The amount of dollars put towards digital marketing efforts each year continues to grow as marketing departments realize the importance of reaching their customers online, where they spend a good deal of their professional and leisure time. Here’s just a glimpse at how online marketing spending is growing:
- Nearly 49% of marketers responded that they planned to increase their social media spending and 38% planned to increase their SEO/PPC search spending in 2015 (source)
- CMOs planned to increase social media’s share of the marketing spend to 13.5% in 2015 and planned to keep growing to 22.4% in the next five years (source)
- 50% of B2C marketers expected to increase their content marketing budgets over a 12-month span (source)
That makes it hurt all the more when a brand makes avoidable mistakes that can pollute their internet marketing efforts. If your digital marketing strategy still includes any of these stale practices, it’s time to clean up your act for better results.
Content for Content’s Sake
Content quickly became a staple of all digital marketing efforts when marketers started to understand its importance in the Google search algorithm and how SEO and content depend on each other. And marketers are adding content at lightning speed. Every minute:
- Google receives 4 million searches
- Bloggers post 1,400 new blogs
- Instagram users post 220,000 new photos
- YouTube users upload 72 hours of new video content
But adding content with no goals, no focus, and no real purpose is a waste of resources and time. If you’re going to take the giant leap into content marketing, you need to start with a plan. (And that plan needs to be more than, “we’ll write new blog updates when we find a free minute.”) You need to have a detailed outline that includes:
- How frequently you’ll create and publish your content
- The types of content you’ll include
- The audience you’re creating content for
- The topics you’ll cover
- What you want your content to accomplish
No Keyword Research
Remember when we said your content needs to have focus? The best way to ensure you’re creating relevant content, that people want to consume, is by putting in the time to investigate what information online users are seeking out. Without keyword research, you could be addressing topics in which no one is really interested.
Keyword research is a key area where the content and SEO disciplines of your digital marketing efforts depend on each other. SEO experts are truly talented at sniffing out the keywords that Google users are searching for. Building your content around those highly searched keywords gives your content a much better chance of being found.
Not Promoting Your Content
If you’ve been producing picture-perfect content (well-researched, well-written and with great visuals), posting it on a consistent basis, and ending there, you’re not giving your content its due service. Your content cannot live on your website alone. Here’s where content and social media come together to complete the internet marketing process. At the very least, your content should be shared on appropriate social media platforms. Sharing with a wider audience can increase the traffic to your website, as well as increase engagement and social shares. We previously compiled a list of ways you can further expand the reach of your web content.
Your Website is Still Not Responsive
I know that maybe you weren’t expecting a lecture on website design as part of an SEO lesson, but in this case, the two go hand-in-hand. Since April 2015, it’s become critical that companies ensure their website design is responsive and user-friendly on all mobile devices. When Google unveiled the “Mobilegeddon” algorithm update, they stated, with great conviction, they would be giving search result preference to websites that were mobile-friendly.
With more Google searches coming from mobile devices than from desktops, it just made sense for creating a better user experience. If you’ve been dragging your feet at updating your website and improving the mobile components, you really can’t wait much longer. Your digital marketing efforts will continue to stall out without a responsive website.
Linking to Non-Relevant Sites
A strong linking structure includes internal linking that helps users move throughout your site and find other information that interests them. It should also include outbound links to other websites that are in the same industry or have an expertise in your field. In a move to stop the practice of unnatural outbound linking, Google issued a number of penalties recently to sites that were violating the Google Webmaster Guidelines on outbound links. Outbound linking plays an important role in your digital marketing efforts, but you have be smart about the sites you choose to link up with.
- Link to sites that have a higher Domain Authority
- Link to relevant resources that provide quality information
- Link to inside pages instead of the home page
- Avoid linking to the same pages again and again
Lack of Content, Lack of Context
As we mentioned above, content is becoming a stronger component to a successful SEO strategy. Every time you add a new piece of content to your website, it’s a signal for Google to come back to your site and crawl the content. Each time Google crawls your site, it’s picking up context clues to get a better understanding of who your company is and what products, services, or information you can offer users. This is then reflected in the search results it returns. If you’re in the habit of adding content that isn’t relevant to your business, as a way to stuff your site with keywords and show inflated traffic stats, your efforts will eventually backfire. In the end, search engines will always reward quality over quantity.
Spamming Your Fans & Followers
In a study of over 900 social media users, 45% of respondents said they would unfollow a brand if it were too self-promotional. In addition to self-promotional content, followers are also bothered when brands overwhelm their news feeds. If your digital marketing efforts include a social media presence, use caution in finding the right balance of how to present and promote your products. Fifteen percent of respondents from the study noted above, took the step to follow a brand to be notified of special offers or promotions, but Sale! Buy Now! Shop Today! can’t be your one and only message.
Expand your social content to also share news from your industry, show your products in use, help followers learn about your brand, and show the human side of your business. When considering how often to post, I love the advice offered by the Buffer website, “Post as often as you have engaging, entertaining, or useful content to share.” But you may think every idea you have is worth a share, so you’ll need to get a little more selective. It will take some testing to figure out the right formula for your audience, but here are some guidelines to get started:
- Facebook: 1-2 posts per day
- Instagram: 1-2 posts per day
- Twitter: 3-5 posts per day
- LinkedIn: 1 post per day
Bringing Up Taboo Topics
The common rules of etiquette say that you should never bring up politics or religion in mixed company. Extending this line of thinking into your social media strategy is probably a good idea. Of course, if your business revolves around religion or politics, this doesn’t apply to you. But, if the products or services you offer are based in a different industry, your social media content should be too.
Arguing with Fans
We’ve all seen stories of a disgruntled customer leaving a bad review of a product or service online, only for an equally disgruntled business owner to reply with choice words of his own. Yeah, you might win the support of a few fans for sticking up for yourself, but you might lose the respect of a lot more people. It’s not realistic to think that every interaction on your social platforms is going to be positive. The fact is, you’re going to receive some negative feedback. Those negative posts should not go ignored. Your followers want to see that you are willing to address the good with the bad. But understand that everyone is watching your reaction.
When an online conversation is no longer productive, invite the individual to continue the conversation offline by providing them with a contact name and phone number for your customer service team. It’s never too late to change course on your digital marketing efforts. If you’re not seeing results for the time, resources and dollars you’re investing, it may be time to throw away some old habits and start with a clean slate.