Jamie Scahill, Marketing Manager at event and ticketing agency Skiddle, outlines some of the most common digital marketing mistakes – and how to avoid them
SEO is probably the most cost-effective digital marketing technique. As it’s optimising a website for rankings, it’s a method that has long-term benefits. Compared with PPC, which delivers fast but carries risk and isn’t long-standing, SEO is potentially the best place to invest resources. However, as old SEO methods can now land a website with penalties that will lower its ranking in the search engine results pages (SERPs), marketers need to move away from the black-hat methods that were used in the past.
SEO now is all about content. Good content gets better search results, as it creates natural inbound and outbound links. This type of organic marketing is what all digital marketers should be doing. Like it or not, old SEO methods (such as paying for links which are considered spam by Google) are going to have a massive impact on the success of your campaign. Bad links will need to be disavowed at a later date if you can’t remove them yourself, which is not only time-consuming but risky for a website’s PageRank. Now a mixture of PR content – for example exclusive, advice-led articles for websites with good domains containing natural links – combined with SEO, is the way to go.
Prioritising the wrong metrics
It’s hard not to, but digital marketers will often spend more time than necessary analysing the wrong metrics. Knowing how users spend time on your site is definitely important, but spending hours trying to reduce page load speed, or trying to figure out time spent on site and page views, is a fruitless use of your time. It’s much more effective to look at cost-per-acquisition rates, as this will show which channels are driving traffic to your site successfully (or not), affecting the overall volume of traffic. This data can offer solid figures which, when incorporated into your strategy, could have a direct effect on your bottom line.
Having a one-size-fits-all approach
One of the most useful elements of digital marketing – as opposed to traditional marketing – is the ability to segment an audience to provide a more personal approach. Rather than sending out a blanket email marketing message, you should be segmenting the customers in your database into different blocks, which can be done manually through basic email service providers (ESPs).
A personalised approach is what consumers now expect. If you email a female customer about men’s clothing, for example, she is more likely to hit the unsubscribe button – understandably. Segmenting according to gender and age is a good first step. Then more complicated segmentation can be done to ensure customers receive emails about products and services they are actually interested in, which is much more likely to get them to convert than a standard, blanket email.
Not working closely with other teams
The SEO algorithm and a decent website go hand in hand. However, if you’re building links and pushing traffic to a website that’s not up to scratch, then all your efforts could be ineffective. You can do all the marketing and link-building in the world to drive traffic to a website and move up the rankings in SERPs, but users won’t convert once they land on the site if it’s difficult to navigate. In this case they will likely abandon their journey early on.
The biggest mistake you can make is driving traffic to something that doesn’t work properly. Work with the web developers closely throughout the design process. By doing so you can be sure that when you’re driving traffic it’s to the right landing pages and they’re easy to navigate. And in general, check that you will be sending customers to a user-friendly website.
Ultimately, marketers need to keep on top of the technologies and tactics driving personalisation. Consumers aren’t likely to come and find you unless your SEO is on point. Because of this other elements like email marketing and a decent website now need to be up to date and attractive if you want to increase conversions.