It’s the beginning of 2015, which means it’s the season of New Year’s resolutions. People are packing into gyms and filling their shopping carts full of healthy food. As you think about what you want to change in 2015, it may be a good time to turn your thoughts towards how you’re promoting your company online. Perhaps you’ve realized that you don’t have a digital strategy, and it’s time for you to put one into place. Or maybe you are already marketing your company online, but you’ve made some mistakes that are holding you back from real digital marketing success.
No matter how large or how small your organization, you’ve probably made at least one of these common digital marketing missteps. It’s time to take the opportunity to advance your digital marketing strategy in 2015 by eliminating these 5 common digital marketing mistakes.
Mistake #1: Creating Only a Narrow Range of Content
When you’re just getting started with digital marketing, it makes sense to experiment by creating just one type of content. However, as your company grows, you need to create different types of content to connect with potential customers across all points of the buying process.
For example, long-form content helps customers who are making a final decision about your product or services, so it’s a good idea to dive into longer blog posts on occasion, or to finally publish that e-book that’s been cooking in the back of your mind. Also, image-based and multimedia content attracts shares on the social networks your customers are typically found. To diversify your content marketing in 2015, try these strategies:
- Blog regularly. Unless you completely own your market, your business operates primarily offline, or your business is highly complex or confidential, you should be blogging. Blogging provides your customers with great content and can also improve your organic search rankings. In fact, business websites with blogs typically have 434 percent more indexed pages than business websites without blogs.
- Create in-depth content. In addition to blogging, consider developing more in-depth content for 2015, such as white papers or downloadable e-books. Customers who are close to making purchasing decisions need longer, in-depth content so that they can conduct research before making a purchase.
- Go multimedia. Add more image-based and multimedia content to the mix in 2015. Consider repurposing a blog post into a SlideShare deck, or publish a sharable infographic. Good videos that are less than five minutes long are content marketing gold. In fact, 73 percent of customers say that they’ve made a purchase after watching a video that explains a product. You could also host a free webinar or produce a webinar series for your customers who are at certain stages of your sales funnel.
Mistake #2: Not Amplifying Content After You Create It
To amplify is to make something larger, greater, or stronger. Amplifying your content extends its reach beyond the small core of people who are currently consuming it. Sometimes, amplification is about finding the right social network for your content. At other times, it’s about finding someone influential who’s willing to share it.
Start getting more bang for your content creation buck by amplifying your content in 2015. Here are some suggestions for making it happen:
- Learn which types of content work well on different social networks. How content performs on a social network depends greatly on each network’s purpose. For example, you wouldn’t post text-based content on Instagram, and you wouldn’t post a cat video on LinkedIn. Take the time to figure out where your customers hang out, and focus your social sharing efforts on those networks. With some research and experimentation (and analytics, which we’ll discuss later), you’ll figure out what content gets amplified on different social networks.
- Get influential people to promote and share your content. When someone highly influential who has a million or more followers shares your content, it benefits you more than a share from someone with 100 followers. Be grateful for the smaller shares, but don’t be afraid to target bigger fish. Follow influential people within your industry, share their content, interact on their blogs and in their social streams, and show them that your ideas are worth promoting.
- Repurpose evergreen content. If you’ve created a really good blog post that people can use any day of the year, revisit it from time to time. Update it with any new statistics or information. Then, re-promote it on social media or in marketing emails to get more mileage from a great post.
Mistake #3: Having a Self-Centered Social Media Strategy
Too many businesses forget the social component of social media. They post items to their networks, but they don’t interact with customers or industry thought leaders online. The most successful social marketers know that the social-media sphere is a generous and interconnected place. When you’re generous about promoting other people’s content, congratulating them on their successes, or sharing their scheduled events, others will do the same for your business.
Build better social media connections this year by taking these steps:
- Become a content curator. A museum curator is always looking for great finds to add to a museum. In the same way, you should be on your social networks and visiting great blogs, looking for content to share. You’ll show your followers that you stay current with what’s going on with your industry, and you’ll give them something of value without having to create the content yourself. Also, you’ll do the original creators a favor by sharing their work.
- Share user-generated content. If one of your customers has a great experience with your product and creates a piece of content about it, such as a blog post, a short video, or an image, then share it with your followers. You’ll show appreciation to the user who created the content, and you’ll help to build a sense of community among your followers. What’s the biggest bonus? Your fans create content for you. You get more exposure while doing less work.
Mistake #4: Neglecting Analytics Tools
Amplifying content isn’t just about what you post; it’s also about where and when you post it. Analytics tools give you the data you need to understand how your content connects with customers.
Too many businesses create social media posts or blog posts without tracking their performance. They post anything and everything without knowing what gets the most shares and the most views. To beat the competition, get analytical in 2015. Start with these tactics:
- Look at the numbers on social media. If you post to your social networks using a tool like HootSuite or Buffer, you get at-a-glance information about how your posts are performing. If you’re not using a social media management tool, look at the metrics provided by each social network. For example for your Facebook page, look at the analytics in your admin panel. If you’re a Twitter advertiser, Twitter card publisher, or verified Twitter user, visit your analytics dashboard.
- Use other analytics tools to understand your content’s reach. If you blog using WordPress.com, find your Site Stats and review them. Login, find “My Sites” in the top left corner, and view the stats for your site. Also, check stats related to your email marketing campaigns. Find out which types of campaigns are getting the most clicks.
- Look for patterns. The metrics that you see should unveil certain patterns. For example:
- Do you get more engagement when you share content at a certain time of day?
- Do some headlines and some styles of posts get more engagement than others?
- If you word a post in a certain way, such as by wording it as a question, do you get more clicks?
- Do some types of images perform better than others?
- Do some types of content get engagement on certain social networks but flop on others?
- Make changes based on those patterns. Change your marketing behaviors based on the patterns that you see. If posting on LinkedIn at 9 a.m. gets more of your connections to read your posts, then start scheduling LinkedIn posts at 9 a.m.
Mistake #5: Relying on a One-Size-Fits-All Marketing Experience
Your customers don’t fit neatly into a single category. Some are new while others have been with your business for a long time. They’re looking for different products and services from your company, and they have different motives for working with you.
Thanks to analytics, digital marketing gives you an unprecedented toolkit for getting to know your customers. They allow you to fine-tune your digital marketing efforts by catering your messaging and your content to each unique customer relationship. Building better customer relationships is the ultimate objective of all your digital marketing efforts. Here are some suggestions for 2015:
- Understand your typical customer. Analyze your current customers to create a buyer persona of the person or business that works with you. Include both demographics (age, gender, ethnicity, income levels, hobbies) and psychographics (why they use your products or the feelings associated with using your products).
- Start segmenting. B2C businesses have customers from different age groups. If you’re a B2B company, you might have clients from multiple industries. Ask yourself how these differences might affect how you market to different customers.
- Create multiple marketing strategies. If the idea of creating multiple digital marketing campaigns seems overwhelming, start with something simple. For example, start by differentiating how you market to potential customers from how you market to existing customers.
Here’s to a Great New Year for Your Business
Make it your New Year’s resolution to avoid these digital marketing pitfalls. And if you don’t have the time or personnel to deal with digital marketing strategy on your own, then consider hiring a marketing partner to help you build an optimal strategy that will fulfill your business goals for the year ahead.