If you’ve ever felt confused by digital marketing and unsure of how much you can or should DIY, rest assured you’re not alone. Learn from those who have gone before you with these six common mistakes.
After interviewing more than 40 of my clients, from small businesses through to corporations, I noticed a pattern emerging with the types of problems or concerns they were having with their digital and social media activities.
Often the mistakes they were having could have been remedied by being willing to invest in the right channels and strategies to begin with.
So, what stopped them from setting their business (or marketing/digital/social) strategies up properly?
I encountered a lot of confusion around what the right channels and strategies were, and also fear of not seeing a return on investment for their marketing spend.
Unfortunately, businesses often end up spending a lot more money remedying these errors. Some examples include having to start over with a new website after employing a dodgy SEO practitioner, or being locked into ongoing costs for maintaining a website once set up through a certain channel or company.
If you don’t get the foundations right, you’ll find it very difficult to grow your business and achieve success with your marketing.
The six most common digital marketing mistakes businesses make are as follows:
1. Jumping straight to tactics
Business owners often come to me starting a conversation with, “Kevin, we need to do [insert tactic]”. The issue here is that often they haven’t yet established if this tactic is in fact the most appropriate for their objectives, and the best way in which to attract an audience.
Jumping to tactics is dangerous! You need to first learn how to understand your objectives and your audience so intimately that you are able to ask the right questions.
This will help avoid either employing the wrong person to drive your marketing strategy, or engaging the wrong agency that convinces you to adopt an approach that is simply unnecessary or irrelevant to your customers’ purchasing journey.
2. Attempting to build a website in-house
With the prevalence of Wix and similar DIY, template-ready websites, I’ve seen many people attempt to create their own websites or outsource to cheap companies.
These people often get burnt when it comes to things such as further development or capabilities of the site, design quality, hosting and support, domain ownership and a lack of support in understanding how to use the website as a business tool.
3. Wasting time and money purchasing “likes” to supposedly gain a “better following” on Facebook
When you understand the differences between buying “likes” and building solid, quantitative campaigns that will yield a focused and dedicated audience, you will realise that buying “likes” is not an effective strategy, merely a short-term fix.
Let me put it this way: would you rather be in a room with 50 people who are genuinely interested in everything you have to say and hanging off each word, or would you rather be in front of 50,000 people but only 50 of those people are relatively interested in what you have to say?
4. Engaging a foreign provider for SEO services
Many business owners tend to get somewhat concerned when discussing SEO (Search Engine Optimsation). They tend to become overwhelmed and confused (and understandably so) about the variance in price and in service offerings when going to multiple businesses for a quote.
The price-conscious among them tend to engage an offshore agency (mainly for SEO). Where they go wrong is that a lack of education and understanding from these suppliers means that they are unaware of the SEO techniques they are implementing, and instead of trying to build a content-rich, informative, authoritative website, these businesses employ game-like tactics to help the website ranking.
The end result here is that websites end up eventually ranking lower or even being blacklisted by Google.
5. Engaging a family/friend/amateur to work on their creative material, usually to the detriment of the final outcome
Just because they are young and a ‘digital native’, doesn’t mean they know how to use Facebook or social media.
Without a formal strategy for everything from the inception and development of a brand through to a plan for the curation of content, an in-depth understanding of one’s target audience and the mechanics of successful social posting, the value behind the channel is quickly diminished.
Posting frequency is often inconsistent and content not always relevant, turning off your audience. A good marketing agency or in-house resource will provide ultimate customer and audience value.
They will take care of the important content, the regular posting, the key content strategies and, most importantly, the audience appeal. They will guide clients with their posting and their content curation to give the brand more personality.
6. Outsourcing Google AdWords or Facebook advertising to amateurs
To avoid the many mistakes and pitfalls lots of other business owners have made, arm your in-house or outsourced marketing team with the above information to ensure they too don’t employ (or intend to employ) these tactics.
Digital natives aren’t necessarily experts when it comes to the understanding and activation of digital marketing channels such as Google AdWords and Facebook.
As a business owner or manager, your digital and social media marketing is likely critical to your business. Taking shortcuts and not investing properly in this part of your business is a sure-fire way to limit your potential and even damage your business.
Engage a professional, either in-house or through a third-party agency; but as the owner, it is ultimately up to you to assess whether they are right for the job. Do your research and come armed with questions around their strategy and keep them accountable.
Kevin Spiteri is a digital marketer and author of the aptly named book I Just Want It To Work!