As a business owner or marketing director, you likely know how critical it is to develop an effective inbound marketing strategy. Unfortunately, some marketing directors end up sabotaging their strategy by quickly diving into the deep end without taking the time to understand consumer behavior or focus on areas with the highest potential ROI. Below is a look at six common digital marketing mistakes and the key to overcoming them.
1. Failing to understand your target audience
"The reasons for studying consumer behavior go far beyond figuring out why people are buying up all the boxed rice in your local grocery store. The role of consumer behavior in marketing is huge in that you can better meet the needs of your customers and prospective customers if you know why they're buying what they're buying. And if you can answer that question, then you can better market your products."
- Amy N. Barkman, Tech Funnel
The journey to a stellar marketing strategy begins with a sound understanding of consumer behavior. If you are able to isolate the factors that motivate your target audience to buy, then you will be able to develop effective marketing initiatives. In spite of this correlation, many marketing managers skip this initial phase of the marketing process and forge ahead without understanding what makes their target audience tick.
2. Attempting to speed up the inbound marketing process
Like a Thanksgiving turkey that takes all day to roast in the oven, it may take weeks or months to understand your audience and develop an inbound marketing strategy that produces measurable results. Unfortunately, some marketing directors hope that they can achieve the same results by cooking their Thanksgiving Turkey in the microwave or attempting to speed up the inbound marketing process. Here are some ways that marketing managers compromise their strategy by trying to rush the marketing process:
- Selecting their marketing tools too quickly
- Not taking the time to establish proper goals
- Blindly throwing ideas at a problem without a well-thought out action plan
- Failing to consider short-term and long-term costs associated with marketing techniques
"Marketing strategy requires setting goals, pricing strategies, and distribution strategies for a new product...If your company plans to use its present channels of distribution, the channel strategy may be that of determining how to get your channel to accept the new product."
- Jay E. Klompmaker, G. David Hughes, and Russell I. Haley, Harvard Business Review
3. Failing to test marketing campaigns prior to launching them
Launching advertisements without testing them can leave you with depleted resources and disappointing results. While testing may require some time on the front end, it is one of the most effective ways to make sure that your advertisements will be well received by the consumers you are targeting. Here are some specific items you should be testing prior to including them in your marketing strategy:
- Your message: Testing will help you determine if your message is clear and if it resonates with your target audience
- Images and videos: Selecting the best images and videos can help drive your message home
- Subject titles and headers: Choosing compelling subject titles and headers becomes an easier process through testing
- Calls to action: Testing will help ensure that your calls to action are visible effectively motivate your audience
Testing will also help safeguard against embarrassing or damaging backlash that can result when you inadvertently offend members of your audience. For instance, you might not feel that your models are revealing too much skin, but testing may indicate otherwise. In this way, the testing process can help ensure that you do not land on the BBC's list of the most offensive ads of all time.
4. Ignoring or misinterpreting marketing data
When properly interpreted and used, analytics can be the key to transforming your business. Unfortunately, some marketing managers fail to use valuable analytics to their advantage. Public Relations Expert Keyana Corliss outlines three common pitfalls associated with marketing analytics:
- Falling prey to the Silo Affliction, or the tendency to look at data we think is the most relevant
- Misunderstanding the data that you generate
- Failing to take action when your analytics suggests that changes are in order
All three of these pitfalls can be equally damaging to your business and it is up to you as a marketing manager to avoid them. One of the best ways to prevent these problems from impacting your business is to enlist the expertise of an outside specialist who can help you review your analytics objectively.
5. Spending money on the latest fads
Executives sometimes become overzealous in their desire to produce marketing results. They might invest in sophisticated software or spend a huge chunk of your budget on the latest unproven marketing fad. This type of miscommunication can lead to poor budget management and can leave you without the resources you need to cover the elements of your marketing strategy that are proven to yield results. Marketing managers can avoid this problem by communicating regularly with CFOs and CEOs about key initiatives and the need to remain within budget.
6. Preparing content that is not interesting or relevant
Content that is not relevant or poorly written can end up doing more harm to your business than good. Marketing managers should always review content and make sure it is well prepared and audience appropriate. Ideally, the content you prepare should captivate your audience and should possess the following qualities:
- Relevance: Selecting content that is meaningful to your target audience is essential to earning their business
- Utility: Content that is helpful or useful to your audience will improve your SEO
- Accuracy: Spelling mistakes and inaccurate information can negate your efforts and harm your company's image
- Consistent: If you are going to start a blog, make sure that you have the resources to provide posts on a regular basis
What is the best way to avoid these common inbound marketing issues?
The marketing mistakes outlined above are easy to prevent if you have the support of an industry expert. The marketing specialists with Hive Digital Strategy are here to help you clarify your goals and choose the marketing tools that will deliver the results you are seeking. With our support, you can approach your marketing strategy with renewed vigor. We will help you monitor your competitors' activity and ensure that you allocate your resources to the techniques that will yield the best ROI for your specific business. We invite you to contact us to find out how we can help you achieve your goals. We look forward to working with you!