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Digital Marketing: What NOT To Do (6 Easy-to-Solve Marketing Mistakes)


These days, it is impossible to go through a day without some company trying to make you a customer. Imagine if we calculated the amount of time spent deleting emails from stores, scrolling past Facebook ads, and fast-forwarding through commercials. There was once even talk of putting ads on the sidewalk so they stayed in view of pedestrians looking at their phones. We are a society inundated with ads, so it becomes increasingly more difficult to get in front of, and more importantly, stay in front of customers.  

For that reason, digital marketing has become essential in making businesses successful and long-lasting. However, like everything in life, digital marketing has a learning curve. Without a significant marketing budget, business owners often find themselves skimming through articles and blogs, hoping to build successful digital marketing campaigns without hiring a third party company. Inevitably, mistakes are made, and the lack of time and expertise prevent the business from reaching its fullest potential. 

Thinking back to when our company started (at an acting school in Central New Jersey….it’s a great story!) we recall the numerous mistakes we made as we navigated digital marketing for the first time. Since then, we have been made aware of these mistakes and try to avoid them going forward. Of course, we wish we had known what to avoid from the beginning. Knowing what mistakes to look out for from the start can help your business get on the fast track to increased traffic, stronger connections with customers, and, as a result, greater success.

Go In Without A Plan

Once you have made the decision to enter into the world of digital marketing, it is easy to throw a social media profile together and begin posting. However, prior to doing any of this, it is important to go in with a plan. Take some time to think about what the ultimate goal of your campaign is, and how success will be measured along the way. That way, if your digital marketing isn’t working the way you want it to, you can make the proper adjustments with your goal in mind. 

By having a set goal, you can give more thought into what strategies you want to use and which sites you want to focus your energy on. For instance, would instagram be a better place to start for your specific industry, or is LinkedIn the place to go? Should more of your time and money go towards SEO, or is customer engagement more beneficial? 

After you have specific goals, both long-term and short-term, in mind, create a deadline for yourself. Goals have a tendency to become vague and abstract, something we know we want to accomplish at some point but get lost in the day-to-day. Making a timeline, complete with an end date, will help keep you accountable and on top of your digital marketing efforts.

Focus On The Product More Than The Customer

When creating copy for ads and posts for your company, be sure to keep the customers at the forefront. Often, people get turned off by a business clearly focused on making a sale and bragging about how great its product is. Instead, in order to gain a dedicated following, your focus should be on customer engagement and building relationships. 

Think about how the product can benefit your ideal customer. Let them picture their lives made better by your product in comparison to life without it. Rather than spending time going over each feature, talk to the customer about how your product might help. The customer should be at the center of any campaign.

More than that, begin conversations with your potential customers. Ask questions to discuss and comment back when they answer. A disadvantage to digital marketing is the loss of a face-to-face connection. Actively conversing through digital means will help to build strong relationships that can build your following without ever meeting the consumer.

Ignore Committed Customers 

As you build your following, be sure to hang on to those who have been with you for a while. Marketing strategies are often focused on how to bring in new customers. However, keeping the old is often as, if not more, important. To do that, treat those loyal customers as individuals. When sending out emails, for instance, personalize when possible. Use the customer’s name, if available, and use your name in the signature instead of the business’ name. This personalization is more likely to sustain a connection between company and consumer. In a world of automated answering services, being treated as an individual stands out.

Committed customers are also more likely to buy from you, as opposed to new customers. You have a 60 to 70 percent chance of making an additional sale to an existing customer. Compare that to the 5 to 20 percent chance of making an initial sale to a new customer.  More than that, the cost of acquiring customers is 6 or 7 times the cost of retaining them. When budgeting customer acquisition, be mindful of the importance of the loyal followers you already have.

When budgeting for customer retention, consider giving rewards. People are more likely to make a purchase if they are offered a discount. 91 percent of people claim they return to a business after redeeming a coupon. By offering discounts, you are creating a more reliable clientele. Special promotions for dedicated followers also draw attention back to your business and make the customer feel a stronger connection. 

Target the Wrong People

An advantage to social media marketing is the ability to target a specific audience. Many companies neglect this feature, thinking any eyes they can get in front of helps the business.  However, this thinking results in an expensive and inefficient campaign. Instead, you want to narrow the audience down to the people who will actually want and be able to buy what you are selling. They are the same people who will refer your product to others like themselves.

Consider that audience when writing ads and posts. Think about the tone and language that will most appeal to them. Neglecting to decide on a specific target audience often ends up in more generic posts. Consumers need to feel a personal connection, that the business understands them. Feeling as if they are being spoken to directly makes them feel heard, and more likely to listen to you in return.

Neglect Your Social Analytics

Once posts and ads are written and sent out into the digital universe, it is easy to let them go off on their own and do the work. Your chances of sales are much higher, though, if you keep track of how the content is resonating with the audience. Think about it: in brick and mortar locations, charts and spreadsheets often track the progress of a business. Business owners look to see which sandwich on the menu is selling the best, and which brand of hummus no longer belongs on the shelf. They look if print ads or billboards have increased sales. Monitoring social analytics is a vital and simple step in digital marketing.

Pay attention to overall trends the data offers. Of course, don’t worry if your landing page gets a few less visitors than the day before. Instead, look at which posts get the most traffic and if that traffic translates into quality leads. Get rid of posts and ads that seem unsuccessful so you don’t end up throwing money away. Make sure visitors aren’t simply ‘visiting’ and that leads turn into sales. By consistently checking social analytics, you can make modifications and adjustments to yield the most success.

Refuse to Consider Various Marketing Strategies 

Finally, make use of all of the strategies available to you. Sticking to one site, while sometimes helpful in the beginning, can get stale and stifle growth. Focusing solely on social media is a good start, but doesn’t promote your business to its fullest extent. Once you are comfortable with social media marketing, SEO, email campaigns, and blogs are options that need to be considered.

93 percent of all online ventures start with a search engine. 75 percent of potential consumers never go on to page 2.  SEO, or search engine optimization, has become essential to running a successful business. If your website cannot be found, how are you expecting to make sales? Frequently searched keywords and phrases need to be in your website in order to optimize your page and raise it on the results page.

Email marketing is sometimes looked at as useless in the world of social media and google searches. However, email offers the highest return on investment due to its low cost. Previous customers who have made purchases in the past are likely to click on an email offering discounts and promotions.  

Blogs can also help sustain that connection with previous customers. Followers can comment on blogs and ask questions, starting a conversation between you and the consumer.  Blogs written for your website can be used as fodder for your social media posts, directing the reader back to your page. In addition, blogs contain 97 percent more inbound links, which brings more potential consumers to your website.

Building digital marketing campaigns, especially for the first time, is hard. There are so many outlets and ways of getting the word out there that it seems overwhelming. A life in an acting school has made us focus on the process over the product. Thinking in that way--focusing on one aspect at a time, making revisions along the way, and taking the time to reflect--can result in an effective, intelligent campaign. Mistakes are always going to happen; being aware of those mistakes as you continue your journey, though, is what will help the future of your business.