Are you looking to grow your business through online marketing? Do you want your website to reach more people and rank higher on search engines like Google and Bing?
Digital marketing isn’t for the weak at heart. It takes time, patience, and a whole lot of effort to see overall success.
While there are many steps you can take to accomplish this, there are also quite a few that could hinder your efforts substantially. Here are ten of the biggest digital marketing mistakes people make.
Mistake #1: Not Preparing for the Journey by Setting Goals
Perhaps the most common digital marketing mistake people make is not preparing for the journey. It might seem like this should be a given, but there are so many people out there who skip the part of writing down and keeping a goal. Setting and keeping goals before you start a new task is a crucial aspect of making change anywhere in your life, but especially when you’re looking to grow your business.
Furthermore, goals should be specific and not arbitrary. For example, setting a goal of making more money wouldn’t be as useful as one like increasing overall revenue by five percent. See which of the two is a little more concrete?
Let’s look at another example. Consider a goal where you aim to make 1,000 sales in three weeks but have only ever made five sales total in the four months the product has been offered. Does this sound like it would make sense? Of course, not. Choose figures that take into account your previous history, the efforts you plan on undertaking as part of your campaign, and the realistic potential of what could actually happen.
By doing this, it also gives you a strong point to work towards instead of just aimlessly moving forward. After all, if you know where you are headed, you can make the next steps match what you need to accomplish the goal. And if you beat the original goal? Well, that’s even better!
Mistake #2: Thinking a Little Too Optimistically
Another problem? Thinking a little too optimistically when it comes to goals. While it is nice to think you can accomplish a lot in a short period of time, sometimes it isn’t always feasible.
That’s why it is important to be realistic. If you’ve made a goal to increase sales by 60% but expect to do it in only a few weeks, this might not be possible to do in that short period of time. However, if you made the same goal for a five-year period, this could possibly happen.
What happens if you aren’t realistic? You run the risk of setting yourself up for frustration and failure if you don’t meet the goal on time. This makes it much more likely that you’ll give up too soon.
Instead, stick with actionable things you can accomplish and determine the exact steps you need to get there. In most cases, having this clearly defined can help you get there in a reasonable period.
Mistake #3: Failing to Test
One more mistake people make is failing to test their efforts. A/B testing gives you the data you need to make appropriate changes to your digital marketing plan. This is an excellent way to find out what the issue is if you’re showing basic campaigns but not meeting goals.
For those new to digital marketing, A/B testing also gives you a baseline of where your results should be and offers the option to figure out where to grow.
But there’s definitely more. If you’re testing and monitoring results on a regular basis, you also gain the opportunity to try new things that you might not ordinarily try in your usual marketing campaign. Split testing allows you to really think outside of the box, get creative, and see if that wild idea you had really knocked it out of the ballpark.
Mistake #4: Relying Only on Content and Keywords
Relying on only content and keywords to improve search engine ranking is another big digital marketing mistake. While it is still very true that content is king, depending solely on blog posts and other written content isn’t going to get you too far if you aren’t looking at different aspects.
For example, if you look up one hundred of the top keywords for your niche, you might come up with a good list of broad terms to include in your content. But it doesn’t necessarily give you the full picture of what your audience is looking for.
Instead, try to determine the intent of your readers. Are they looking for basic information, or is what they need a little more in-depth? Of course, how you use this advice depends on the exact niche you’re in and the overall goals of your digital marketing efforts, but the main point is to not rely solely on blog posts or site text to carry your campaigns.
Mistake #5: Doing Too Much Optimization
Sometimes it is possible to have too much of a good thing. In terms of digital marketing, it is important not to overdo the optimization efforts on your website. Adding too many keywords—also referred to as stuffing—can cause you to receive a penalty from Google.
The most common area where we see this is blog posts. New digital marketers believe adding the same keyword or variations thereof a few dozen times in a short blog post will somehow allow them to rank organically within a short period of time. This simply doesn’t work and can easily detract your efforts.
Instead, try to keep your keyword usage to a natural level—i.e., something that would make sense for the topic, not some nonsensical search string that doesn’t sound like conversational language. If possible, you can also utilize special tools and methods for intuitive content, which allows the right people to see the right pages when they’re looking for what you’re offering.
Mistake #6: Not Engaging in Paid Marketing
Another common mistake is not engaging in paid marketing. While many newer marketers think they don’t have the budget for pay-per-click or other ads, the truth is that engaging in paid marketing is the cornerstone of a solid digital marketing plan.
