Digital marketing allows you to reach a vast audience of prospects and clients with one click – and therein lies the problem. When done incorrectly, digital marketing can quickly become a passive aggressive strategy. The prospects or clients you are hoping to reach are, in fact, people. They are not leads. To truly engage people, you need to present your content in a way that makes them want to engage.
You might end up turning off your audience with endless content about you, your platforms, products, or processes. The goal is to position your content in a way that piques curiosity and communicates your value distinctly.
Digital marketing includes strategies such as:
- Social Media
- Digital Advertising
- Content Marketing – Blogs, Podcasts, Instructional Videos, etc.
- Email Marketing Campaigns
Before we outline some of the best practices for digital marketing, we need to discuss the big mistakes firms often make. The goal is to help you recognize the common mistakes and optimize your results. Aside from making sure your marketing databases are up-to-date and free of spelling errors, you will find many of the biggest digital marketing mistakes highlighted below.
1. IGNORING ANALYTICS AND SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION (SEO)
The number one digital marketing mistake is ignoring analytics and SEO. Analytics could be your website tracking metrics or Google Analytics – to name a few. Too many firms do not pay attention to how important analytics are. Talk to your website designer, your email campaign manager, or the marketing agency you work with to see what analytics they can provide. This often includes assessing your website traffic, visitor metrics, length of time spent on your site, bounce rates, etc.
You want to pay particular attention to the speed of your website. If it takes too long for your website pages or links to load, your audience will abandon your content. You may need to spend more money or change your website host to make sure your loading time is as fast as possible.
It is also important to engage an outside SEO specialist. Tracking codes, tags, meta descriptions, keywords, click-through rates, and algorithms are all important. Search engines such as Google are constantly changing their algorithms and you want to land at the top of any relevant search results. You want your digital efforts to be properly optimized.
Understanding analytics can help you identify where people are spending time on your website. It can help you answer questions, such as:
- Are your campaigns actually working?
- Is your blog being found and read?
- What could you do to foster better results?
Analyzing these types of metrics often requires assistance from qualified specialists.
2. MESSAGING AND NAVIGATION MISTAKES
The second big mistake involves messaging and navigation. In terms of messaging, is your content coming off as convincing people to try to engage with you or are you creating curiosity? Convincing involves lengthy content about you, your processes, and your platforms. We like to call this the “Ps.” It is messaging that focuses on products, processes, payouts, performance, platforms, or your people. These are all important, but it can come off as too sales driven.
Online users have the attention span of about eight to nine seconds. So, you need to choose your words judiciously. Speak in outcomes. If your content is not relevant and to the point, people will bounce off the page and won’t engage. Focus on the benefits prospects and clients can accomplish or gain by working with you.
As an example, with email marketing, limit your subject lines to four to six words maximum. Quickly address the problems your audience wants to solve. Complimentary closing messages are also important. You don’t want your messages to look impersonal or canned. If you sign your emails with “Sincerely,” or “Best,” these words are dated and ubiquitous. It is far more personal to use a closing message, such as “Warmest regards,” or “We are here for you.”
In regards to website navigation, your pages and content must be easy to navigate. Most visitors will leave your site if it is too confusing or they cannot readily find what they are looking for.
3. NICHE MARKET FAUX PAS
Mistake number three is niche market faux pas. With digital marketing, you are trying to cast a wide net to reach qualified prospects and clients. The challenge is different niche markets often have different motivations. Specific industries may use different vernacular. It is important to research your niche market. Determine the top key words for your markets and how your market consumes digital content.
4. PUMPING OUT ENDLESS CONTENT
Mistake number four is pushing out too much content. It’s easy to put out content; it’s not easy to be found. You may have a library of videos, case studies, blogs, or educational videos, but are not getting much engagement. If you are constantly pumping out content and hoping people will see or share it, hope is not a plan.
Focus on getting your content featured in industry blogs or on digital platforms that your market actually reads. That way a wider group of prospects will see it. Determine the platforms or influencers your target audience follows. Rather than wait for people to follow you, follow where your prospects are going and work to get your content shared on those platforms.
