When working for an agency, it should come as no surprise that you’re exposed to a wide set of client scenarios.
There are those approaching you at the very beginning of their digital journey, as they launch new businesses or digitize existing ones. You have teams that have begun to tackle digital marketing tactics themselves, only to find campaigns falling flat and lacking in optimization. And occasionally, you’ll even have businesses with fully functioning and effective digital processes under their belt, simply unable to expand their efforts without the assistance of a third arm.
This kind of perspective — across the good, the bad, and the ugly — provides a unique vantage point into key program differentiators. Specifically, the missteps that can leave a business spinning its wheels and wasting resources.
Here are nine common content marketing mistakes to avoid.
Creating Too Few (Or Too Many) CTAs
With so many moving parts at play in perfecting your business’ online presence, it’s no surprise that one of the most common content marketing mistakes involves lackluster calls to action (CTAs). In some cases, you’ll see teams so wrapped up in creating the right message, that they fail to include any kind of actionable next step for audiences.
A call to action can be realized in any number of ways.
It could be the “Sign Up Now” button of a newsletter signup box, or the “Book Now” option found on a service page. The point is to be specific and direct with whatever direction you’re providing to visitors; with so few seconds to push them through the funnel, there’s literally no time for ambiguities.
On the other end of the spectrum, it’s also worth noting that too many CTAs can also hurt conversion rates. Especially as it relates to campaign landing pages, approach CTAs with the mindset that with one page comes one central purpose.
Avoid muddying the decision waters for audiences with focus and intention around the idea that sometimes less really is more.
Setting an Unrealistic Budget
Setting an unrealistic, or nonexistent, digital marketing budget is a surefire way to leave your team at an impasse. Before activating any sort of strategy, give weight to the planning process. Set goals, evaluate the input and results from past initiatives, and set spend estimates around every aspect of your digital marketing strategy: SEO, advertising, social media, and content creation.
Consider the following questions as you assess your team’s digital marketing budget:
- What design elements will be required in conjunction with content creation hours (e.g. graphics, video)?
- Are there any third party tools that will need to be purchased for managing tasks like, keyword research, content scheduling, analytics, and content curation?
- Should money be set aside for any freelance and/or full service marketing agency assistance? From a time standpoint, is the internal team properly staffed to achieve necessary results?
De-emphasizing Your Website for Social Channels
Maintaining a social presence for your business is certainly important, but your social media channels shouldn’t serve as a website substitute.
Recent scandals with Facebook data privacy and fake news are prime examples of just how little control businesses actually have over their Pages and advertising programs. At any point in time, social networks are able to change the rules. They could even close up shop.
Consider this: if any social platform were to fail to exist tomorrow, would your digital marketing team be sent into a tizzy? If the answer is “yes”, it’s time to put some more thought into how you could better use your brand’s website as a lead generator.
Your website, after all, is a piece of the puzzle that you have the greatest control over.
Failing to track analytics is one of the most common website mistakes we see. And trust us, we get it. With everything on your team’s plate, revisiting data to set benchmarks and influence future campaigns is such an easy line item to skip over.
However, successful digital marketing programs are not a factor of burn and churn. They’re about research, thoughtful creation, celebrating successes, and learning from the failures. If you’re not setting time aside after every campaign launch to discuss metrics as they relate to end goals, you’ll eventually find yourself with little ground to stand on once management starts questioning ROI.
Targeting the Wrong Audiences
You could have the most well-developed, thorough, and engaging piece of content on any given topic online. But if you’re a) failing to optimize it for organic discovery and/or b) not getting it in front of the right audiences — consider your team’s efforts moot.
In terms of audiences, the first step in targeting properly comes down to simply knowing who your content is most likely to resonate with. You’re likely already creating content with these people in mind, so make sure to follow through on the promotion end with an understanding of which channels will work in your favor based on audience.
With the right networks in mind, you can then explore targeting strategy based on the capabilities of each social media advertising platform.
Blogging for the Sake of Blogging
As mentioned above as a culprit behind targeting the wrong audiences is the failure to optimize for organic discovery (i.e. SEO). It’s far from enough to meet some made up quota of blog posts needed every week and expect to see visitors flood in.
If that is indeed your strategy in the present, stop. Seriously. Stop. You’re just spinning your wheels at this point.
Blogging is not about putting any and every word to a page. There are technical aspects — the ease or difficulty of ranking for keywords, internal linking, search volume — that should be accounted for when building out any piece of content. Not to mention the length and quality of a blog post itself as it relates to meeting an audience’s needs and answering their questions.
Pushing Your Product Too Heavily
We won’t belabor this point too much because, honestly, it should go without saying. If a visitor has little to no prior knowledge of your brand and/or product, telling them to buy it over and over is not going to yield the results you’re hoping for.
This is the whole idea behind content marketing. Through content, you create experiences for people at every stage of the customer journey — from awareness, to interest, to conversion. At each checkpoint, different needs and questions are held, which is why one message (i.e. “Buy Now”) won’t suffice.
You need to nurture buyers along the path and convince them of what they don’t yet know: why your brand is different from the rest.
Final Thoughts: Don’t Make These All Too Common Content Marketing Mistakes
Digital marketing is literally what you make of it. Jump head first without a proper plan or idea of why you’re even doing, and prepare for results that reflect that. Heck, sometimes even with the best laid plans, you might still come up short. But as long as you have a solid foundation to build upon, in time, the pieces are much more likely to fall into place.