1. Introduction: A Look at the Past Years of Digital Marketing
In the past decade we’ve seen a tremendous rise in online advertising spend, with a total value of $9.8 billion in 2016 alone. But when it comes to measuring how effective that spending was and how to improve, many companies still face major challenges. Can you really predict which media campaign will be successful? How do you measure ROI? And what’s the ‘right’ channel for your ads?
We’ll go through some of these issues and offer some strategies that I’ve learned over the years. It’s my hope they’ll help you make better decisions about digital marketing, so you can make more money from your digital marketing efforts.
2. Mistake #1: Not Prioritizing SEO
SEO is a great tool for search engine optimization, but it’s not the only thing that matters.
If you want to achieve success in digital marketing, you need to do more than optimize your website. You need to start optimizing your content strategy and social media marketing.
In this guide we’ll introduce you to all the great tools and techniques that are available, including: Facebook Ads, Google AdWords and paid social media sites like Pinterest and Twitter.
This guide is not intended to be a full-blown SEO course, so take it as an overview of what it takes to gain organic traffic from multiple sources.
3. Mistake #2: Overlooking the Power of Social Media
As you know, I spent a lot of time in the early days of Facebook and Twitter. And I still miss those days.
As many of you know, my company has been working on some cool stuff for the past few years, and we’ve been doing a little bit of social media marketing around it. I thought it was time to share some of the mistakes that new businesses make when they’re trying to get off the ground with digital marketing (and hopefully what we can do to avoid them).
First, though: there is no one right way to do social media marketing. No two companies are going to use the same tools and no two audiences will respond in exactly the same way. So, don’t think that one “right” way is better than another — your company needs to be able to adapt when things change.
Secondly: be careful about your terminology and assumptions about your audience. If you’re not sure whether people buy from Amazon or not, try asking them (or talking with customers). If you’re sure people do buy from Amazon but aren’t sure why, talk with customers and investors! And if you have no idea what people are actually doing on Facebook and Twitter — talk with them!
Thirdly: don’t assume that everyone who follows you on Facebook is an active user — there are plenty of inactive users too! Many of my friends have “liked” me on Facebook but never used my product or service once. The same goes for Twitter followers — there are plenty who never engage with our content whatsoever (and their followers are probably just as inactive). Finally, if your product isn’t working on Facebook at all or only works poorly or inconsistently at best—talk to customers (or investors) about it!
4. Mistake #3: Not Creating Compelling Content
A common mistake made by new digital marketers is not creating compelling content. It is all too easy to get caught up in the search engine optimization and CPC metrics of digital marketing, and not be aware that what you are actually looking for are people to read your content.
Your content should be short and sweet, so that people will be more likely to click on it. This means it should be about things that matter to your customers, so that they can quickly find what they want instead of wasting time searching for it (guessed correctly).
Most importantly, content should actually help your customers. For example, you may have an app which allows users to call a toll-free phone number from within the app itself (and which also has a monthly fee associated with it). However, the most effective way of driving traffic to your app would be by having them call your toll-free number using their cell phone at the beginning of their call. Not only does this save time for them (since they can just start talking as soon as they reach out), but it also allows them (especially teens) to identify you as the legitimate source of information about toll-free numbers and thus become more interested in learning more about them (after all, they have already done research on other services like Google Voice).
5. Mistake #4: Ignoring Mobile Users
Not every digital marketing software is created equal. Let’s be honest, most of them are crap. Many are only slightly better than one another — some are a waste of time/money/energy and others are just as bad. Asking for a review of Digital Marketing Software on the internet will make you look like a whiny, spoiled brat (obviously).
If you want to save yourself from this fate, I suggest you read 6 Mistakes You’ve Made in Past Years of Digital Marketing. All about Digital Marketing to see what I mean and then go away, never to return. And please, no following me or tweeting me about this post… because we don’t want any comparisons between yourself and me. If we want people to buy our products and do us the favor of recommending them at all, it should be because they believe what we say and know how useful they are.
