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Fatal flaws: 6 common digital marketing mistakes that kill your growth

Posted by Tom Wall
Speed Reading Mode

Digital marketers throw away nearly 20 per cent of their budget on big, ego-serving projects and other common digital marketing mistakes, without considering the real ROI. Does an expensive Google AdWords campaign or piece of self-serving content actually attract the customers and prospects you’re engaging with? No, of course not. To achieve effective engagement, you need to understand who your audience is and what attracts them to your service or offering.

In this article, we’ll look at six common digital marketing mistakes and discuss what you can do to eliminate them for good.

Mistake #1: pushing, not pulling

Common digital marketing mistakes: stop pushing product and start pulling customers

Good marketing is not about plugging your product. You need to offer your audience something of value in return for their business. Why should they buy your latest innovation when you haven’t addressed their wants or concerns?

Outbound marketing is – well – outbound, and it’s becoming irrelevant in an age where anyone with an internet connection can research your company. Businesses need to stop pushing product and start pulling customers, as shown in this HubSpot infographic.

Solution: Embrace inbound content marketing and offer as much value and insight as you possibly can. Ninety-three per cent of companies using inbound marketing increase lead generation, so find out what questions your audience have about your product or service and answer them.  Become the go-to source for your niche and share every ounce of available knowledge with your audience.

Simon Sinek says it best: ‘People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.’

Mistake #2: basing buyer personas on your own aspirations

Creating buyer personas is a big part of the inbound methodology, but many marketers get it wrong. Your audience is not the face in the mirror – they’re the real life people purchasing and using your product. The trick is creating buyer personas based on the customers you already have, incorporating their needs and wants as the foundation for future projects.

Solution: Take the time to find out exactly how your audience are spending their money and what they’re devoting research to. If you’re yet to establish a customer base, look at competitors in your industry or ask new customers to complete a survey. Personas define what content you write and who you reach out to at which times, so it’s important to get them right.

Mistake #3: spending little time on personalisation

Email inboxes overflowing with unopened sales pitches. Press releases clogging up social media feeds. Noticing a common theme here? Both these methods ignore the needs of the customer, which is why, in turn, they go unacknowledged.. Without personalisation, you are just another salesman hiding behind a corporate mask.

Solution: Genuine personalisation shouldn’t eat up all your available time or frit away your remaining monthly budget. Even the smallest touches, like a personalised salutation at the beginning of an email, can make a difference. If you want to go the extra mile  you can  show your audience you care without writing each of them a hand-made thank you card (though there are companies that will do this for you).

Marketing automation is no longer the work of science-fiction – you can personalise an email or recommend a product in one easy workflow. Customers appreciate familiarity and the more you can do to replicate that atmosphere online, the easier it will be to keep them engaged.

Mistake #4: writing content that doesn’t convert

Common digital marketing mistakes: Bad writing lacks focus and doesn't convert

Lead conversion is the lifeblood of marketing. If your content doesn’t inspire a reader to click on a CTA or buy a product, it has to go down as a failure. Again, attractive, well-written content - even down to project names - is only useful if it serves a purpose. If you’re content isn’t converting, it could be because:

  • You’re focusing on product features, not benefits
  • You haven’t considered consumer objections
  • You’re rushing the sell
  • You’re not linking to a relevant offer

Not only should content be customer-centric, it should also connect with the right customer at the right time.

Solution: Keep your buyer personas in mind as you write. It helps to remember who your offer is for and what value they will get out of your content.

For example, if you’re writing for CIOs with a casual interest in cloud computing, don’t bombard them with offers for a complete system overhaul. Instead, broach the subject with an introductory blog and point them towards a white paper that explains the process in a little more detail. Neil Patel has some incredible insights on creating high-converting long-form content, which will help you add the right value to your words.  Great content is like a great cup of coffee – once you reach the end, you’re warm, satisfied and eager for more.


Mistake #5: failing to track marketing ROI

Marketing ROI (MROI) means different things to different people. Some base marketing success on short-term sales targets, others look at annual budgetary expenditure. Unfortunately, both sides get it wrong more times than not. However you quantify success, you MUST track and analyse every component of your marketing campaign from start to finish. Marketing should be a revenue-generating exercise, not a cost centre.

Solution: Using tracking tools such as HubSpot and Google Analytics takes the guesswork out of ROI. In this way, you can keep a time log of lead generations, keyword searches, form conversions and more. You’ll see exactly where you need to improve and can set yourself SMART goals based on the results. From there, you can work out the monetary cost of exercises such as content creation, digital PR and email marketing.

Remember: you can’t fix something you don’t know is broken. Here’s 15 metrics you can track today, courtesy of HubSpot.

Mistake #6: forgetting to promote content

Common digital marketing mistakes: shout about great content

One surefire way to lose money in marketing is poor content promotion. 50 per cent of content gets eight shares or less, according to Buzzsumo, and for three clear reasons:

  1. Poor research and understanding
  2. Lack of amplification and promotion
  3. Lack of trend awareness

Working together, these issues bury lovingly-crafted articles in the internet’s endless content mill. You should never assume that people will stumble across your blog or guest post by chance. As a marketer, it’s your job to jump up and down and wave it where the world can see.

Solution: Be an active social media evangelist. Share content across all your networks at the times your audience is most likely to read it. And don’t stop after a week either. At Articulate, we use CoSchedule to automate all our content promotion, with campaigns stretching over two months.

Stay aware of upcoming events and current trends, scheduling your content for days that will deliver the most impact.  And if you’re not sure where (or how) to start, try our 30-day social media challenge.

Resuscitate your marketing campaign

Digital marketers live and die by the sword. Poor investments can land you in serious trouble, especially if you keep repeating common digital marketing mistakes. Take the time to plan out a comprehensive marketing strategy, execute it with your audience firmly in mind and measure its success from every possible angle.

As Jay Baer once said ‘make your marketing so useful people would pay you for it.’

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