a VW bus at the end of a road symbolizing digital marketing success

Do You Know How to Avoid These Common Digital Marketing Mistakes?

So, your business has some room in the budget to start a new marketing campaign. You set out, ready to get more eyes on your product or service and boost awareness of your brand. What could possibly go wrong? As it turns out, there are a whole lot of marketing mistakes to avoid making both before and during your digital campaign. And in the world of business, especially if you’re a small business, mistakes mean lost money, lost time, and lost effort—all invaluable resources.

At Alter Endeavors, we’ve come to understand that knowledge is valuable, especially in marketing. Being aware of common pitfalls is an excellent first step toward navigating around them—and not wasting your marketing budget. So in today’s post, we’re taking a look at 10 major digital marketing mistakes that can kill your campaign if you don’t avoid them. Let’s dive in! 

Pre-Campaign Digital Marketing Mistakes

It may be surprising to hear, but some of the worst marketing mistakes we consistently see business leaders make all come before your campaign even starts. By avoiding these critical errors, you can make getting your digital marketing efforts off the ground that much easier. 

1. Not Having a Defined Brand

At its very core, a marketing campaign is all about sharing your brand with more people. Because of that, a successful marketing campaign requires, at the very least,  a well-defined brand. This includes knowing what your niche is, who your audience is, and how they consume content so that you can create accordingly. 

If you don’t have a solid brand identity, your content will likely miss the mark—and even if it doesn’t, it’ll be much more difficult to put together, and your calls to action will be less effective. After all: if you don’t know yourself, how will your customers?

2. Lack of Direction, Objectives, or Business Plan

What is the goal of your marketing campaign? This is a critical question to answer, and to answer well with specific objectives and benchmarks for success. Unfortunately, some companies start marketing campaigns without any real, tangible objectives—simply because they know they should be doing marketing.

While this is a great way to throw away money, it won’t accomplish much else. Operating without a clear end goal in mind, you’ll struggle in getting a return on your investment and your audience will struggle to know exactly who you are. 

They say all publicity is good publicity, but if you have nothing to sell or offer, publicity is the only thing you’ll get from your campaign—if that. Formulating a clear business plan is a foundational first step before marketing can begin, and it will help inform what goals and objectives you want to set.

a pencil and paper sketching out a business plan before digital marketing begins

image credit: https://unsplash.com/@medbadrc

3. Setting Unrealistic Expectations

Goals and objectives should be specific, but they should also be realistic and attainable. For example, if you’re trying to sell shirts, selling 1,000 shirts in the first week is certainly a specific objective—but if your following is just getting off the ground, it’s not a very realistic one. If you’re trying to drive organic traffic to your website, but you’ve just built it and you’re in a competitive industry, it’s not realistic to expect dozens of leads from SEO in the first month.

To set reasonable goals for your marketing campaign, it’s important to do some research on what you can expect from the campaign you’re running, based on the size of your existing following, what you’re trying to accomplish, and what your budget is. 

Another way companies sometimes have unrealistic expectations is by expecting success to happen more or less immediately. Success in marketing requires patience, however; for example, SEO can take anywhere from 3 to 6 to 12 months to fully take effect. So, if your campaign isn’t getting results overnight, don’t just go back to the drawing board. Keep track of what’s happening, gather data, and don’t let yourself get discouraged. 

4. Not Targeting the Right Platforms

Every business wants more visibility. To do that, you should be on every social media platform all the time, right? Well, no. When it comes to getting a good return on your investment in marketing, choosing the right platforms can make a big difference—especially when it comes to advertising.

So as you plan your marketing campaign, think about which platforms make the most sense for your business. Some businesses should advertise on Instagram or Pinterest, while others will find more success on Facebook or LinkedIn. Spreading your efforts too thin and wasting energy on platforms your audience may not even use is one of the most common digital marketing mistakes we see businesses make. Instead, it’s much better to market well on a few platforms where you’re more likely to speak directly to your audience. 

a person using a tablet with different social media icons

image credit: https://unsplash.com/@nordwood

Digital Marketing Mistakes to Avoid During Your Campaign

Even with proper planning, there are still plenty of pitfalls that might hamper your marketing efforts after your campaign gets started. Here are the top digital marketing mistakes to avoid after you’ve started your lead generation campaign.