5. CONTENT LENGTH
The fifth mistake is content length. Often, blog articles benefit from longer content length, such as 1,800 words. However, videos or email blasts need to be shorter. Your content needs to be easy to consume – think of it as “snackable” content. People are looking to scan content and get the takeaways quickly.
The ideal length for emails or campaign messages is less than 125 words, which includes your “Hello” and closing salutations. This is where focusing on outcomes is critical. You need to ditch the extraneous, such as: “I hope you are staying safe during this pandemic.” This takes up too much content. You need to get straight to the outcomes. This helps you create curiosity.
6. CALLS-TO-ACTION (CTAs) AND A/B TESTING
Digital marketing is about fostering engagement. As such, Calls-to-Action (CTAs) are important. CTAs entice the reader to take the next step – whether to look at a video, visit a web page, or contact you directly. If you want someone to take the next step, it may be best to structure your CTAs as buttons as opposed to links. This way they are more visible.
Power words are also highly beneficial. Power words are words or phrases such as: “An Invitation for You,” “Introducing,” or using the word “You,” vs. “Our.” Avoiding friction words is also a good strategy. Friction words involve tasks a person might not want to do. Friction words could include “Apply,” “Submit,” or “Register.” Consider replacing friction words with power words, such as: “Get,” “Learn More,” or “Ready to Take the Next Step?” You also want to avoid spam words like “Free,” because that could trigger your email to land in the end user’s Junk or Spam folder.
A/B testing is also extremely beneficial. This involves testing out the same campaign or message with a different subject line, a different title, sending during a different time of day, or on a different platform. It allows you to determine which strategies gain the best results and engagement. You might have an excellent message that didn’t quite get traction the first time. If you change the subject line, or the time of day you send your message, you may gain a better result. That is the premise of A/B testing.
7. MOBILE OPTIMIZATION
Mistake number seven is mobile optimization. Your digital messages may look great on a desktop or tablet, but when viewed on a mobile phone it may look too content heavy. You are reading things vertically on a mobile phone, which means you need to skinny down your message even further. Additionally, if all your Calls-to-Action are links and not in the form of buttons, it could be hard to see on a phone.
If your content includes visual images, they may look great on a phone, but could be hidden on a desktop. You should test your messages on several devices, and proofread them carefully, before they are sent.
8. SOCIAL MEDIA MISTAKES
Another big digital marketing and social media mistake is baiting and switching. Specifically, we will use LinkedIn as an example. With LinkedIn, your goal is to connect with qualified people to spur a relationship. If someone accepts your invitation to connect, and you immediately direct message them with sales or product-driven messages, you can quickly become unfollowed.
Your best bet with social media is to start liking and engaging the content shared by the individuals you want to reach. Thank them for connecting. Tell them you look forward to viewing their content. It’s a slower process, but far more effective than baiting and switching with sales pitches.
9. COPY AND PASTE MISTAKES
If you cut and paste content from another site into an email message or a blog article, it might look fine on your screen, but for the end user, it could come off formatted incorrectly. For instance, the content you paste may show up in a different style font, size, color, or justification. It is best to organically type in your content rather than cutting and pasting.
10. DIGITAL MARKETING IS NOT THE END-ALL BE-ALL
If your entire business development strategy relies on digital marketing, depending on your industry, that could be a disadvantage in your marketing strategy. As an example, for financial advisors, they are in the business of providing financial advice and guidance. It requires a personal one-on-one relationship to guide clients in their lifestyle decisions, as well as the economic and emotional aspects of financial planning. Client cultivation is certainly made easier using digital means, but you can lose the personal human experience if it is all digital.
In summary, success with digital marketing requires you to tailor your content to your audience. It involves researching the key words and outcomes desired by your niche markets. If you think and speak like your audience, your messages will create more curiosity. Focus on content that solves problems – written in outcomes that are meaningful to your audience. When you get your messaging right, you can then focus on analytics and SEO.
Digital marketing takes time. Remember, you are trying to reach people and get them to notice you. It takes consistency and the right exposure and positioning for people to engage with you. By recognizing and avoiding the big digital marketing mistakes, you can optimize your results and gain a more powerful presence in your marketplace.