10 Things Wrong with Your Digital Marketing Strategy
Very few businesses can survive these days without some sort of digital presence. The average Canadian spends over 40 hours a week online, doing everything from chatting on social media to reading articles that interest them, researching an upcoming purchase or finding a place to go for lunch. Business buyers are online, too. 83% of B2B buyers do research online before making purchase decisions. However, many companies don’t have a digital marketing strategy, and many who do are doing it wrong. If your online strategy isn’t producing results, here are 10 things that might be wrong with your digital marketing plan:
Your website needs work.
It’s dated-looking, badly coded, full of broken links, poorly written copy, and cheesy animations. Or you’ve jumbled it together based on what your competitors were doing, but it doesn’t really have a clear purpose. If you don’t think your website looks nice or works well, how do you think your visitors feel about it?
Your website is the hub of your digital existence, so it needs to represent your company well. Consider what the business goals are for your site and what your visitors might need. If your aim is to generate leads, create a site with content to attract potential customers and provide downloads or other goodies in exchange for their contact information. If you want to educate visitors about your products, include all the necessary info buyers might need as well as helpful resources related to your product and its purpose. Whatever the goal of your site is, build it around that. And above all, make sure your site is well branded, attractive, and easy to use.
Your site isn’t optimized for search engines.
Your site navigation is unintelligible, your copy is aimless and hard to read, half your site content is in Flash animations, and you haven’t taken the time to build backlinks from reputable websites. Worse yet, you’ve employed “black hat” SEO techniques like keyword stuffing and link purchasing, and Google’s Panda and Penguin updates have wiped out your search standings.
To rank well when potential customers search for terms related to your business, your website needs to include clean, easy navigation, tightly-themed copy that reads well and is based on keywords, and well-written code that works properly for visitors and is easy for search engines to read.
You also need to build links the right way, by engaging with the owners of reputable sites and giving them a reason to link back to your web pages, such as helpful content or useful downloads. Avoid using techniques such as Google Autosuggest manipulation to achieve high ranking.
You’re not very social.
You think social media is a waste of time, or you can’t see a definitive ROI so you haven’t bothered with it. The problem is, your customers are on social media, and not just so they can talk to their friends. People use social media to interact with brands, research products, and for customer service. If you’re not out there, chances are your competition is.
Build a social media presence to spread awareness of your company and products and engage with current and potential customers. Share content and promotions, run contests, and build relationships with people who are influential in your industry. You can even use it to do your own research on your competitors, industry news, and the products and services you need to run your business.
You’re not creating content.
All that’s on your website are some write ups about your products and company philosophy. It’s basically just a digital brochure. That means the only people who visit it are far along in the buying cycle. They’ve already decided they’re interested in your products and they’ve already considered your company as an option.
To reach customers who don’t know about your company or who may not even realize they have a need for your products, you need content. Create content that helps potential customers do their job or live their life, helping to build a relationship with your brand before they have any interest in what you have to sell. You can also create content that maintains your existing customer relationships by helping them use your product and giving them useful advice. Good content builds brand awareness, attracts leads, and draws in potential customers so that they turn to you when it’s time to buy. It also helps build your SEO.
It’s all about you.
You have a shiny new website that tells prospects all about your products and services. You’re talking about your products on social media, reaching out to bloggers to get them to talk about your products and link back to your website, and you’re writing blog posts all about what your products can do and why people should buy them. But you aren’t seeing results. Know why? Because it’s all about you.
You need to create value for your customers. Think about what they want and give it to them, without shilling for your products every time. Answer questions, provide helpful content, and engage in conversations. Then you can throw in the odd promotion once in awhile. The focus of digital marketing should be what you can do for your customer, not the other way around.
Your brand isn’t consistent.
Your website is cool in shades of blue and gray, but your social media profiles are pink and your social media manager writes cute, chirpy status updates. Meanwhile, your copywriter produces highly technical blog posts that require a master’s degree to read. Your customers think your brand has multiple personality disorder, if they even realize these things all come from the same company.
It’s important that your brand is cohesive and well represented across all platforms in order to present yourself as a professional organization and to establish a relationship with customers. Your graphics, colours, fonts, content, and voice all need to match your brand, and elements should be consistent across all media. This includes your offline communications, as well. If a potential customer is going to see it, it needs to be on-brand.
Your channels aren’t integrated.
You’re running a promotion on Facebook, but it isn’t mentioned anywhere else. Or maybe you’re running a huge sale in-store, but you haven’t said anything about it on your website. Or you’ve sent out coupons by email, and your in-store staff know nothing about it.
The goal of running a promotion is to promote your products and services, so why not utilize every channel? Worse yet, you could end up with an angry customer who finds out they could have saved money if they’d bought online instead of through your sales rep. It’s important to cross promote and integrate your messaging across your website, blog, social media, advertising, and offline channels. This also helps with consistency and branding.
You aren’t using analytics.
Perhaps your website is attractive and functional, well optimized, and full of useful content. You’re all over social media, engaging with potential customers and others in your industry, and all your channels are consistent and well branded. Your digital strategy is going great! You think. You don’t actually know, because you aren’t tracking any of it.
It’s critical that you have Google Analytics or another analytics program installed on your website and tied in to any of your other digital collateral. You should also use a social media management program like Hootsuite or Sprout Social to monitor the success of your social media posts. Only by tracking the results of your digital marketing efforts can you find out what’s working and what’s not, and make adjustments accordingly.
You’re not testing anything.
None of the above is wrong with your digital marketing strategy. Your website, social media, and other digital properties are all well designed, optimized, and reasonably effective. But your analytics do reveal a few things that aren’t working as well as they should. Visitors often drop out of the sales process on the shipping and handling page for some reason, and your email open rates aren’t what they could be. You have some ideas for how to fix these issues, but you aren’t sure what the best option is.
The way to find the best solution to these and other issues is to test different versions on small segments of your audience and see which one delivers the best results. You can run tests on your website, emails, digital ads, and even offline collateral like flyers, and build on these insights to maximize the effectiveness of your marketing efforts.
You don’t follow up.
Your digital strategy is going great! Leads are flooding into your database, customers are commenting in your user forum, and you’re seeing lots of responses to your emails and social media posts. And then… nothing. You aren’t following up with all your leads, answering users’ questions, or responding to your comments. What’s the point of starting all these digital conversations if you aren’t going to act on them?
Make sure that your digital marketing is well integrated with your sales, operations, customer service, human resources, and other departments so that interactions with customers, prospects, and potential recruits are acted on and used to meet your business goals. After all, that’s the point of your digital marketing strategy, isn’t it?
Your business needs a digital marketing strategy. If you don’t have one, or if you’re doing it wrong, you need to start thinking about what your online plan should be and how you’re going to execute it.
Need help? Attend our free live webinar in two weeks, on Wednesday May 8th. We’ll introduce you to the P.A.C.E. digital marketing model that we use to create measurable results for our clients. Or, you can always contact us or leave your questions in the comments.