Online consumers are discerning, distracted and even downright fickle. This isn’t an insult, in fact it’s inevitable: it’s simply our natural way of processing the mind-boggling volume of information hurled in our direction every time we set foot in the online world. So here are four ways to mobilise the online consumer by avoiding these common digital marketing mistakes.
The ever increasing online cunningness of average consumers has wide-reaching implications for anyone trying to implement a digital marketing campaign. Previously invasive push marketing campaigns did the trick. They simply forced potential customers to accept whatever information was being tossed in their direction… a ‘strategy’ which, I'm afraid to say, is still current in certain online quarters.
The savvy digital marketer knows (and has probably always known) that the key to building a solid, and most importantly, effective, online presence lies, not in how loud you shout, but the quality of what you say and the way in which you say it.
Small basic mistakes can render your digital marketing ineffective, whilst larger ones can project a negative image to today’s super savvy surfers. Avoid these mistakes and polish your campaigns up a little.
Digital Marketing Mistakes
Push Marketing... or simply no marketing
While you should avoid ramming your message down the throat of your target audience, you can often tiptoe around consumer sensitivities. In an attempt not to hard sell, many digital marketing techniques end up so subtle, that there is very little benefit left for your business at all.
Self-promotion is not a dirty word, nor is it something that online consumers are allergic to. The key is striking a balance between self-promotion and the value that you are offering to their online experience.
For instance, let’s say you own a micro-brewery and are trying to increase your online sales, through a blog about different brewing processes. Aware of consumer’s distaste of hard selling, you opt to avoid all promotional material within the post, besides a simple link to your e-store at the bottom of the blog.
This may be a riveting, inspiring, educational and highly entertaining blog post but its effectiveness and value as digital marketing is virtually zero.
Consumers do not have zero tolerance when it comes to self promotion. It is vitally important that it’s well placed, relevant and does not cross (or even approach) the line into push marketing.
Yes, we know, it’s a complete pain in the behind, but search engine optimisation can be instrumental in growing and sustaining your business, especially if you're rely heavily on online traffic.
The usual excuse that people will cite for continuing to ignore this fundamental principle of online presence, is that they cannot afford to bring in outside help to rectify the situation and implement strategies for the future… an excuse which is, quite frankly ludicrous.
The vast majority of what you need to know is available right at your fingertips in free online guides, video demonstrations and countless books, articles and journals that have been written on the subject. A great place to start is Google’s own ‘Starter Guide to Search Engine Optimization’ which will talk you through the basics step-by-step.
Don’t expect instant results (that’s not how it works) but if you build the best practices of SEO into your everyday digital marketing activities, you are basically guaranteed to begin moving up in search results.
Content, for the sake of content
Never allow yourself to fall into the trap of believing that high level of visibility will result in more and better engagement. We now have such a plethora of platforms through which to channel content, that we feel the need to create a constant heavy stream of information in order to squeeze as much value from these resources as possible. The real danger is that in this dash to saturate our various digital channels, we actually end up watering down our message and ultimately diluting the quality of audience engagements.
This issue can become acute when it comes to social media. Whilst an unending stream of information across Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest etc. may build you a greater following, this can lull you into the belief that your digital marketing is being successful. But what you are really doing is creating a generic online following that lacks the specificity to become truly engaged with your business.
The remedy is of course a simple one. Make sure that you have a well measured purpose for every piece of content you create. Consider carefully which channels you share it through. Be sure to review how successful it is in driving meaningful engagements, and adjust your future content plans accordingly.
Failure to plan, set goals and monitor progress
Often within digital marketing the action of creating and distributing information takes precedence over the less exciting tasks of strategically planning and monitoring the success of your campaign. The key to getting these steps right is understanding what benefit you hope to get from each of your digital assets, and planning your marketing in a way which will best utilise the potential of each channel that you have.
Monitoring the success of individual actions through metrics and the various excellent analytics tools available, will help you to constantly refine your practices, ensuring that the time, effort and indeed money you spend in digital marketing will progressively yield better results... well that's the plan anyway!
You might also like to take a look at our recent post '9 Tips for managing your business blog' and at the refreshing thoughts of one of Club’s resident entrepreneurs on putting your social media before a business website.
Eoin O'Hara is a business developer and lead content writer at Startacus.net. He has a background combining arts and culture with strategic business development, and now plays a central role in the growth of the Startacus brand. Startacus.net, The Self Start Society, is the place for enterprising people to learn, share, connect and bring ideas to life. Follow them at @Iamstartacus