8 Common Digital Marketing Mistakes to Avoid

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Digital marketing trends are constantly changing, making it challenging to keep up. In fact, a recent survey by the Content Marketing Institute found that search algorithm updates and other changes to SEO were a concern for 64% of B2C marketers.

But to create a successful strategy, marketing professionals need to face these concerns head-on. Recognizing some of the most common digital marketing mistakes can help brands plan for and avoid them. Let’s take a closer look at some of those prevalent pitfalls that you should proactively prevent when marketing your business.

What Are the Most Common Digital Marketing Mistakes?

Although many of us would like to claim we’ve created a foolproof strategy, the reality is that everyone makes marketing mistakes. Whether it’s failing to keep up with the latest digital trends or forgetting to make use of all available data to make informed decisions during the strategy phase, we’ve all made missteps every now and again.

When you’re able to identify potential mistakes before they happen, you can save your business both time and money. Below, we’ll explore some of the most common mistakes that brands can avoid for more effective marketing results.

1. Rushing the Process

We wish there was such a thing as an overnight solution – but we can’t merely wave a magic marketing wand. Simply put, good results take time. 

When you anticipate overnight success, you’ll understandably feel frustrated when it doesn’t come to fruition. After all, the internet makes it easier and faster to connect with customers than ever before! If you’ve done everything correctly, shouldn’t they start flocking to your website right away?

Unfortunately, the answer is no. Effective digital marketing campaigns take time to plan and execute. Results aren’t likely to occur overnight, even with paid ad campaigns. Consistency is essential for long-term outcomes. And rushing through the process won’t yield the kind of results you’re looking for.

Think of it this way: Slow and steady wins the race. A thriving business can’t be a flash in the pan. Instead, you’ve got to stick with your strategy and exercise a bit of patience. 

According to SEMRush, the typical SEO strategy can take 6 to 12 months to start showing results. While other marketing methods might not take quite as long to execute, it’s crucial to set realistic expectations when marketing your brand. When everyone’s on the same page, you can spend your time on building a strong foundation, rather than putting out fires.

2. Not Using Available Data

Educated guesses are all well and good, but you need to make sure your marketing decisions are data-driven. Otherwise, you won’t be able to identify what’s working, what’s not, what to focus on, and why.

For instance, you may know that content marketing drives 3 times more leads than traditional marketing. Unsurprisingly, nearly 93% of marketers use content marketing as a result. But before you earmark almost your entire marketing budget for content marketing, you need to delve into the details of your brand website and customer behaviors. 

If you’re blissfully unaware that your website has a colossal bounce rate due to a poor user experience, the money that you’re pouring into content marketing won’t produce the results you seek. Likewise, if you don’t know which products or services can best solve your customers’ problems, you won’t be able to make informed decisions about the kinds of content to produce or the pages to promote.

Fortunately, you may already be sitting on a huge pile of valuable information that you can use to drive your marketing efforts. And with growing access to an endless supply of data analytical tools and platforms, every marketing strategy should include data assessment as part of the decision-making process. Whether a brand’s focus is on PPC, SEO, or any other digital marketing trends, data gathering and analysis play a crucial role in any marketing strategy. It’s often as easy as pulling the latest data from the tools you use and putting that information into context. 

Keep in mind that data analysis is an ongoing process! Marketing your brand is never one-and-done; you’ll need to consistently monitor this data and use it to adjust your strategy over time for best results. 

3. Failing to Identify a Target Audience

There’s a popular adage that tells authors to write what they know. In the marketing world, you’ve got to sell what you know – and know who you’re selling to.

That means you need to know your target audience like the back of your hand. Without innate knowledge of who you’re marketing to, your content and ads won’t ring true. You need to understand detailed demographic details, where and how customers spend their time, what their problems and goals are, and how to reach them most effectively. 

Developing buyer personas can be a great way to enhance this understanding. This process is almost like creating a character using all the information you know about your typical or target customer. You can use market research and first-hand knowledge to fill in the details about the different leads that you want to convert.

