Some people say that you learn more from your mistakes than your successes. However, if you’re a digital marketer, your mistakes might be seen by hundreds of thousands (even millions!) of people and could cost your company an equal, or greater, amount of dollars. Those are some tough lessons.
Let’s dive into three big mistakes that digital marketers make and how you can avoid them:
1. Analysis Paralysis
The amount of data available to modern marketers today provides unprecedented opportunities for us to optimize our campaigns, but the sheer volume also makes it hard to know where to start. In the digital realm, almost every step of the process—from the ad being served to the user interaction and eventual conversion—is tracked and available for analysis. How great is that? No more guessing about what is working and why. You’ve got all the data you need to figure that out at your fingertips.
On the flip side, having access to all that data can get overwhelming when you realize how much there is. Should you analyze click-through rates first or conversion rates? What about time on page, heat map clicks, scroll map data, or navigation paths? It’s easy to get lost down the rabbit hole chasing data points that are interesting, but ultimately provide no actionable insight.
A good way to stay focused in the face of a mountain of data is to turn your back on it initially. Start with the question you are trying to answer or the hypothesis you are testing. Once you’ve got a direction in mind, you’ll have a better idea of which data points will get you there. Speaking of data, that brings me to my next point—you should definitely look at more than just your own.
2. Tunnel Vision
As a digital marketer, there are a wide range of responsibilities that fall under our umbrella. While it varies across organizations, these are some of the most common: paid search, SEO, social media marketing, conversion optimization; the list keep growing. It’s easy to think of each as a separate discipline and miss the big picture of how they are all interrelated.
This is most apparent in the example of paid search and search engine optimization (SEO). Both are built on the foundation of keyword research and optimizing for the terms and phrases your target audience uses. If you are currently responsible for both tasks or have experience with both, then you know how the lessons learned in one can help the other. For example, which paid search keywords get a high volume of impressions and clicks, but do not have good organic rankings? And if you specialize in paid search and don’t meet regularly with the person that manages SEO, or vice-versa, then you are missing out.
Make sure you know what’s working in all areas of your digital marketing, not just in your area of expertise. For example, your digital marketing initiatives should align with your content marketing, social media marketing, and website conversion optimization. This is because phrases that have high search volumes and conversion rates in paid search can inform content creation to drive SEO and improve conversion rates. That content can also be promoted on social media, where user engagement can inform further optimization and new topics and keywords for you to explore. This multi-channel strategy should also extend beyond your internal team to your agencies, if you are using them.
3. An Agency on Autopilot
Many marketing departments rely on agency support to manage some, or all, aspects of their digital marketing and don’t realize that while they may be experts in their field, they are most certainly not experts in yours. Don’t get me wrong—I’m not against using an agency or agencies. They can be a great addition to your team and give you the resources and expertise you need to grow, especially when you have a lean team.
However, in order to be effective, an agency must understand your business, your market, and your goals. There could be an agency out there that knows every hidden feature and functionality of Google AdWords, but if they don’t know your target audience and understand your marketing strategy, they won’t be able to optimize your campaigns in the best possible way.
So, make sure your agency is well aligned with your overall business objectives, not just your KPI’s for that particular program under management. Provide continual feedback on their impact and performance and make sure they can articulate your goals and your strategy back to you. A good way to stay in sync is to have weekly check-ins and both monthly and quarterly reviews. In this case, over-communication is a goal worth striving toward.