressful. However, help is at hand – our friendly, experienced team work with you to ease the strain.

Data Fails

Not Seeing The Analytical Wood for the Trees

Data reporting tools like Google Analytics are invaluable to any digital marketer. But with all that data at our disposal, many of us fall into the trap of shortsightedly focusing on a handful of top-level metrics without looking at the full picture. View counts, bounce rates, session durations, and ad impressions are important to measure but they’re only part of the story.

Let’s look at a very basic example. On the surface, a website that receives around 1,000 visits a month appears to be performing better than one that only receives 300. But how long did those visitors spend with each site? And how many went on to become paying customers? If people are spending longer browsing around the second site and those 300 visits resulted in more paying customers – which one is really performing better?

Always dig as deep as you can into your data to make sure you’re getting the full picture.

Too Many Assumptions, Not Enough Proof

Though businesses of all ages can fall afoul of this blunder, you tend to find it more with businesses who’ve been around for a while. Sometimes, companies get a little set in their ways about “what our customers want” and “what marketing works for us” without providing empirical proof. It’s a shame really because companies that have been trading for donkey’s years are probably sitting on a goldmine of analytical data!

Psychologically, many of us are compelled to stay within the safe confines of the status quo, but when you settle for “how things have always been”, you close yourself off to new and exciting opportunities that may be hiding around the corner.

Good marketers never settle – they’re always on the hunt for promotional opportunities – whether that means trudging through customer data or exploring new avenues to improve their company’s promotional outlook.

You may well be right in any desire to keep things “as is”, but the data you hold may point to a few compelling opportunities – or indeed threats – that lie on the horizon.

Strategic Slip-Ups

Strategy? What Strategy?

In marketing – as in business – flying by the seat of your pants is rarely a viable plan. You need to create a solid marketing strategy to influence your promotional decisions and keep you on the path to success.

Start by examining your most lucrative markets (or the ones you’re most passionate about). Use market research and data tools to figure out how to best reach that group. Also consider – what do you need your marketing to achieve, how, and by when? What roles do you foresee your different marketing avenues (social media, content marketing, PPC, SEO, email marketing, etc.) taking within this plan? Frameworks like SMART goals can also help you here.

A good marketing strategy is never a strict set of rules to abide by at all costs – it’s more of a guide to help you and your team stay on track. You can (and probably should) allow yourself some level of freedom to experiment with your marketing from time to time, as long as it ties back to your wider marketing targets.

The Dreaded “Shiny Thing Syndrome”

Distraction in business is real. Whether it’s the small day-to-day diversions of being your own boss or ditching everything to jump on the latest marketing bandwagon, a lack of focus takes its toll on us all.

This is one situation where having a well-crafted marketing strategy can help. Ask yourself – does this distraction align with my business and marketing goals? Or is it just a shiny thing trying to shift my focus away from what’s important? Is this really going to be beneficial to my target audience? Or is it just going to waste my time?

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