I think it’s fair to say that Digital Marketing is now a key element to almost every business’ marketing strategy. Whether it’s your website, social media pages or e-newsletters, there’s something that the internet can offer to almost every business. I’d like to hear from anyone who believes marketing online doesn’t benefit their business or organisation, as I’ve still yet to come across it personally.
During my 12 years of studying and working in the industry, I’ve come across a few key mistakes that have prevented businesses from really making the most of their digital marketing strategies and ultimately being more profitable.
I can totally understand the compulsion to want to see results from your marketing spend as no-one wants to waste hard earned cash, but with marketing I would prioritise long term thinking with your budget spend. Attracting consumers to your products and services because of the high quality messages and content will be harder to initially see the results from, but will eventually pay off with persistence. As you get more enquiries, more customer details, more information about the way your customers spend money etc. the easier the marketing becomes, as you can become far more targeted enabling your messages to penetrate through the noise of the internet.
Honestly, in our own experience we’ve had clients who have been very dubious about some of the work we’ve done initially online, only to change their mind after sticking with the plan for a few months thanks to improvements in statistics and sales. Having a good quality 12 month plan, and ensuring you stick it there or thereabouts, will undoubtedly give your brand more stature and weight with your target market. Short term activities do serve a purpose and will help drive initial business, but this should only be to fund your long term strategy.
Too much focus on yourself
No matter what your business is, customers do care who they’re buying from. The more personality your brand oozes and the more people can relate to your marketing, chances are the more people will buy from you. HOWEVER, having a personal touch does not mean constantly talking about your services, your products, what YOU can do, why YOU are so great. Honestly, people don’t care. They care about what your service/product can do to help them, what other people think about your brand and what benefits you offer in exchange for their hard-earned money.
The most powerful way of getting your message across is getting your own customers to shout about how good you are! Focus on getting great Facebook/Google reviews, ask clients for testimonials on your website, post photos of your customers using your products/services (happy ones) etc. Word of mouth is an incredible form of marketing that is hard to quantify, but it can be encouraged.
Social media spamming
We’ve all done this. I’ve done this. Posting on social media when there isn’t that much to say is absolutely pointless, and can often have negative impacts from people unfollowing/disengaging with your social media pages.
It is a fine balance between keeping people informed/interested and turning people off, but as long as your posts have the intention of engaging and catching the interests of your followers then you’re on the right lines. Analyse what posts get good engagement (likes, shares, RTs, clicks etc), as this increases the likelihood of posts popping up in other people’s feed and ultimately reaching more potential customers! Whether it’s videos of your products, pics of your staff or quirky graphics/memes, it’s important to know your audience and accommodate them on social media.
Not tracking where customers are coming from
Where possible, any business should try and get a better idea of where your sales are coming from. If you’re selling products online, take a look at your website stats – where is your traffic coming from? If you run Google Adwords you can track exactly what someone has typed in on the search engine to the point of sale, excellent information to use going forward.
If you’re running a B2B, serviced based business then simply asking new customers where they heard about your service will do the trick.
But why bother? Well, marketing is ultimately making an educated guess as to how to attract more customers to your business or organisation. A great way of reducing waste marketing spend, or increasing your efficiency is to know where your enquiries are coming from. This will enable you to focus your time and budget on the marketing methods that you know are actually working. The more knowledge and feedback you have, the more successful your marketing activities will be.
Resistance to change
A big one for me (not just in marketing but life in general, but let’s not get into that…).
With the modern day marketing world changing at such a rapid rate (I feel like I always say this, but it is!), it’s really important to take all new opportunities into consideration. Hate Snapchat? It might serve a purpose in your marketing strategy by offering instant visual content. Think Adwords is a waste of money? A well structured targeted Adwords campaign is one of the best ways of reaching customers who are searching online for your products/services.
That’s not to say you should use everything, as there are financial/time restrictions as to what your marketing person/team can deal with. If you’re introducing a new strategy, focus on the activities that are likely to involve your target audience explicitly to begin with. Hair salon? Stick to Facebook and Instagram initially. Solicitor? Focus on your website, Google and email marketing. When developing an existing strategy it’s often about refining the things that have worked well and exploring new ways to promote your brand. Don’t rule anything out, but choose a marketing mix that’s appropriate.
In all fairness, there’s plenty of trial and error involved when it comes to marketing. With experience and expertise you can reduce the amount of time and money spent on getting it right. The most important part when you’re making mistakes is to recognise them, change what you’re doing and constantly re-evaluate what’s working for you.