5 Common Digital Marketing Mistakes Small Businesses Need To Avoid Now More Than Ever


Despite the prevalence and ease of digital marketing, 47% of small businesses spend less than $10,000 on it.

Understandably, small businesses don’t have the same resources or approaches to marketing as large corporations and organizations do. Fortunately, digital marketing has come a long way in empowering and equipping businesses operating at various scales with powerful marketing tools and avenues.

However, digital marketing is not as simple as uploading and sharing content at random. It’s a data-driven process to increase conversions, ROI, generate leads, and improve your business’s performance.

As important as it is to diversify your strategy, it’s equally important that you work to improve it and eradicate what doesn’t work for you. Identifying mistakes, issues, and problems in your overall plan will keep you from repeating them and directing funds and resources toward them.

Digital marketing mistakes that could cost your small business more than you realize include:

1. Underselling and underpromoting your website

Whether you have a good old’ fashioned brick and mortar store or you operate exclusively online, having a website is a necessity more than a luxury now. You need to invest in quality web design and display to create a navigation space and platform where potential customers can learn about your services and products in detail.

61% of users are unlikely to return to a site that is either slow, inefficient, or gives trouble. So creating a smoothly-operating, informative website is a necessity.

But with that being said, having a website itself isn’t sufficient. You need to improve on it and create a platform that is optimized for peak performance and results. Your website needs to take updated SEO practices into account to drive more traffic and help you stand out among the 1.5 billion websites that are already present online.

A small business owner researches and analyzes marketing strategies.

Focus on developing and creating content that is engaging, attractive to viewers, and functional. Invest time and finances into developing an easy-to-navigate, attractive web layout where they can find complete information and details, including store timings, shipment costs, a smooth checkout process, faster loading speeds, and more.

2. Targeting too broad an audience online

Knowing your audience is key for digital marketing success—and for general business success too. 90% of companies using buyer personas have been able to develop a clear understanding of their audience, and you can do the same!

Using insights and analytics tools, you can begin to identify and develop a buyer persona to assist you in developing a sound digital marketing strategy. You can refer to specific demographics like age, gender, locality, and other factors when creating buyer personas and target audiences, in addition to hobbies, interests, and other publicly available information.

If you have the advantage of having a specific niche, you can also count on your audience to be a part of it, and thus, easier to identify and engage with. From relevant holidays and special events to new products and services, it’s much easier to connect on a deeper level once you know who you’re looking at.

It might take some effort, but it’s worth spending time to create multiple buyer personas and be more specific in your campaigns. You’ll be able to send more direct, relevant ads and promotions, even specifics like birthday discounts that companies like Sephora do, or aggressive promotions, discounts, and holiday-themed products like their competitor Bath and Body Works.

Performance analytics such as these are used to determine the success of campaigns.

3. Lacking short and long-term goals for your strategy

A lack of clear-cut goals and defined expectations for your strategy is a misstep. As a business, you need to have specific, attainable goals—both short and long-term—so you can design your campaign around them.

Goals can be anything from decreasing bounce rates and cart abandonment to generating more traffic. Whatever the type of conversion you’re seeking to achieve, your strategy should factor it in. Other business goals may be brand awareness and management, reputation management, establishing credibility, gaining customer loyalty, and promoting a specific product, service, or event.

All this varies based on the type of product and service you offer, and where you see your company heading in the near future.

Look at your competitors, review your past record, and try to identify what has worked in the past and how you can achieve it again. It’s important to improve on mistakes and correct issues for optimum performance.

4. Poorly thought out or lack of social media content

With 3.5 billion social media users across the globe, you’re missing out on a chance to—hypothetically—access 45% of the global population by being absent from social media platforms. And with such a massive number of active users, it’s no surprise that 73% of marketers have found social media marketing to be highly effective when trying to connect to audiences. It’s interesting to see how 2020 will affect social media marketing, given the sudden uptick in usage due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Random, aimless, pushy advertising content on social media will cost your business because your audience doesn’t just want to see advertisements. They want engaging content that they can relate to and interact with. Experimenting with multi-media such as video advertisements, photographs, dedicated social media campaigns will help your brand significantly.

Focus on creating content that is meaningful, informative, and interesting, not just clickbait. Alternatively, you can attract customers to your social media platforms via certain strategies. Host giveaways, add humor, be conversational, and engage across platforms to build rapport.

Consider how uber-successful Coca-Cola’s #ShareACoke campaign was at establishing brand visibility and creating engagement among their social media followers. You can do the same for your business with well-thought-out, exciting content.

5. Not tracking goals, progress, and conversions

If you’re spending money on digital marketing, you should also be actively keeping track of it. Every campaign can be evaluated and examined for its ROI, conversion rates, and changes in other metrics like bounce rate, cost per lead, and more. This will help you see what works and what doesn’t, and how you can alter your strategy to align with these metrics.

Digital marketing is based on data, and using metrics in addition to the process of experimentation and trial and error is what makes the difference between a good and bad strategy. With each campaign or method, compare data, changes in numbers, and analytics to see how it has fared, and whether you’ve achieved the goals (refer to point 1) you’d set.

If not, stop watering a dead plant.

When it comes to digital marketing mistakes, the list goes on and on. Remember that while you’re working with numbers, you’re not targeting robots. Consumers are smarter than they’ve ever been, and you owe it to them to give them value. Don’t ignore complaints, overlook issues, and refuse to acknowledge mistakes. It’s a process of continuous learning, and worth the investment as a small business owner.

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