If that means that we have to deal with poor reviews left by people who have no idea about the product or its value, then so be it (I have yet to meet someone who would say otherwise), but at least it shows that the overall sentiment of our users is positive — something that shouldn’t be too surprising since most aren’t trying to trick us out of our hard-earned money! 🙂
6. Mistake #5: Not Analyzing Data
Those of us who have been in the digital marketing industry for some time have probably heard the term “big data” or share big files and data. To be fair, it is probably easy to argue that big data is not a real thing; it’s just a buzzword thrown around to make marketing more exciting or fashionable. But I will argue that it is an important thing to understand. In fact, I will argue that it’s one of the most important things you can do to your business – and here’s why:
Big data can be boiled down into two simple concepts:
1. The attributes of your customers (their demographics, how they communicate, how much money they spend on various categories, etc.).
2. Their behavior (how often they interact with your product/service/brand).
For many products and services, big data is really about measuring how well you are doing in phase #1. This can be done by taking a number of different metrics and running them through the same algorithm, such as Google Analytics or Salesforce Marketing Cloud. This gives you a good picture of what you are working on and where you are lacking (in this case, a better understanding of your current scale). It also gives you some idea of what kind of results you are expecting and what kind of improvements might be possible if only…
Now as much as this may not be something that necessarily applies directly to your business (it doesn’t necessarily mean your product needs bigger data sets), if you don’t take advantage of this information then there is no point in even trying to improve it (and certainly no point in adding any new features). The key thing here is not big data itself but just being able to analyze it effectively.
7. Mistake #6: Failing to Plan for the Future
We’ve all seen the recent rise of digital marketing, but we often don’t think about what it means for companies in the long term. In my book The Digital Marketing Guide, I share my thoughts on digital marketing’s future and how to ensure you survive and thrive.
So, here are six mistakes that were made over the years in digital marketing…
Mistake #1: Failing to plan for the future
Mistake #2: Failing to have a written process (not just a website) where customers can contact you easily
Mistake #3: Failing to plan for growth (not just for audience)
Mistake #4: Failing to plan for customization (i.e., making your products more valuable)
Mistake #5: Failing to communicate effectively with customers and stakeholders (and their professionals) (Note: this is not necessarily wrong — there are many cases where planning is crucial — but they aren’t necessarily easy or convenient.)
Mistake #6: Failing to do enough research on other competitors’ strategies, strategies that may well be better than yours!
8. Conclusion: Learning from Past Years and Moving Forward
In the last few years, we have witnessed a massive growth in how digital marketing is done. The number of digital marketing companies and their services has exploded, as have their products and workflows. Over the last decade, there has been a lot of great product innovation and it’s been exciting to see that growth, but through all the changes, there have been some things that I’ve noticed over time in my own experience as a digital marketer.
This year, I decided to take the time to write this post to get some perspective on what you need to be doing if you are interested in growing your business using digital marketing.
This is not exactly an “ideal” list of things that people do; but if we look at it with a non-digital-marketing mindset, then we can see how much better off our lives would be with some of these things less prevalent than they are now.
If you are currently doing any of these things (or anything else) for your marketing business, then I think you’re going about it wrong.
I’ll go through each one below… 1) You’re putting too much weight on the product–it should be all about creating value for your customers 2) You’ve forgotten about branding and packaging–and you’re forgetting about social media 3) Your tactics too often focus on one specific channel or one specific audience 4) Your tactics focus too much on building an audience 5) Your customers/clients don’t even know what they want or need 6) You don’t communicate effectively enough 7) You don’t keep up with new technologies 8) You don’t understand enough about customer engagement 9) You don’t understand enough about selling 10) You’re not using technology efficiently 11) You’re spending way too much time thinking like a traditional marketing company 12) You aren’t thinking like a startup 13) You aren’t thinking like an entrepreneur 14) You aren’t developing products fast enough 15) You aren’t building up momentum 16) Your ads are boring 17) Your ads are uninspiring 18) Your ads suck 19) Your ads make no sense 20) It takes forever for your ads (especially landing pages!) 21) Too many assets.