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5 common digital marketing mistakes (and how to avoid them)

Campaign testing, the rise of mobile and quality content – just some of the key areas that digital marketers must focus on to succeed. Here’s how to avoid five common digital marketing mistakes.

Author Jamie Turner of marketing optimisation firm SIXTY and online magazine the 60 Second Marketer, reveals how avoiding basic mistakes can put your company on the path to profitability.

1) Not testing – a prescription for failure

Common digital marketing mistakes include not continuously testing campaigns.

“Many people skip this step and design their campaigns around what they think would be most appealing,” says Turner. “But you’re only one data point, and you’re already an insider, so basing a campaign solely on your opinion (or the opinions of a few people in your office) is a prescription for failure.”

Digital Marketing Mistakes - Compelo

Instead, employ A/B split testing methodology. This involves testing one existing campaign element (usually A) against an untested trial version (usually B).

As a result, you can see behavioural differences between respondents and which changes to the control improve the click-through or conversion rate.

In other words, don’t assume. Test.

2) Get rid of unrealistic expectations about campaign testing

Today’s fast-paced business environment thrives on instant data. However, smart marketers aren’t impatient. They appreciate that some digital marketing platforms require more time before they can judge if a campaign has been successful.

Turner cites paid search as an example.

“It takes about 90 days before you can get a good read on whether or not paid search is a viable channel for your business,” he says. “Sure, early on, you’ll have some winning paid search ads and some losing ads, but you won’t get a statistically viable read until you’ve collected data over a longer period of time.”

Let ads run across 1,000 websites for at least 90 days to allow you make adjustments based on hard data. In addition, search engine optimisation (SEO) takes 90-180 days to see the full effects.

So, be realistic about when to expect results. Additionally, don’t end a trial before you have conclusive results. And don’t spend resources on a trial if you can’t see it all the way through.

3) Don’t just focus on popular platforms

Famously, Pepsi pulled most of its marketing budget out of traditional media and into social media. As Turner points out, the results were less than impressive.

The lesson? Maintaining a balance between trending (mobile) and traditional (email, direct mail, telemarketing) techniques increases a marketer’s chances of success.

Digital Marketing Mistakes - Compelo

According to the Direct Marketing Association (DMA), for every $1 spent, email marketing generates $38 in return on investment (ROI).

So, if something works for your company, stick with it. Also, don’t be afraid to experiment – and don’t be afraid to fail. Plus, change in marketing is good, but introduce it gradually.

4) Mobile isn’t just for the B2C market

“For the B2B (business-to-business) world, the most important tools are mobile websites and mobile emails,” says Turner. “The other tools (e.g. apps, SMS, display, paid search, proximity marketing) can be used as well, but the starting point is to have a mobile-optimised website, as well as emails that can be easily read on a mobile device.”

Consumers now spend more time on their mobile devices than they do on their desktop devices. As such, a clear and decisive mobile strategy is a must.

Turner identifies seven key digital marketing categories for mobile:

  • mobile websites
  • SMS
  • mobile apps
  • mobile emails
  • proximity marketing
  • mobile display
  • mobile paid search.

5) Beware low-quality content

Quality over quantity − not advice that marketers often hear in today’s content-hungry business environment. However, according to Turner, it is an important rule for marketers to live by.

Digital Marketing Mistakes - Compelo

“If you’re just pushing out content for the sake of pushing out content, you’ll get diminishing returns over time,” he says. “The only way to succeed at content marketing is for the reader to feel as though the content was written specifically for them, and for the content to be of such high quality that they come back for more.”

 As a result, Google now sees time on site and social sharing as two key indicators that your content is resonating with your audience.

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