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Avoid These Five Common Digital Marketing Mistakes

07/23/2015 08:51 EDT | Updated 07/23/2016 05:59 EDT
Shutterstock / Dmitry Berkut

Many businesses employ digital marketing strategies to attract new online visitors, leads and customers. Depending on the objectives and budget of the business, your company can leverage a large number of strategies such as pay-per-click (PPC), search engine optimization (SEO), social media, content or email marketing solutions. However, making mistakes can be very costly, as it can deplete your marketing budget before achieving any results that contribute to the bottom line.

There may be numerous reasons to explain why you may not be seeing an increase in leads, sales, or other targets on advertising spend. As an example, your ads are sending traffic to your site's homepage instead of to a landing page, designed specifically to convert visitors into leads or sales.

The good news is that your business can start seeing results by identifying and correcting these five common digital marketing mistakes:

1. Not having clearly defined goals

Answer the key question - what do you want it to achieve? Specify whether your goals are to increase leads, sales, website traffic, engagement, or some other objective. Then create a plan to reach this goal that is specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and timely (SMART), as this will help provide direction to your campaigns. Take the time to understand your business' current growth, so you can set achievable goals and not set yourself up for failure. And sometimes, it takes experimenting before you find the right traction. For example, determining whether it's best to measure goals every week or every quarter, or deciding which strategy has the biggest impact on the bottom line.

2. Not creating relevant content

Social media expert and entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk states, "Great marketing is all about telling your story in such a way that it compels people to buy what you are selling." Compelling content is about contextual storytelling. Potential customers want to read information that is relevant to their needs or problems. Provide solutions, include timely news and/or offer unique and original ideas. While there are no hard rules or formulas for curating content other than being interesting, make sure it relates to your business and is valuable enough to get noticed in a sea of information.

3. Not diversifying your marketing efforts

Google AdWords and Facebook Advertising are some of the most common digital marketing platforms used today. Sometimes using only a few platforms works for a business; however, it is also very risky to place all your marketing eggs in one basket. Each channel has different strengths, targeting features and audience types that will offer your business different opportunities and ways to reach customers. Pick channels that will work well together to increase your online presence, drive conversions and grow your business.

4. Not performing tests

Conducting experiments and tests are a great way to enable businesses to see how they can best impact their bottom lines. Will potential clients prefer ad A or ad B to drive leads? Do more prospects convert when offered free delivery or when offered free gift-wrapping? Businesses that best understand these 'client preferences' can mold better solutions than their competitors, which will maximize their sales, and profitability. Experiments and tests permit businesses to gain these types of insights.

A/B and multivariate testing are two such techniques for running experiments. A/B tests permit a business to compare and test only two versions (e.g. ad A vs ad B) at a time, where multivariate testing involves testing more than two options at the same time (e.g. ad A vs ad B vs ad C vs ad D...). The tradeoff in using multivariate testing is that it takes much longer to get definitive findings than when using A/B testing.

5. Not using landing pages

A landing page is specifically designed to get a site visitor to convert (into a download, lead or sale, generally). It does so by removing all non-essential information from the page, which may distract someone from converting, and painting a very clear path to direct page visitors to take the desired actions. Unfortunately, many businesses using paid search, email, and most other tools, direct traffic to their home pages, and not to product/service specific landing pages.

Take a moment to check your campaigns, and ensure that traffic from your paid marketing efforts is landing on a page that is simple to use, contains product/service content, and has a clear call to action.

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