To make 2016 one of your most successful years, you must maintain an awareness of the latest advances in marketing. You don't necessarily have to jump on every marketing bandwagon that comes around, but you do need to know what's in, what's out, and what's never coming back.
This year, keep your online flubs to a minimum by avoiding some of the most common digital marketing mistakes, such as the following:
1. Biting Off More Than You Can Chew
It's OK to get excited about digital marketing and brainstorming about a great integrative campaign that involves social media, great graphic design, SEO, writing a new blog every week, and more.
What isn't okay is letting yourself get swept away with several starts and few follow-ups.
If your team can effectively manage five social media accounts while it balances all your other marketing activities, then great. But if your team can't, focus on a handful of tactics that make sense financially and will fit into the time you have to work with.
2. Working in Silos
In today's business world, traditional marketing, digital marketing, sales, and advertising all run together. Ideally, these departments would all collaborate and work together seamlessly throughout the sales cycle.
In reality, many companies still allow those departments to operate independently of each other. In fact, many departments may eschew collaboration because they fear losing some of their budget. Companies that support knowledge management concepts and encourage inter-departmental collaboration can benefit from a range of human capital and technological capital assets.
3. Failing to Establish a Process
Marketing strategies differ from company to company, and only you can determine which tactics will work best for you. Regardless of your strategy approach, however, develop a systematic process for handling technology adoption and implementation (CMS, CRM, and social media platforms) as well as for campaign implementation.
The process ensures that marketing activities don't end up in someone's lap as an afterthought.
Instead, each step is carefully calculated with a clear process and goals in mind. The process also improves an employee's ability to take initiative once digital marketing projects are in motion.
4. Focusing on Quantity Over Quality
Did you know that the lifespan of a piece of content online is only a couple of days on average? Some companies take information like that and decide to crank out high volumes of content in hopes of getting something in front of an audience over time.
Unfortunately, that strategy backfires for many content producers. Instead of seeing increased reader engagement, they've added to the online noise that keeps content from reaching the right audience.
Focusing a campaign on producing high-value content in different variations is far more effective. For instance, instead of writing generic articles week after week, spend some time collecting data relevant to your audience and to your product offerings. Then create a whitepaper, an article for publishing on a third-party site, and an infographic.
Make every piece of content shareable, and then work on getting a few customers or existing audience members to share or post your content as well.
You may not change the amount of time you spend on content, but what you're doing is exchanging meaningless effort for the creation of an accessible value proposition that your audience can use to take action.
5. Regurgitating Content
Unless you have a unique angle for a piece of content, don't post something because it's trending. If you can't trump what already shows up in Google searches, your efforts will likely be better spent working on something else.
Take some time to see what competitors and other industry writers are posting in a field before deciding on the topics you want to address as a company, and then focus on the areas in which you excel.
6. Not Focusing on Measurement
Measurement in digital marketing is not an afterthought. Measurement begins when a campaign begins. Unlike traditional marketing campaigns that marketers place in a public forum and then wait to see what happens, digital marketing campaigns provide marketers with the opportunity to optimize a campaign from Day 1.
If something isn't providing the results you expected, you have the ability to make changes until your approach resonates with the audience.
Understand your goals for a campaign from the beginning, then find your key performance indicators and monitor them regularly.
Digital campaigns aren't set in stone. Let them evolve and reach their true potential with some careful tweaks along the way.
7. Not Having Dedicated Resources to UX
Without a solid desktop and mobile experience, your company could miss out on conversion opportunities. You have roughly 10-20 seconds to capture consumers' experience on their smartphone, tablet, or computer. If your webpage loads slowly, the reader can't easily read the font, or half the features fail to load, a reader will probably back out of the site and go somewhere else.
Building a positive UX takes time and requires money and effort, but it's worth it. When Google started penalizing websites for poor mobile-friendliness, the act called "mobilegeddon" became a turning point in SEO. If you want searchers to see you online, you need a spot-on mobile and desktop user experience.
8. Failing to Understand the Timeframe
Digital agencies often experience backlash when their services and support don't yield immediate results. Digital marketing strategies take time, and so do individual campaigns. Some companies will enjoy overnight success, but that isn't a reality that any business can or should expect.
Instead, set realistic benchmarks in keeping with industry standards. Some marketing activities will show positive outcomes in weeks, and others take much longer.
For instance, it takes time to plant your SEO roots and unseat the existing search rankings. Let your SEO team work for at least several weeks, if not a few months, before you start worrying about the outcome of the strategy. SEO, in particular, is a long-term strategy that takes time to develop properly.
9. Getting Overwhelmed With Data
Big Data is everywhere. Experts often tout the importance of metrics and all the different categories of analytics that you need to pay attention to for a successful digital marketing strategy.
Data analysis can quickly overwhelm you. Don't fall into a trap where you have dozens of reports sitting on your desk Monday morning and have no clue what any of it means for your business.
Do pay attention to metrics outside of financial ROI because many tactics are integrated and may not directly tie back to the bottom line. Pick and choose the metrics you follow as they directly relate to your goals. These will help you make decisions without getting overwhelmed.
10. Failing to Let Consumers Guide You
What you envision for the company is irrelevant if it's not something your consumer base wants. Data can overwhelm businesses, particularly new businesses, but it can also provide a vital lifeline to consumer behavior, market needs, and customer insight. Surveys, monitor feedback, and consumer patterns can help you direct your business in a profitable manner.
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The world of digital marketing provides companies with an unprecedented opportunity to connect with the market and provide value. Remembering to put the customer first in everything you do will also support your branding goals and keep you moving forward instead of standing still.