Digital marketing may be simple, but it certainly isn’t easy. There are plenty of pitfalls that you need to avoid — from poor-performing media buys to ineffective PR to unnecessary tech investments. Not only are these mistakes costly, but they can also be potentially devastating for your budding business. When you’re just starting out, there’s rarely enough capital to weather one bad decision after another.
In that vein, here are five “don’ts” of digital marketing that you need to live by:
1. Don’t Chase the Trends
The digital marketing world is full of jargon, elaborate strategies, and “growth hacks.” It’s easy to be seduced, but it’s better to keep your foundation simple and solid. Don’t fantasize about the latest trends. Focus on the basics. Wax on; wax off.
Email capture is crucial, as are automated email welcomes. Every person who signs up for your mailing list or registers for an account on your website is one more person who’s listening to your story. Introduce a lightbox to help you capture those emails — perhaps with some kind of coupon or incentive.
Once you’ve got their attention, make them feel wanted. Less than 60 percent of companies send out welcome emails, yet these emails have far higher engagement rates than standard marketing emails. Don’t waste your time chasing esoteric trends. It’s far better spent perfecting simplicity.
2. Don’t Let Your Expectations Run Wild
Success seldom arrives overnight. You can’t shut down your laptop on a Friday, take the weekend off, and find yourself sitting on a cash cow Monday morning. I’ve seen dozens of self-described entrepreneurs panic after a bad week of results on a media buy or a glitch in an email capture mechanism that resulted in some users eluding them.
Don’t panic. Be patient. If you find yourself saying, “That platform doesn’t work for us,” then you’ve copped out. Stay the course, and learn along the way.
3. Don’t Neglect the Data
In nearly every company I audit, the biggest mistake relates to data. It’s either not being used properly or lacking entirely. Remember: Google Analytics is your friend.
This is an insanely powerful tool that has so much to offer your business. It tells you who visits your site, how they get there, what they’re doing, and whether they’ve done what you want them to do. This is why so many top websites use its services. Use it correctly, and you’ll be able to pull all kinds of metrics, from your click-through rate to your cost per click to your e-commerce conversion rate.
It’s important, however, that you don’t get too caught up in clicks. Clicks are great, but they rarely correlate with revenue. The more qualitative data you can pull, the better. For instance, Dollar Shave Club sends out email surveys to customers and sends them free samples based on their answers.
Capturing this data also allows you to retarget. Ever wondered why the books you were browsing on Amazon suddenly start appearing in ads on other sites? This isretargeting. Only 2 percent of shoppers buy on their first visit to an online store; retargeting helps corral the rest.
Data helps you build a captive audience. You can’t afford to ignore it.
4. Don’t Fail to Optimize Media Buying
I’ve looked over countless effective paid search or display campaigns on Facebook or Google and seen ads that have performed really strongly but haven’t been touched in weeks.
It’s important to analyze your audiences. Who are the people clicking through, and who are the people going on to make a purchase? Why are you wasting time chasing other demographics when you could be targeting them? Iterative improvement is key to building a long-lasting, successful campaign.
5. Don’t Forget to Audit
We can all benefit from other people’s perspectives because we all have our blind spots. Having your marketing strategy regularly audited — either by another person in the organization or an outside entity — can be hugely beneficial. It’s not always enough to simply read blogs and follow the advice; sometimes, you need a fresh pair of eyes.
So don’t get impatient, don’t be seduced by the latest trends, and, above all, don’t rest on your laurels. Capture the data, and leverage it effectively. In doing so, you’ll get the most out of your digital marketing strategy.