As we head into 2019, it's time to re-assess your digital marketing strategies, and ensure your approach is both up to date and relevant for your business. On top of that, it's worth also assessing whether you're on the right track at all - too often, marketers make some key, fundamental errors in their approach which sets them on the wrong path from the get-go.
To help you with this, here's a listing of some of the biggest, most common mistakes business owners make in marketing. Make sure you weed these out of your strategy for the coming year.
1. Not Knowing Your Goals
You have to know what you want, in order to know what to do.
We often hear things like “I need to be on all the social media channels”, but when we ask “why?” people don’t always have an answer. And when they do, the answer is along the lines of “because everyone is doing it” or “this is what we’ve always done.”
While you definitely want to know what your competitors are doing, trying to be the “be all end all” won’t help anyone. The most effective use of marketing is to first define your goals, and then choose the specific marketing tactics that will best help you achieve them - not the other way around.
2. Not Knowing Your Target Audience
Making assumptions about who'll be interested in your product or service can be a costly mistake, and is one that's also fairly common.
With the world of social media and all the free analytics available to you, there’s really no excuse for not knowing who your targets are, where they are and what they're looking for. Your overall marketing performance will largely be based on deeply knowing and engaging with your target audience, and providing the content that will make them want to engage with you.
The deeper you delve into the right analytics, the easier it becomes to narrow your focus, and spend the most time and money on ads and content that will be seen by the right people at the right time.
3. Not Giving Your Marketing Strategies Enough Time to Produce Results
Sometimes business owners will assume that because digital technology evolves so quickly that digital marketing is meant to deliver results almost immediately. And when they don’t see fast or immediate results, they get spooked and pull out.
We're used to things happening more quickly than they have before because of the easier access we have - but this is only partly based in fact. While the digital world does move fast, the audience you're targeting is human, and people take time to become truly engaged. Because of algorithms (and their constant change), keep in mind that audiences might not even be seeing your content when you first begin posting it.
Consistency is key to successful marketing. It will often take multiple points of exposure before a potential customer engages with relevant content or ads.
4. Not Understanding Your Data
There is so much data available to you that you can easily fall down a rabbit hole of looking at numbers and stats for hours, and even days. But are you looking at the right data? And if you are, do you know what to do with it?
The first step is figuring out which data is relevant. This should be determined by your goals, which you can then turn into KPIs. Once you're measuring the right data, it’s much easier to see what's working and what isn’t.
There’s no universal answer to what the right data to monitor is, as it will vary for each business, however I do believe that everyone can benefit from putting Google Analytics to work on your website. It will give you detailed information about your web traffic.
Of course, the most perfect, refined data in the world won’t help if you don’t have an agile marketing strategy. You will need to be willing to stop and pivot at a moments notice if you find something that isn’t working.
These are just some of the common marketing errors we see pop-up time and time again. The key message here is that your outreach efforts need to align with your broader goals - while it can be tempting to jump onto all the latest shiny new platforms and tools, you need to stick with your audience focus, and reach out on the platforms relevant to them.
You do that by conducting research, by analyzing your data, and by understanding your focus.