Why? While organic optimization is great for the long term, it does take quite a long time to come to fruition. In some cases, it can be months or years before the content starts to bring in traffic that increases conversions.
Paid advertising is like having the ability to skip to the front of the line. It puts your site in front of the right audience at the time you choose, allowing you to increase sales or improve your marketing campaigns. Instead of waiting, you can get that data from your A/B testing and make changes accordingly.
Simply put, paid advertising is what allows you to see gains quickly and make adjustments for longer-term approaches to digital marketing.
Mistake #7: Skipping an Email List
Not having an email list is another big digital marketing mistake. Think of it this way: if Facebook or another major social platform were to shut down tomorrow, how would you get a hold of your loyal paying customers?
Having your own email list also gives you the ability to get in direct contact with interested and engaged potential customers any time you wish. Have a new product launch? Want to introduce a new service? Do you intend to keep in contact every week, so they don’t forget who you are? All of these things are simple to do if you’ve already set your funnel to include an email list.
Furthermore, this is a great way to give potential customers an incentive to try you out before making a big purchase. Offering a freebie or other value exchange in trade for their email address puts you in a unique position to be able to show them what you can do to help ease their pain points. For marketers, this is a big deal, and not having an email list is definitely a huge mistake.
Mistake #8: Forgetting Mobile
Is your website optimized for mobile? If not, you could be making a big mistake. More than ever, people use their smartphone devices to look up companies or shop online while they’re on the go. Forgetting to check what your site appears like at these different ratios can mean a poor customer experience. In turn, this can equate to losing out on hundreds or thousands of sales in a given period.
But what if you have a responsive site? With all the different screen ratios out there, it is important to remember that responsive sites aren’t always a good idea. They can break at certain times, which means you could be missing out on a potential sale and not even know it. Thus, it is always better to have a website with a specific mobile design for best viewing results.
In addition, it is also a good idea to look into having a dedicated mobile app created for both Android and Apple users. If you don’t know how to accomplish this on your own, there are plenty of companies out there who can help you do so at an affordable cost. The real benefit here is that having your own dedicated app not only shows professionalism, but it also gives your customers a way to get in touch with you that specifically caters to their needs.
Mistake #9: Ignoring Possible Partnership Opportunities
It’s also a big mistake to ignore possible partnership opportunities. Think about your niche for a moment. Are there other people who engage in similar businesses or even competitors that could help you improve your digital marketing efforts?
In most cases, there are. This can even include those who offer the same product you do, but with a different spin. While teaming up with direct competition might not be the best idea, working with someone in a similar arena could bring further opportunities for you to grow your business. In the end, both of you win.
Not sure who you could possibly partner with? Get creative. Just because a potential partnership doesn’t seem obvious on the offset doesn’t mean it wouldn’t be successful for you both. Brainstorm together and come up with ways in which what you’re both offering could bring benefit to your shared target audience.
Mistake #10: Trying to Do Everything Yourself
Finally, one of the biggest digital marketing mistakes you can make is trying to do everything yourself. Sometimes it is just a better idea to cut your losses and know where you struggle instead of spending countless hours on tasks that would take someone else under thirty minutes.
Focus on the things you are good at and leave the rest to an expert. For example, if you’re great at writing blog posts but need someone to create coordinating social media graphics and/or video, hire a professional.
In addition, you might find that you need to outsource all of your digital marketing efforts so that you can concentrate on other sides of your business. This is perfectly normal and okay! Many companies in a wide range of industries start off trying to handle everything in-house but quickly realize their dollars are better spent with a dedicated marketing firm.
If you aren’t sure where to begin, ask acquaintances or others in your niche about who they trust for certain digital marketing elements. Chances are, they know of someone who offers what you are looking for and can provide a solid recommendation. After all, word of mouth is still very much alive and well.
The biggest takeaways here are essential for all digital marketers to remember—both newbies and experienced ones alike. Set attainable goals, keep track of your marketing efforts through testing, and don’t miss out on the chance to reach your audience by having an email list. Likewise, realize when you need to reach out for help and when it is a good time to partner up for better results. Keep all of these potential mistakes in mind to help ensure your overall marketing is a surefire success.
Alyssa Anderson is the Content Manager at Zero Gravity Marketing (ZGM), a digital marketing agency in Madison, CT. ZGM is known for developing overarching marketing strategies and specializes in pay-per-click, SEO, content marketing, social media, development, design, and eCommerce services.