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November 30, 2016

21 Digital Marketing Mistakes & How to Avoid Them

The world of digital marketing can be overwhelming, especially for those who are just transitioning from traditional marketing – so naturally, mistakes are going to be made. In fact, even the most experienced marketers will occasionally have digital campaigns that don’t yield desired results. From SEO and content marketing to paid advertising and social media, make sure your next online campaign doesn’t meet with failure by avoiding these 21 digital marketing mistakes.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

1. Not Optimizing for Local Search

With the recent “Possum” update, Google made a number of changes to their local search algorithm to enhance the searcher’s local results. For brick-and-mortar businesses, proximity to the searcher’s location has become even more important. Businesses that optimize their location information will be rewarded with higher positions on search engine results pages (SERPs).

To improve your local ranking, include location-specific keywords in your meta descriptions and page titles. Make sure your business name and address are “cited” on directories, association listings and review networks.

2. Not Using Custom Title Tags and Meta Descriptions

Every page on your website should have a unique title tag and meta description. Not only does it provide search engines with an explanation about your page content, it is used on SERPs to display a snippet of what the page will be about.

Besides using relevant keywords for SEO purposes, make sure your meta data is descriptive to entice people to click on your listing. Stay within character limits so that your meta data doesn’t get cut off on SERPs.

3. Not Optimizing for the Right Keywords

Keywords are the building blocks of search. While it’s easy to focus on keywords that may bring you lots of traffic, to attract qualified traffic it’s better to target specific phrases that closely match your offering.

Examples of keywords to avoid:

  • National or global keywords, when you only sell locally
  • Keywords that bring in visitors seeking information rather than buying
  • Broad keywords that have higher traffic but are very competitive
  • Generic keywords attracting visitors who are not interested in your offering

4. Not Controlling Internal Link Juice

You’ve seen this before: that website with hundreds of links on the homepage. Businesses often make the mistake of linking everything from their main navigation. This actually reduces the SEO value – or link juice – that those internal links can pass through the website in the form of PageRank.

Suppose your homepage links to a total of 200 pages, meaning the amount of authority passed from the homepage to each of those pages is divided by 200. By cutting the number of links in half, you’ll double the amount of authority passed from the homepage and increase the chance that your inner pages will rank.

Link juice should be distributed as evenly throughout a website as possible. Tools like the PageRank Juice Calculator can tell you how much link juice a page has to distribute so you can better optimize your site’s navigation.

Content Marketing

5. Not Knowing Your Target Audience

Content marketing success begins with knowing your target audience so you can create attractive and useful content. Besides demographic characteristics, define targeted audiences according to behaviours, interests, purchase intent and life events. With this in mind, you can develop content that actually helps your readers and compels them to choose you over the competition.

6. Producing Content That’s Not Useful

Most companies believe that they need to churn out a constant stream of content on all channels to have engagement. However, it’s best to focus on quality over quantity. Your content should provide answers to user questions or address your users’ needs. Always write for your audience first and search engines second.

7. Not Writing Specifically For the Web

Web copy is very different from print. Most online readers don’t actually read text on the Internet; instead, they scan the text to pick out valuable parts. To get your message across you’ll need to write scannable content for your online audiences.

Here are some tips:

  • Be concise
  • Prioritize key information
  • Use easy-to-read fonts
  • Use large enough text
  • Have ample white space
  • Delete marketing fluff

8. Not Promoting Your Content

Once you have written quality content, be sure to use SEO tactics to increase the odds of readers finding the content. You can help your pages land a top spot in SERPs by using proper keywords, title tags, image tags and headings. Marketing your content on social media is also a good way to gain exposure. As no two social media channels are the same, be sure to adjust your content and tone to each channel accordingly.

Online Advertising

9. Trying Only One Source of Online Advertising

Organic search is a great way to drive website traffic but it can often take months to get the results you are looking for. Online advertising can help you get results more quickly. We recommend starting off with a few platforms to see where your target audience is most likely to be found. For example, Google AdWords offers targeting based on search keywords while Facebook targets demographics and interests. For niche audiences, you can explore other channels such as LinkedIn or Twitter. Ultimately you want to find the online advertising sources that give you the best ROI.

10. Not Matching Your Landing Page to Your Ads

You may have the perfect ad campaign set up, but are your visitors staying on your landing page once they’ve clicked on your ad? People click on ads expecting to be brought to the exact information, product or service you advertised so your landing page should be consistent with your ad.

According to Google AdWords, your landing page is evaluated based on relevancy, transparency, trustworthiness, ease of navigation and how well you encourage visitors to spend time on your site. If your landing page sufficiently meets these requirements, your Quality Score will improve – meaning you can expect your ads to perform better and your cost-per-click to be lower.

11. Taking Remarketing Too Far

Remarketing (or retargeting) involves showing your ads to people who have already visited your website to get them to return again. A remarketing campaign can be very effective, but consumers often find this tactic annoying since they feel like they’re being followed around on the web.

