Most businesses know that they should be “keeping up with times” by marketing themselves online. So in an attempt to stay relevant, they quickly throw together a website and they create social media profiles. They expect new customers to start coming in droves but all they end up hearing is the sounds of crickets chirping. That is because digital marketing is not like the traditional advertising that most West Texas businesses are used to. Unlike a billboard or a print advertisement, with online marketing, you can’t set it and forget it. This means that you can’t post something to your Twitter once and expect people to immediately convert to become a customer. You have to watch what’s happening, make adjustments, and interact with people.
Just because you build it, doesn’t mean they’ll come. Digital advertising is constantly evolving and to succeed at it, you have to avoid the common pitfalls while always trying new things. With that said, here are the 7 deadly sins of online marketing:
Blogging has become the bread and butter of content marketing and moving into 2016, it doesn’t seem to be going anywhere. As you can see in the infographic below, marketers who blog are 13 times more likely to have a positive ROI, according to Hubspot.com. Also, content marketing (which includes blogging) generates 3 times as many leads as traditional outbound marketing (billboard, magazine, television) but costs 62% less.
Why does blogging work so well? Because it has countless benefits. Blogging helps you put original, valuable content into the hands and minds of your prospective customers. It keeps you at the top of their minds. It also positions you as a thought leader in your industry. Most importantly, blogging is one of the best things you can do to increase the search engine optimization of your website. All of the keywords such as “digital marketing” that we have sprinkled throughout this blog will help our site come up higher in search results.
Not having a mobile-friendly website
There’s really no excuse to have a website that is not compatible with smartphones and tablets, especially after this year’s Mobilegeddon. Your website is being punished in search results if it’s not mobile friendly. Consumers and website visitors are using mobile more and more and 85% of them believe that a company’s mobile website should be just as good, if not better than their desktop site.
This doesn’t mean that you have to have a separate website for each screen size. According to Lemonly, there are about 230 different screen sizes available today and it would be impossible and expensive to design a site for each of those. The solution is responsive website design. This means that your site knows if it is being viewed on a laptop, tablet, smartphone, television, etc. and it will respond accordingly to give users the best possible experience. This eliminates the annoying pinching and zooming that is necessary with non-responsive websites.
You don’t have a choice when it comes to mobile-friendliness. The consumers have spoken.
Too much self-promotion
In the beginnings of social media it was okay to take on a promotional tone when posting to your page. Consumers at that time were used to brands that only talked about themselves. Much of the posts in that time were about brick and mortar stores that were having a sale or about a Facebook page running a contest. Over time, fans of brands got tired of reading these posts and started interacting with them less. Consumers started to want something more. They wanted brands to provide them with valuable content and to interact with them on a personal level. The past couple of years have seen a spike in digital marketing that is aimed at being more personal and because of that, Facebook started punishing posts that it deemed overly-promotional.
According to Facebook, these are overly promotional posts:
posts that solely push people to buy a product or download an app.
posts that push people into entering contests or sweepstakes.
posts that reuse the same content as an ad.
It is okay to talk about your sales or promotions sometimes. The general rule is the 80/20 rule. 20% of your posts can be promotional while the other 80% should be about valuable, interesting content (photos, blogs, infographics, etc.)
Lack of visual content
We live in an increasingly visual world. While search engines like blogs, humans like visuals - photos, videos, infographics. Visual content works so well because it grabs users’ attention. Across every social media channel, visual content is shown to perform better than simply written text. Take Twitter for example: tweets with images receive 18% more clicks, 89% more favorites, and 150% more retweets than those without images. The best thing to do is combine visuals and written text like we do with some of our Twitter updates.
Here’s an example. Notice how we use an interesting image (not a cheesy stock-ish image) and combine it with the title of the blog. We post this to Twitter with a link back to our site.
An important thing to remember when using images is that you can’t simply take an image from Google and use it. Just because it’s on the internet, doesn’t mean it’s yours. That’s stealing. However, you can get free, public domain images from sites like pexels.com, pixabay.com, and unsplash.com. You can also take your own photos.
Inconsistency and lack of maintenance
Like we said before, the set and forget it approach doesn’t work well with digital marketing. You can’t spend thousands of dollars on a brand new website and expect customers to flock to it and for it to function perfectly for the next ten years. First of all, technology changes much too rapidly for that and second of all, Google and other search engines hate stale sites. A website needs to be maintained consistently in order for it to function at its best and for it to come up high in search results.
Websites need to be updated with current information because there’s nothing more frustrating than finding a business website and trying to call their number only to find out the number has been disconnected. That can quickly change a customer’s opinion of your business.
It’s also important to be consistent. If you start a blog or an email newsletter, keep up with it at regular, predictable times. It will confuse people if they are sporadically receiving email newsletters from you.
Confusing website navigation
A website’s navigation is usually not the place to get creative. Make sure the main menu is an obvious location and be sure that there are not thousands of submenus. Make sure the page names are clear and concise. The last thing want is your website visitor feeling lost because they will probably abandon your site altogether. A visitor needs to quickly see what is on your site and how they can get to where they need to go. When a user hovers over a link, it should be clear that they can click on it. Also, the brand logo on a site should always lead users back to the home page.
Weak Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
What’s the point in having a site if people can’t find it? There is no point. Many websites are beautifully designed and perfectly built but they receive barely any traffic because they have weak SEO. The science of SEO changes about every other week but currently the best things you can do to boost your site in search engine results are:
- Have your own domain and hosting.
- Publish original content to your site - blogs, videos, photos
- Have as many other sites link to your site as you can.
- Make sure the site loads fast.
- Make sure there are no broken links.
- Make sure the code is clean.
- Install a sitemap.
- And a lot more.
As you might be able to see, SEO is a tricky son of a gun and is best left to a pro. If you are willing to invest in a website, you must be willing to invest in an SEO expert. Luckily, all of the websites that we build at catmandu are search engine optimized from the get-go.
Don’t be a sinner
Brands cannot afford to forgo digital marketing or treat it as an add on. Digital marketing is marketing. At catmandu, we provide businesses with online marketing solutions - from website development to blogging and from social media marketing to professional photography. Stop living in sin and start excelling at your digital marketing by filling out the form at the top right of this blog.