December 18 2012

The Biggest Digital Mistakes You’ve Made This Year

As 2012 winds down and plans for 2013 are finalized, it’s important to look back at this year to see how you can improve your digital strategy.  As digital marketing changes faster than Lady Gaga’s outfits, it’s difficult to keep up, even for the best of us. But as George Santayana wisely said, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” Here’s what you might have done wrong this year:

You spent more on your cleaning service than your website

You hire professionals for every other aspect of your business so why should your digital presence be any different? If you are working with someone who offers bargain-basement sites and services, you’ll get exactly what you pay for. Invest properly in your website presence with a professional firm and it will pay off for your business.

You are ignoring social media

Facebook has 1 billion users. Twitter has 500 million users. Google+ has 400 million users. LinkedIn has 175 million users. Think about it. Those are huge numbers. Not every business should have an active presence on all networks but it’s assumed these days that your business will have some sort of presence on all of the major social networks.

The type of presence you have will be determined by your industry, your resources and your individual marketing plans. But the worst thing you can do is ignore the social world because, like it or not, you are living in it and so are your customers.

You are looking at social media the wrong way

Social media is one of many tools in your marketing arsenal, and it’s valuable for fostering your brand reputation, trying new things, communicating with your audience and making your brand approachable. But it’s not a magic potion, nor is it the answer to your marketing prayers. Invest in it, integrate it with your campaigns and measure its effectiveness. Just don’t put all your eggs in your social basket.

You ignored your mobile users

43 Americans will convert to smartphones in the minute you take to read this article. Even if mobile traffic to your business site is low right now, you need to cater to this audience. People are consuming their information on multiple devices across all industries and all regions in the world.

If you don’t have a separate mobile site or haven’t invested in responsive design, you are essentially telling your mobile audience that you don’t care enough to give them an adequate user experience. Value every visitor and your investment will be paid back in brand reputation.

You aren’t thinking about your content

People consume web content differently than print content. Web content needs to include certain characteristics and if you aren’t focused on these points, you are wasting your time.

  • Simplify:  People don’t spend a lot of time on websites so get to your point quickly. Your website is not a place to regurgitate your print brochure content.
  • Include searched keywords: Do your keyword research and include keywords - in a meaningful, legitimate manner – to support your organic search engine optimization goals. If you have more narrow goals, include a page for each keyword/phrase.
  • Use strong words: Compel people to take notice of your message. Integrate active words that grab people’s attention.
  • Have a clear call to action: Clearly state what you want visitors to do. Link to your call to action in multiple spots, and for goodness’ sake please don’t use “click here.”

You aren’t tracking properly

Define your goals for every digital initiative and track the initiative thoroughly so you know what worked and what didn’t. Compiling data without understanding its meaning is useless. If you are doing a Google AdWords campaign, link your campaign to your analytics, and review them often. If you are doing a print campaign, include a unique tracking URL so you can separately identify quantitative results. Whatever you do, track it, understand it and decide whether you would invest again if it was your own money.

You are too focused on numbers

Your manager wants to know how your initiatives are contributing to the company’s goals and panic sets in. You have all of your numbers but don’t truly know what they mean. Not every business can track their website to closed business but that doesn’t mean that the website and your digital campaigns aren’t successful. Your digital presence is the cornerstone of your company’s marketing and communications and not everything can be measured. That said, investing in brand measurement tools like Salesforce Marketing Cloud (formerly Radian 6) provide opportunities to understand how your audience perceives your brand.

You have a great site but didn’t think about the next steps

“If you build it, he will come.”  Maybe true for the field of dreams; not so much for your website. Redesigning your site will not necessarily bring visitors to it. That’s where marketing plays a role. From search engine marketing (SEM) to social media to integrated campaigns, a website is only successful if it is the cornerstone of your marketing plan.

A new year brings new opportunities to do things right. So look back, decide what you need to change, and march on to 2013 with a clear conscience!

posted by
Michelle Brown
Michelle Brown
VP of Sales & Marketing

ZAG Interactive is a full-service digital agency in Glastonbury, CT, offering website design, development, marketing and digital strategy to clients nationwide. See current job openings.