Note that your work isn’t done after fleshing out your buyer personas. You’ll need to test your theories and ensure you aren’t missing out on any customer subsects. Ignoring target audiences or casting too wide a net can cause brands to miss out on traffic – effectively ensuring you spend more on marketing while achieving less effective results.

When creating blog content, developing ad campaigns, or sending out email blasts, keep your target audience in mind. That buyer persona may differ from one marketing campaign to the next, but it should drive your language, your goals, and even the marketing channels you use. 

Remember: Your products and services may theoretically be helpful to anyone, but your marketing efforts should speak to specific audiences. Otherwise, your brand won’t resonate with consumers.

4. Not Setting Clear Goals

Brands might be inclined to assume that their marketing goal is obvious. Who doesn’t want to make more sales?

Of course, you’d want your business to be profitable. But your measure of success will differ depending on the specific campaign. For example, you might have to first build brand awareness with an audience that’s not yet familiar with your business before you can expect to convert leads into customers. You’d use completely different metrics to assess the success of that campaign (like social listening measures or publicity, for instance) that might have nothing to do with direct sales.

Even with a PPC ad, your short-term goal might not always be immediate conversions. You’ll likely use a combination of other key performance indicators (KPIs) to determine the effectiveness of an ad and use those metrics to iterate on future versions. 

Understanding which metrics to choose for a given campaign can be challenging; if you’re focused on the wrong ones, you might make subsequent decisions based on bad data. Choosing to fixate on overall impressions instead of clicks, cost per click, or ad conversions can skew your sense of the ad’s effectiveness. Meanwhile, misunderstanding that a “conversion” may simply mean a visitor makes it to your website, rather than going through with a purchase, can have an adverse effect on how you spend your marketing dollars and your perceived effectiveness of a given marketing tactic. 

Before you launch any type of PPC or SEO campaign, you’ll need to flesh out exactly what you’re trying to achieve. Setting clear goals can help brands optimize their budgets and get the most effective results. Key performance indicators (KPIs) and specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and timely (SMART) goals can help businesses avoid this mistake. These can allow brands to reach and adjust their aims as needed to meet the overall needs of the business. 

Clear goals should also include measuring return on investment (ROI) and understanding how ROI changes based on timeframe. Seeing an immediate ROI isn’t often realistic, but it’s crucial to note that returns from online advertisements will often materialize more quickly than the ROI of SEO. 

As you set marketing goals, you’ll need to zero in on the specific measurements of a given digital marketing strategy, including traffic, leads, click-through rates, or conversions. This will likely require additional research to ensure goals are achievable and valuable.

5. Dismissing Mobile Users

Thus far in 2023, 56.86% of all global web traffic came from mobile devices. That means that well over half of users worldwide are using their smartphones and tablets to perform internet searches. That’s huge news for brands – especially those that have ignored the need for a mobile-friendly user experience.

An even more glaring statistic is that 55.4% of internet users utilized their mobile phones to buy products and services online in 2021. Since then, that number has only grown. Failing to address the needs of the majority can have big consequences for a brand’s website.

Not only does your website need to be responsive and accessible via mobile, but it actually needs to cater to these users. Since Google embraced mobile-first indexing, the way in which a user is able to access and interact with a website via mobile devices really matters. For one thing, a site with a poor mobile experience will drive away consumers. For another, Google isn’t likely to rank your website among the highest in search results if you’re discounting the importance of mobile.

In short: Dismissing mobile users can cause you to lose out on valuable website traffic. Digital marketing strategies should include responsive design and content that’s optimized for mobile. That may mean employing a voice search SEO strategy, creating location-oriented web pages, answering FAQs, or developing content that’s more likely to show up in mobile search results versus desktop. 

Brands may also want to consider mobile users in the methods they use to communicate and connect. Mobile devices provide an on-demand, direct line to your target audience. Most customers have their mobile phones on them, making it easier and quicker to send coupons, SMS (text message) deals, or email newsletters to customers. 

