The Top Ten Digital Marketing Mistakes – and how to avoid them!

How to achieve success for your digital marketing agency…

In the ever-changing world of digital marketing, we are all trying to be innovative and unique. We all want to be that one marketer or digital marketing agency that stands out from the crowd and finds massive success with something edgy and new. We are encouraged to think outside the box and forge new paths, so are constantly looking at ways of doing this.

What could possibly go wrong?

Well let’s take a look at some of the pitfalls to avoid in digital marketing:

1. Incorrect setting up of PPC ads
When setting up PPC campaigns in Google Ads, you need to be very careful about what you are doing. For example, if the keywords you are using are not still relevant to the campaign then you are wasting money: you will appear in searches that have no relevance to what you are wanting to advertise. Similarly if you are not targeting the right audience or platform for your product or service then you will be paying for clicks that don’t convert.

Also do make sure that the ads you are paying for are landing on the pages that you want them to. It has been known for ads to go to the wrong page on your website – or even a competitor’s website!

2. Not harnessing the power of SEO
It is essential that you do everything you can in order to improve your website rankings in organic search. Make make sure you are doing all you can for search engine optimisation; for example including keywords in page titles, page descriptions, image titles and content, adding schema.org to a page, and adding alternative text to images.

You also need to keep in touch with changes to Google algorithms, as these can affect the effectiveness of your SEO.

3. Your website is not indexable
Many people have the misconception that when they search for something on Google, Google searches the web and returns the best results. But this is not the case. Google has an index of web pages that it uses to return search results. So if your website is not in Google’s index it won’t be included in a Google search.

Google builds its index by crawling links on the web, recording information about the resulting pages it lands on and storing them. You can check if your website is “indexable” – ie in Google’s index – by doing a quick Google search for “site:mysite.com”, entering your website instead of “mysite.com.” This will give you an overview of how many pages Google has indexed on your domain.

You can also check to see the most recent version of a page indexed by Google by typing in the page URL with “cache:” in front of it.

Two of the reasons a page may not be indexable are:

  • Page has been disallowed by robots.txt. After arriving at a website, the search crawler will look for a robots.txt file. This file contains information about how the search engine should crawl. The search engine will read that file first before continuing through the page. To allow all web crawlers access to all content on a page, the robot.txt file must include:
    User-agent: *
    Disallow:
    If a “/” appears in the Disallow field then NO web crawlers will be permitted to access the page.
  • Confused canonical tags. A canonical tag is used to point search engines at the version of a page you want to be considered as the original (“canonical”) version. But this can run into problems such as when a canonical URL doesn’t match the URL in your sitemap.

4. Your page links are broken
Be aware that if a page doesn’t load, it doesn’t get indexed. Given that Google finds new pages by following links, it follows that a broken link could mean Google failing to crawl the destination page. It is also important that pages appear in your site map.

So make sure that you check your sitemap to check that all pages are included, that all links are working correctly, and that there are no duplicate pages.

5. Forgetting that content is king and has lasting power
Never forget that content is the secret weapon to ensure that you are ranking well in search engines. It is vital to constantly generate content that is fresh and relevant, and that will engage your target audience.

Avoid duplicate content, but also avoid deleting valuable content that is still generating organic rankings and traffic. If you delete the content altogether, to replace it with something newer, you will lose those rankings and traffic. The best thing to do is to edit existing content, rather than deleting it altogether.

6. Mishandling email marketing
Email marketing can be an incredibly powerful marketing tool, but if handled badly it can go very wrong. One of the main mistakes here is to overlook the need to have your customers’ willingness – or even consent – to send them a specific message. Even in these post-GDPR days the latter is a common mistake to make. But any email that is not actively wanted will result in very little return on investment.

Much better to have a well-managed email strategy that sends a well-designed, tested message to a targeted audience. Make sure it has an enticing subject and a recognisable sender, and that any feedback from previous email campaigns is acted upon promptly and effectively.

7. Not having a social media team or policy
When resources are scarce it can be tempting to skip having a company social media policy or team. But a good social media policy is essential to set out expectations of what employees can and cannot say about the company on different social media platforms, both in their work and personal lives.

In terms of work lives, setting up a social media team that “gets it” is important so that the full potential of social media can be harnessed to good effect. But personal lives matter too. Whilst a company cannot completely dictate what an employee does in their own time, they do need to remind their employees that social media is not private, and their digital footprint could potentially affect the company’s image and reputation in negative ways.

8. Selecting the wrong social media platforms
When selecting social media platforms for a marketing campaign, one of the key considerations is the number of users. The top 6 platforms currently stand roughly as follows:

  • Facebook – 2.23 billion monthly active users
  • YouTube – 1.9 billion monthly active users
  • WhatsApp – 1.5 billion monthly active users
  • Messenger – 1.3 billion monthly active users
  • WeChat – 1.06 billion monthly active users
  • Instagram – 1 billion monthly active users

However, it is also important to select the platform that reflects your brand. This is where many companies go wrong. So you need to be aware that the demographic preferences for social media platforms are constantly shifting, and ensure that you take time to research the best platform for the current campaign and desired target audience.

9. Mishandling negative social media feedback
But life in the world of social media is not all a bed of roses. One of the main mistakes brands make when using social media is to mishandle negative feedback. Whenever a negative comment is made, they become defensive and come up with excuses for the situation.

How much better – instead of apologising and making excuses – to start a conversation with the person who left the feedback. If the brand can gain a more in-depth understanding of the feedback, they will not only be showing the customer that they are taking it seriously but can genuinely learn lessons about how to improve.

If the situation escalates, then the brand can use their social media team to handle decision-making and manage all social media channels consistently during the crisis. This will help to keep things objective and calm.

10. Not making full use of analytics
Last – but by no means least – is a BIG mistake that can compound any of the above mistakes. And that mistake is not making use of analytics.

Web analytics help you to understand exactly what is happening between a user visiting the site and then either converting or not converting. They also allow you to determine where these visitors are coming from, for example Google searches, clicking links from other sites – including PPC ads, direct visits, or social media.

Social media analytics enable you to compare the level of interaction for each post so that you can begin to see patterns in terms of the features that work best, and focus more on those types of posts in future.

CRM software enables you to store data not just about your customers but about how they became your customers. This data can in turn be analysed to learn more about which customers your marketing is and is not working on. It can help you determine where resources are currently being wasted and how campaigns can be improved. This data-driven customer profiling will enable you to make more intelligent marketing decisions and reevaluate your content and marketing strategies accordingly.

So where do you stand in relation to the above mistakes? Most marketers have made most of them at some stage of their careers. But if we are reminded to be aware of some of the pitfalls that can we can so unwittingly fall into, then hopefully it might just help us to avoid them a little more in future.