NAVIGATING DANGEROUS DIGITAL WATERS IN 2024
In the vast ocean of digital marketing, navigating toward success can be tricky. The digital seas teem with dangers hidden under the shiny surface.
Here are the 10 most common digital marketing mistakes and how you can avoid them.
1. MISALIGNED ONLINE AND OFFLINE BRAND IDENTITY
A disjointed brand message is like a pirate ship flying the wrong flag. After your potential customers have heard about you offline, they arrive on your website and don’t know if they’ve found the right website, and aren’t sure who they are really dealing with. You have lost their trust.
Or in the other direction, consider a retail brand promoting sustainability on their website, but their physical stores lack corresponding messaging or real action. After visiting their store, would you believe they are actually committed to sustainability?
Brand inconsistency creates customer disappointment and erodes trust. Aligning your online and offline messages is crucial for a unified brand identity. Your customers should know who you are and what you stand for in person, on your social media, and on your website.
QUICK TIP: Make sure that the messaging and language that you use on your website are in alignment with who you are as a company, and how you are presenting your business in other offline marketing.
2. POOR WEBSITE USER EXPERIENCE
Poor website design and user experience can sink a digital marketing strategy like a ship hitting an iceberg. If your website is difficult to navigate, looks outdated, or is confusing, you will quickly drive away your potential customers.
- An e-commerce site with a complicated checkout process will see a high cart abandonment rate, leading to lost sales.
- If it’s difficult for your customers to contact a real human, you lose credibility. If you don’t make it easy to get in touch, you send the message you don’t really want to hear from your customers. Make sure your contact information is easy to find.
- Other examples of elements that will frustrate users include:
- Text over images that makes the text hard to read.
- Text color that is too close to the background to easily read.
- Text that is too small to easily read.
- Lines of text that are too long.
- Links that are the same color as your main font and aren’t clearly distinguished.
- Too many calls to action on one screen.
QUICK TIP: Browsing your site should be smooth sailing for your customer. Focus on making sure your website loads fast, looks good, is easy to navigate, and works well on all types of devices.
3. NEGLECTING MOBILE USERS AND OPTIMIZATION
In today’s world, ignoring mobile users is akin to setting sail without checking the weather. For most websites today, well over half of their traffic is coming in via mobile browsers, and if you make their journey painful, they will be gone before you get a chance.
If a restaurant’s website is hard to use on mobile devices, they won’t see many online reservations. Customers will have trouble navigating the site and booking, so they’ll get frustrated and may end up dining somewhere else.
Similarly, service companies like plumbers get the majority of their phone calls from mobile website visitors. If it’s hard to find a phone number, they’ll call someone else.
If you are ignoring mobile visitors, you are REALLY missing the boat. Mobile optimization is not just a “nice-to-have”, it’s essential.
4. POOR LOAD TIMES AND TECHNICAL ISSUES
Slow website load times and technical glitches are the hidden reefs in your potential customers’ journey. Website users have no patience for broken or slow websites. They expect your website to be speedy, responsive, and they want to find what they are looking for without any friction.
If your website is frequently down or loads slowly, you are losing customers to your competitors. Optimal website performance is crucial for a smooth customer experience and for keeping your potential customers aboard.
QUICK TIP: Use Google Search Console to see what problems Google sees with your site. If Google is detecting usability issues, it’s affecting your search engine rankings as well as your customer experience.
5. NOT POSTING CONTENT REGULARLY
Content creation isn’t a sprint, it’s a marathon. You don’t win by spitting out a ton of content all at once. You win by creating quality content consistently over time.
Content is a cumulative game. You are building a body of knowledge that increases in value over time. Each piece you write grows your reputation and the size of your audience. It’s critical that you keep each of your posts relevant to the questions people are asking today.
QUICK TIP: In addition to regularly writing and posting new content, sometimes you need to update old content to keep it accurate and relevant to the questions people are asking today.
6. NOT FOCUSING ON CONTENT QUALITY
Many businesses aim to generate as much content as possible, but their content ends up being mediocre (or worse). Google cares about quality – it’s the wind in the sails of your digital marketing.
Low-quality, irrelevant content won’t engage or attract an audience, stopping your brand’s momentum. Keyword-stuffed AI-generated content won’t cut it in today’s digital marketplace.