1. Trying to Change Everything on the Fly

While it might feel exciting to make changes to your marketing campaign based on instinct and intuition, in our experience this is rarely a recipe for success. The most successful marketing campaigns are typically plotted out from beginning to end. 

Now of course, things change, and your plan doesn’t need to be 100% concrete. But there are many things during a marketing campaign that you need to plan for, whether it’s within a 5-day window, a month, or farther out.

Even a simple layout or flowchart of the campaign, sales funnel, timelines, and other key components can be immensely helpful. Having that roadmap can make a world of difference when you need to make key decisions during your campaign. These tools help visualize the potential ripple effects of the changes made on the fly, and when debriefing after a campaign has concluded, they can help immensely in retracing your steps. 

2. Lack of A/B Testing

In marketing, it can be tough to quantify what you’re getting for your money, especially when you’re looking at impressions and other things that don’t have a tangible value (compared to sales or purchases). 

Data really is the be-all, end-all of quantifying the impact your efforts are having, and A/B testing can help to put numbers to your marketing plan before you truly start investing in it. At the end of the day, different things work better or worse for different audiences and platforms. Even variations in the length of your copy can have an impact—and while you shouldn’t spend your time testing every possible variation, you definitely shouldn’t skip the A/B testing phase, either.

3. Ignoring Trends

If you want to be successful in a relatively short amount of time, you need to do some research to understand your market. This includes general research, as well as checking up on your competitors to see how they’ve been successful (or not!). 

What this really comes down to is understanding your industry, your competition, and your niche. Whatever space you’re in, you need to know that space in order to be successful at marketing within it. Otherwise, you risk missing the mark with your advertising or content. 

4. Not Tracking Conversions

It may seem like a no-brainer, but the amount of businesses running campaigns without any kind of tracking can be frightening. To make decisions mid-campaign, they’re simply firing from the hip and hoping they’ve solved their issues. But without data, you lack much ability to identify where people are falling off along your pipeline.

All of this means that tracking is one of the first steps you should take before going live. As mentioned with A/B testing, data truly is king when it comes to making decisions. So if you aren’t putting yourself in the best position to collect data, you’re undercutting your marketing campaign, and you might not be able to turn it around if things go south.

5. Failing to Adequately QA Test

Another item that gets ignored distressingly often is QA testing. Before any part of your marketing campaign goes live, make sure your team has thoroughly reviewed and polished everything. Check spelling, design, and functionality. If there’s a link, make sure it works. If your content sends visitors to a contact form, make sure that form collects their information properly.

For example, imagine a customer who’s gone through your entire process and been added to your email list. Now imagine they get an email that says “Hi [First Name]” without the correct information. You’ve just lost that potential customer.

It’s true that you can edit social media and other pieces of content. But testing beforehand makes everything much less stressful during your digital marketing campaign—instead of leaving you scrambling to fix mistakes. 

6. Not Being Ready for Success

So your campaign is going well, and you’re starting to see results. Maybe traffic is increasing to your website now. That’s great! But what’s not great is if your website isn’t prepared to handle more visitors—and crashes as a result.

This is one of the most important parts of executing your marketing campaign: ensuring that, if you succeed in your goal, your website can handle the additional traffic, and you’re ready to take more calls from interested customers. 

Failing to adequately prepare for your own success is like fumbling the ball on the 1-yard line, airmailing a dunk, or missing first base after you hit a home run. Make sure you’re ready to follow through on that critical last step in the process. Because after all, if you’ve properly planned and executed your marketing campaign, it’s very likely to be a success!

a VW bus at the end of a road symbolizing digital marketing success

image credit: https://unsplash.com/@englr

Need Help Steering Your Digital Marketing Campaign? 

Launching a marketing campaign is a lot like setting sail on a voyage. You need to carefully plan before you set out, and you also need to know how to direct your efforts to weather any storms or unexpected twists. If you’re looking for a partner to help you avoid the biggest digital marketing mistakes and guide your business to more online leads and sales, reach out for a digital marketing audit from Alter Endeavors!