To avoid irritating your potential customers:

  • Set a frequency cap to limit the number of times someone can see your ads
  • Fine-tune your ad placements and targeting method to ensure greater relevancy
  • Vary your ads and rotate your creatives to combat ad fatigue
  • Exclude visitors who have already converted from your remarketing list

12. Not Optimizing Display Ad Placements

With AdWords display campaigns, your ads can appear on a huge network of sites across the Internet whether it be pages, sites, mobile apps or video. Depending on your targeting method, Google will do the decision-making for you and use automatic placements even though they may not fit your brand or be relevant to your business.

To combat this problem, navigate to the placements tab in AdWords and exclude any placements that aren’t appropriate for your campaign like spam websites and mobile apps. Be sure to monitor over a longer period of time and exclude any underperforming placements as well.

 

Email Marketing

13. Neglecting Email Marketing

Email marketing is often neglected for “newer” forms of marketing such as social media. However, this could be a missed opportunity to connect with your audience. Email marketing is known to deliver a high ROI and remains one of the most effective ways to reach consumers online.

  • Always get permission to email people and provide a mechanism for them to unsubscribe
  • Segment your email list to better target your communications
  • Monitor the analytics of your email campaigns including open rate, click-through-rate and unsubscribes

 

14. Not Building an Email List

“The money is in the list” has been a mantra for digital marketers for years. To put it simply – grow your email list, grow your business. Your email list will help you connect with your audience repeatedly and foster them into long-term customers. To grow your email list:

  • Place opt-in forms on your website
  • Encourage subscribers to forward your emails
  • Invite social media followers to opt-in
  • Use pop-ups on your website to prompt visitors to subscribe
  • Offer discounts to customers that opt-in
  • Require email address in exchange to download high-quality content like e-books, guides and white papers
  • Pre-sell upcoming content such as blog articles or a new product

15. Impersonal or Incorrect Personalization

Personalization issues are unfortunately common when it comes to email marketing. Even though most people know that majority of emails sent out by companies are automated, a certain level of trust is lost when you get their name, gender or interests wrong.

Most email marketing software allow you to properly test emails with full personalization before sending. Many platforms also offer insights technology to correctly identify your customers’ interests so you can properly pitch products and offers for their next purchase.

 

Social Media

16. Creating Too Many Accounts Too Quickly

When starting out with social media marketing, businesses often create accounts on multiple platforms at once despite being unable to post regular content to engage followers. More often than not, they can’t keep up and abandon the platforms altogether. Implement a social media strategy with a manageable number of accounts to start and branch out only when you are certain that you can share relevant and engaging content on each platform regularly.

17. Being Anti-social on Social Media

Your audience wants to interact with real humans, not corporate robots, so develop a tone of voice that is personal and reflective of your brand. Engage in two-way communication rather than talk only about yourself. To stay on track, follow the social media “Rule of Thirds” – your social media content should be one-third about your brand, one-third sharing content in your industry or thought leaders, and one-third based on interactions with your audience.

Conversion Optimization

18. Not Having a Single Purpose

As a marketer, you may already know that it’s important to send your ads to a dedicated landing page rather than to your homepage. While the homepage is designed to convey your overall brand and encourage visitors to explore your site, your landing page should serve one purpose only – to get your visitors to convert through a single call-to-action.

Landing pages with a single purpose typically produce better results because they help narrow a visitor’s focus and get more people to follow through with your call-to-action. The more choices people have, the longer it will take them to make a decision – so reducing options will increase your conversions.

19. Ignoring Site Speed

According to Conversion XL, 57% of visitors will abandon a page if it takes longer than 3 seconds to load, so a slow website could result in lost conversions and sales. Besides delivering a better user experience, having a faster website also ranks better. Site speed is one of the signals used by Google’s algorithm to rank pages. You can improve your site speed by optimizing your code, optimizing your images, improving server response time and leveraging browser caching.

Here are a few free tools to evaluate the speed of your website:

20. Failing to A/B Test

Conversion optimization is not about guessing what users want, copying other sites or applying “best practices” and hoping they work. If you don’t A/B test you won’t really know what’s causing your marketing efforts to succeed or fail.

A/B testing or split testing involves comparing a variation of a webpage, app or email to the current version to determine which performs better. The next time you implement a campaign, conduct A/B testing so that you can make informed decisions based on “what you know” instead of “what you think.” Remember to test only one factor at a time and keep the features that result in positive changes.

Wrapping It All Up

21. Trying to Do Everything Yourself

Digital marketing is a time-consuming endeavour that takes place in a rapidly changing environment. If you don’t have the knowledge, skills or resources to do it all by yourself, consider asking someone with deeper expertise to help you define and execute a strategy to get a better ROI. In addition, they can help you stay abreast of the latest digital marketing best practices and tools so that you can gain a competitive edge.
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