Search engines are getting better at detecting AI-generated content and are likely to penalize websites that sound like a robot wrote them.
On the other hand, a blog that is full of jargon and overly technical industry-speak won’t hold the attention of your potential customers.
Speak to your customers in the language that they speak (and search). Make sure your content is easily readable by the people who you want as your customers.
QUICK TIP: Focus on writing articles that answer the questions that your likely customers are asking Google. Write accurate, thorough, and interesting answers to those questions.
7. NEGLECTING DATA PRIVACY AND SECURITY
In today’s digital world, trust is hard to earn and easy to lose. Data privacy and security breaches can quickly capsize your brand’s reputation.
Consider a fitness app that suffers a data breach. User’s personal information may have been made accessible to third parties with wicked agendas. The users no longer trust the fitness platform, so they cancel their memberships, delete the app, and may even seek refunds or pursue legal action.
This isn’t just a hypothetical risk. According to IBM and the Ponemon Institute, the global average cost of a data breach in 2023 was 4.45 million U.S. Dollars. This is a 15% increase from 3 years ago!
Prioritizing data security is crucial for maintaining customer trust and avoiding turbulent waters and legal repercussions.
8. FAILING TO MEASURE AND ANALYZE
Data is the navigational tool of digital marketing. Failing to measure and analyze your website is like sailing without a compass. You can’t change course if you don’t know what works and what doesn’t.
If you’re running Google Ads, but you’re not tracking their results, you won’t be able to make informed decisions to maximize their performance.
If you aren’t making the most of the analytics tools that are available, you probably have a competitor that is. And, that competitor will soon be eating your lunch!
Businesses that don’t use analytics to understand website traffic patterns and customer behavior miss crucial insights. This failure results in misguided marketing strategies and lost opportunities. Systematic data analysis is key to charting a successful course.
QUICK TIP: Set up Google Analytics and add it to your site. Even a basic implementation will give you useful data about where your visitors are coming from, what pages they are landing on, and what devices they are using.
Take it to the next level by setting up Google Search Console, and integrating it with Google Analytics. Check your info once a month to see what’s changed, and whether your efforts are paying off.
9. MEASURING THE WRONG THINGS
Don’t waste your time on metrics that don’t matter. Don’t lose sight of your true goals by focusing on vanity metrics like how many people visited your site or how many people liked your post. An increase in page views doesn’t mean much unless it’s paired with more conversions.
Consider your statistics in relation to what qualifies them as meaningful. For example, If you are measuring the results of SEO improvements, an increase in rankings is only meaningful if it is paired with an increase in traffic.
Additionally, that increased traffic is only meaningful if it leads to more conversions. And more conversions only truly matter if they are qualified leads that create additional revenue.
QUICK TIP: Make sure you are measuring elements of your digital experience that are as close to the revenue as possible. For example, an e-commerce site should measure sales, and attribute this back to the Google Ad that the user clicked on.
If you can’t tie the ads directly to revenue, prefer measuring human-validated actions when possible. Bots may click around on your site, so recording “button clicks” as a conversion will get you messy data, but if you can tie your ads to human Qualified leads, you know that these are real humans who are interested in your products or services.
10. IGNORING CLIENT FEEDBACK
Client feedback is the easiest way to know if you are dazzling your customers or disappointing them. It gives you a fast track to finding the problems in your operation so that you can fix them.
Ignoring upset customers is like disregarding the ominous signs of an approaching storm. It’s a good way to destroy your business and your boat. If you don’t do your best to take care of upset customers, you will end up with a damaged reputation.
Listening to and acting on client feedback is instrumental in improving products and services and enhancing customer satisfaction. And, if you look at this feedback as an opportunity to improve your operational excellence, you will find ways to keep it from happening again.
QUICK TIP: Every negative review is an opportunity to improve your operations.
If you want to succeed while navigating the digital marketing waters, you have to put your customers first. If you do that, all of the pitfalls that I have outlined here are easy to avoid.
Focus on taking care of your customers by protecting their privacy, and creating a seamless, fast, easy experience for them on your website. Make your digital presence consistent with your offline presence so your customers know they’re in the right place. Focus on writing content regularly that answers the questions that your customers are asking.
Remember, in the digital marketing sea, every decision can make the difference between smooth sailing and rough waters. And, if you need help with making those decisions, I’m happy to be of service.