What’s more, mobile communications often yield much higher open rates – which means more eyes on your brand and more potential for conversions. A recent Forbes article reported that over 90% of people open a new text message within 30 minutes of its receipt, while 70% of people open a new text within just 5 minutes. Being able to leverage that sense of urgency with your brand’s marketing can make all the difference between you and your competitors.

6. Not Engaging With Customers

On the subject of direct lines of communication, it’s worth mentioning that brands have the opportunity to connect with their customers like never before. Not only can you more easily reach customers on their personal devices on-demand, but you can also get to know them on a more personal level via social media. 

The reverse is also true; social media provides a direct way for customers to ask questions, give feedback, or connect more intimately with a brand. While most brands now understand the importance of social media, that doesn’t mean that every business has mastered the art of social media marketing. 

It’s not enough to post a photo, use a few hashtags, and expect the likes and comments to pour in. You need to put the same effort into developing your social media content strategy, research what’s trending and what channels to focus on, determine when and what to post, and connect with potential customers on each platform. Brands also need to reply to comments and direct messages in a thoughtful way, listen to and implement customer feedback, and keep a consistent posting schedule. 

Ignoring social media altogether or failing to post to social media with intention are common mistakes you’ll want to avoid. Consumers are less likely to trust a brand that posts sporadically (or not at all) on social, while low-value posts and subpar responsiveness will lead to low engagement or even customer service issues. 

Brands have a unique opportunity on social media platforms to encourage emotional buy-in from customers – so don’t squander your chance to make and strengthen those connections.

7. Ignoring Your Competition

You won’t get ahead by pretending your competition doesn’t exist. You’ve got to know as much as you can about what they’re up to – and then beat them at their own game.That doesn’t mean going head-to-head in the paid ad space or reproducing a better version of their existing blog content. Instead, you’ve got to know what they’re already doing well and strategize ways to either unseat them or fill a gap that they’re ignoring.

Fortunately, you don’t need to send a spy into their headquarters to report back on their plans. Rather, you can perform a competitor analysis. 

Competitive analysis is an often-underused tool in digital marketing. Continually reviewing competitors’ content, keywords, and overall digital marketing strategy can provide brands with valuable information. When you’re able to compare your competitor’s strategy against your own, you’ll have an easier time pinpointing specific areas of improvement.

While you won’t want to steal a strategy directly from a competitor, performing this type of analysis can illuminate blind spots and act as a catalyst for your own ingenious ideas. Knowing what your competitors are doing can actually help you distinguish yourself more readily in the marketplace – and that will help your brand stand out to consumers.

8. Not Using Discount Offers

While you may not like the thought of giving something away for free or undercutting the value of your products and services, the reality is that a little perk can go a long way.

It’s incredibly common to see initial customer discounts or insider sales – and for good reason. Introductory offers that involve coupons or discounts for first-time customers are a great way to boost overall trust and positive brand perception. Customer loyalty programs help reward repeat customers, encouraging them to make repeat purchases over time. Sales and discounts combined with PPC ads can also be a great way to increase traffic and conversions to a website.

While your brand shouldn’t run sales on a constant basis, making use of these kinds of offers can be enough to incentivize leads to finally follow through with a purchase. Even if the offer is a 10% or 15% discount, the psychology that comes into play can be powerful. What’s more, using different channels to market these offers – like email, social media, and text messages – can allow you to personalize deals and reach a wider audience. 

Prevent These Common Marketing Pitfalls

It can be overwhelming to keep up with an ever-changing landscape and all the new digital tools that emerge almost daily. Revisiting a digital marketing strategy from time to time can help brands stay on the right track to achieve their business growth and development goals.

Identifying the most common mistakes is the first step to avoiding them. Understanding a brand’s target audience and engaging with them – paired with relying on the right data to make critical strategic decisions – can make for better marketing decisions. 

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