Digital marketing is a vast field, and it continues to grow.
Demand for digital marketing strategy experts has flooded the internet with a lot of questionable advice. That poor advice has compelled organizations to ignore common sense and waste their budgets on online ads.
While knowing the best practices to follow in order to succeed gives you a strategic advantage, knowing the pitfalls that you need to avoid is equally important.
Digital marketing mistakes
Whether you are creating a strategy from scratch or revising the one you already have, here is a list of digital marketing strategy mistakes to avoid if you want to get the most of your digital marketing budget without an over-reliance on paid ads.
1. Absence of target audience research
Audience research is a practice that deeply affects your marketing funnel at each stage. When generating leads with content, audience research makes every step more effective.
Top-of-funnel marketing efforts must be accompanied by a defined and precisely-targeted audience. When this audience is too broad, companies gather a lot of irrelevant leads who find don’t find the content engaging enough.
Detailed customer research results in enriched customer personas and crucial insights about your target audience. This information informs the topic research you conduct before creating each piece of content, whether it’s a blog, podcast, video, or another format.
Your audience can engage deeply and more directly, which gradually translates to increased brand appeal via increased time on site, a dramatically higher number of social shares, and more word-of-mouth recommendations.
As you attract more leads that are actually interested in consuming what you produce, the cost of lead acquisition goes down, making your funnel more cost-efficient and snowballing into more ROI from your digital marketing strategy. This is called the hockey stick growth for traffic and leads.
2. Lack of a goal-oriented approach
While testing and optimization help marketers learn about their audiences, these practices are only effective as a part of a larger strategy geared toward achieving a stated goal.
Marketing objectives and goals not only provide a direction, but at a micro-level, they also help provide a structure of work your digital marketing team must adopt.
Conversions across all your online channels have different levels, and each level can translate into different types of goals.
Macro-conversions are goals related to the primary call-to-action of your website.
Micro-conversions are actions that the visitor takes that indicate their interest in the purchase, such as viewing the reviews or checking different colors of the product.
If you optimize with only macro-conversions in mind, you risk rushing the buyer into making the purchase decision. You don’t give them the space of sharing their objections and seeking answers to their most burning questions.
When optimizing a funnel, try to increase the micro-conversions but not at the cost of your ultimate goal, i.e. sales. While micro-conversions are important, they don’t generate money. If some micro-conversion goals may affect your potential buyer’s final decision for the worse, consider revising them. You’ll want to have a long-term view of the buyer’s sentiment.
Start with revenue and sales goals. Use them as a lever to create your macro-conversion goals, which will further inform you about the micro-level conversion goals you need to set.
3. Valuing marketing technology more than an actual strategy
Every organization wants to trump its competitors while being the darling of its customers, but founders with a lack of expertise often get carried away buying marketing tools they don’t really need.
One of the most prominent reasons for such overspending is the desire to achieve too many goals at once. Marketers end up buying all of the tools that seemcrucial to their success. Gradually, this focuses the marketing strategy on tool utilization rather than the customers.
Such overspending can be easily mitigated with a smart due-diligence process. Ask for detailed demos from software tool sales teams and create a detailed list of features that the tool offers for your specific strategy. Don’t just rely on their marketing copy to list down these features.
TIP: Learn how to save money on your tech stack with G2 Track. Reduce software overspending and keep your marketing technology tools in check.
Compare the tools and decide if you actually need all of them, or whether a single tool that can help you execute multiple functionalities. Such an analysis should also help you assess which purchases can be deferred until the next quarter.
4. Lack of adequate testing when formulating your digital marketing strategy
Everyone recognizes the need for A/B testing (split testing), but credible use of it in a way that helps raise your revenue is rare.
A specific example of an unhealthy testing strategy is making the number of tests you run a goal. If the number of tests is your only criteria for evaluating the success in split testing, then the quality of tests you conduct might go down drastically in the absence of any qualitative criteria.
A good goal for any A/B test is to increase certain positive metrics (traffic, lead magnet downloads, sales) or decrease the negative success metrics (bounce rate, lead leakage).
Yet another problem is that split tests are often run for a very short duration. In the absence of comprehensive data (collected after the test has run for sufficient duration), conclusions come out biased.
For example, let’s say a marketing agency is running a split test of two different versions of a new landing page layout. They run the test for only the first two weeks of a major sale season. If the numbers are encouraging, it is a good sign, but if the test ends after the first two weeks, we won’t know the reason why the numbers fell off later on.
Finally, make sure your marketing and sales teams develop some original tests. While best testing practices are helpful, some may not lend themselves to your marketing funnel. Get your team together to brainstorm hypotheses to find testing methods that genuinely contribute to your digital marketing strategy.
TIP: If you plan to start A/B testing, make sure you have the right A/B testing software to help you do it right.
5. Ignoring personalization and customization
In an Infosys study, 31% of respondents expressed a desire for a more personalized shopping experience. In another study by Deloitte, 36% of respondents expressed a desire for personalized products (going beyond personalized communication). Brands who offer a generic, run-of-the-mill customer experience are not meeting these customers’ needs.
The more personalized data you can collect, the better you can segment your audience. This market segmentation leads to more targeted offers, personalized recommendations, and exclusive products for specific segments.
As the priorities of each audience segment are different, your content marketing strategy has to adapt to improve the top-of-the-funnel experience for new leads.
Personalization is about optimizing the content for both a customer’s persona and their buying stage. Focused personalization for the audience at the middle and lower stage in the funnel powers a strong revenue stream.
6. Not having a mobile marketing strategy
More than half the population has a smartphone, meaning you need a proper mobile marketing strategy to keep up with the trend. Just do a quick analysis of originating devices for your website traffic in Google Analytics and you find what percentage of your website traffic originates from mobile—chances are it’s pretty high!
Make users pinch-zoom with their fingers or squint their eyes to read your content and you risk losing your most profitable leads. When interacting with brands who lack a mobile-optimized website, consumers express their displeasure by simply abandoning them for other brands.
Designing a mobile-responsive website is one of the basics you need to cover when formulating a successful digital marketing strategy. Having a mobile app takes the engagement game one level further with mobile phones becoming an additional channel for reaching out to your audience.
7. Not including social media in your strategy
Just like mobile, social media is also a default part of the modern consumer’s life. You can use it to garner influence and gain some new fans. Social media pages are also a great source for traffic to your blog.
While there are multiple social media platforms to target, you need to choose the one your target audience is already using. From there, use social media as a channel to engage with both existing and new audiences. Social media marketing can help ramp up genuine micro-conversions from your social pages to your website and guide leads right into your purchase funnel.
Your social media strategy should not only boost conversions but also improve the organic reach of your brand. Organically scale up your social media game by focusing on what the audience needs and providing it to them. Your audience, in turn, will create user-generated content for you that you can use to further your marketing efforts.
All major social platforms provide a basic “boost post” feature that allows you to increase your reach by way of social ads. With smart targeting practices, you can achieve dramatic growth for a very small price over a short time.
Make no mistake
Digital marketing is not a journey with an end; it’s an ever-evolving process. Make room for personalization and use of social media in your strategy. Use split testing as a way to confirm or discard assumptions about your audience, but only create goal-aligned tests. To get the most out of your digital marketing budget, focus on making small improvements to all parts of your strategy.
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Rahul Varshneya is the Co-Founder and President of CurveBreak. Rahul has been featured as a technology thought leader in numerous media channels such as Bloomberg TV, Forbes, HuffPost, Inc, among others.