Digital marketing is already a huge industry, and it’s only going to get bigger. Some forecasts predict that the yearly digital marketing expenditures in the United States alone will reach $120 billion by 2020. By 2021, the total world expenditure on digital marketing is set to be almost three times as much. Everywhere you look, you can find digital marketing agencies that help businesses find their way through the digital marketing world.
It often seems that the barriers to entry for digital marketing are not that hard to cross. Self-starting entrepreneurs routinely get into it on their own. And while some might find success, it’s very likely that entrepreneurs who are new to marketing won’t be able to avoid at least some of the cardinal digital marketing mistakes.
Being an Early Adopter of Everything
Digital marketing has many of the characteristics that define the digital world in general. The chief among them is the propensity for change. Every new year brings new trends. Every significant Google update brings new best practices. There’s a steady influx of new and improved ways to do everything.
The state of constant evolution is one of the reasons why digital marketing is an exciting field. But it’s also the thing that makes it hard to discern which new trends are simply fads, and which will be mainstream in a couple of months and thus worthy of early adoption. Being successful at digital marketing is a constant struggle between rushing to each new development, or waiting for a bandwagon to jump on. The best way to deal with it, of course, is to study each new trend and find out how much value it brings. Then, if it’s worth the investment, it can be adopted.
Using the Wrong Tools
Digital marketers are fortunate to work in a field where automation has made a lot of the menial tasks obsolete. Sending out emails during an email marketing campaign can be automated with incredible precision. Publishing content on multiple platforms can also be automated. Analytics tools work without human involvement once they’re set up.
The basis of digital marketing is the combination of the right tools and the right timing. But with so many tools to choose from, it’s very easy to become preoccupied with the wrong ones. This preoccupation will affect the timing and the costs of digital marketing campaigns. And it will not deliver results. Here’s an example: a tech startup looking to boost lead generation doesn’t have to use a CRM tool. But a real estate company looking to support a sales team should. And it shouldn’t use just any tool — it should look for the best real estate CRM on the market.
Failing to Set Goals
Setting goals is critical to creating a digital marketing campaign. Entrepreneurs should understand this intuitively, if for no other reason than because it’s impossible to gauge the effectiveness of something without knowing its original purpose.
Often enough, it might look like some digital marketing activities don’t need to be tied to a specific goal. Posting content to a blog, for example, can be assigned under an umbrella goal of driving organic traffic. Content can do that, but that’s not everything it can do. Different types of content can be used to generate leads, drive social shares, or achieve other goals. Content, like any other digital asset, works best when it’s connected to a specific goal.
Disregarding Mobile Users
95% of adults in the United States own a mobile phone. 77% of them own a smartphone and have a significant influence on the best practices of digital marketing.
With the number of mobile Internet users increasing, it’s becoming crucial to adapt online assets to them. Taking time to ensure a good user experience for mobile users is important because any mistake that sneaks in will affect the number of visitors and the overall website performance. Simply put, every asset needs to be readable and usable on the small screen.
Using Unethical Practices
Digital marketing needs time to deliver results. Some types might need more time, others might need less, but none will do wonders overnight. At least those that are considered ethical won’t.
Entrepreneurs might be tempted to take shortcuts to achieve results. Buying social media followers or using unethical search engine optimization practices are the two practices most commonly used to game the system. Some will inflate meaningless metrics. Others will not be worth the penalty they will invite. The one thing these sketchy digital marketing practices have in common is that they backfire sooner or later.
A parting tip for entrepreneurs who want to avoid making the biggest digital marketing mistakes is that they should know when to step away. Digital marketing is time-consuming, and it can be complicated. Measuring and testing, the two practices digital marketing can’t go without, require time, dedication, and skill. Entrepreneurs who don’t think they have the time to perform the tests and measure the results should hire someone to do it for them. Not having dedicated personnel on the job is the number one digital marketing mistake business owners should avoid.