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The 7 Mistakes That Business Owners And Big Organizations Do Regularly That Kill Their Digital Marketing Investments

I have been focusing most of my articles and podcasts since my recent start on things like how to choose a digital marketing agency, or what business owners should do when hiring a digital marketing agency. And I think I captured most of my thoughts without being repetitive. But it occurred to me that there is a phase in the process where the businesses are obliviously happy with the digital marketing execution they are getting from their in-house staff or their digital marketing agencies.

I think this (educating business owners) is an underserved segment in terms of value adding content. Very few digital marketing agency founders take the time to communicate with and educate businesses who are already in bed with a digital marketing agency because the effort and time it takes to get the business as a client is too long. And therefore many of us don’t invest the time to educate and add value.

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I believe lots of business owners need to be educated on how to get the most of their digital marketing efforts (irrespective of if said efforts are done in-house or through an Agency).

If you are doing any, a combination of, or all of these mistakes, please take the time to sort them out as these mistakes will kill your investment.

Here are 7 mistakes that are killing your digital marketing investments:  

 

Your Digital Marketing Components Are Operating In Silos

If you are doing your own digital marketing, then you know there are different components like SEO, Social Media, eMail, etc. What happens often time is that there is no link between what you are doing for each of these components. Your social media posts are going in one direction, your paid ads are going in a different direction and there is no link between them. This also happens when you employ 2 or more digital marketing agencies where one is handling social media, another one is handling paid ads, and another is handling SEO. The agencies will not sit together to align their digital marketing efforts. It will be on you to do so. Which means you will take time from running your business efficiently to align and coordinate between the different agencies.

Ways you could fix this:

  1. Reduce the number of agencies you are dealing with and go with one solid agency that is able to handle all your needs
  2. Hire/Promote one of your staff members into a position where they are coordinating the efforts of the agencies with your business efforts.
 
 

Imprecise & Inaccurate Personas

Some digital marketers call them avatars. Personas (or avatars) are basically profiles of the different types of customers. I like to attach a name and an image that represents that profile as accurately as possible.

To give you an example, lets say you run a beauty spa. For the sake of simplicity, you have 3 different personas:

– Persona 1: We will call her Ashley.

Ashley is a young working woman between the ages of 20 and 30. Most likely without kids. She works hard and plays hard. She tends to come for a relaxing/unwinding massage session midweek. She enjoys going out on weekends to a fancy restaurant or to a lounge, so she will want to look her best so she tends to come for some hair styling and make up the evenings of Fridays and Saturdays. She loves using Instagram especially during lunch hour and after work.

– Persona 2: We will call her Margret.

Margret is a stay at home mom between the ages of 25-35. She has at least one kid with her so she is always either at home or partaking in activities to entertain the child during the day. She only visits your spa on the mornings of Fridays and Saturdays (or Saturdays and Sundays if you are in the west) during which time the husband is looking after the child. When Margret visits your spa she always goes for the full treatment to reward herself for her efforts during the week. She usually goes on facebook and Instagram after the kids are asleep.

– Persona 3: We will call her Nicole.

Nicole is a stay at home mom who is mostly 30 years old and above. Her kids are all in school so she has the entire morning to herself. She most likely participates in a morning activity like going to the gym and hanging out with her girlfriends over coffee and some pastries. She usually visits your spa after the gym and before hanging out with her girlfriends. She usually gets her hair styled and nails done and does not go for any of the fancier services. Nicole loves spending time on facebook while she is out with her friends and when she comes back home before the kids come back from school.

Having personas and updating them regularly to represent your clients is very important as it allows you to know who to target, when to target them and with what you can target them.

How many personas should you have? It really depends on a lot of factors. The data you currently have and how much more you can get from your existing customers (through surveys for example). What is really important is to know the distinguishing factors that set them apart. In our example above the distinguishing factor is their behavior based on their life stages.  

 

Poorly Defined Funnels

One of the things you should be running is a sales/lead generation funnel to get new customers. One thing that happens often with businesses is that they do not have a funnel that speaks to the different potential customers. There are a few reasons for this but I am going to list the 2 most prominent ones:

  1. Poorly defined personas (which we addressed in the previous point)
  2. Cutting corners (ie trying to save money) by trying to cast a wide net hoping that a general message will attract new leads

Example of the 1st reason looks something like this. You are trying to target an Ashely, but because you really don’t have a good grasp of who Ashley is and how she behaves, you start serving ads on facebook only and during the day (feel free to scroll back up to see who Ashely is and how she behaves). And therefore everything that is built in the funnel based on that, goes out of whack.

I will address an example of the 2nd reason why businesses have poorly defined funnels by explaining the 4th mistake on our list.

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Inflexibility Adapting/Changing Funnels Based On New Data

One of the things that attracted me to Digital Marketing is the availability of data. Everything you do yields data. How many clicks, what day is best, what hour is best, what audience worked, how much time did they spend, how much money did they spend, etc. Most beginners spend a lot of time trying to craft a few “immaculate” personas based on their general understanding of the business (ie without looking at actual data, speaking to customer, or testing) and then create a funnel which they try to forcefully make work. They refuse to reconsider the funnel either because they are very blinded by their desire to be right, or because they don’t want to spend smartly to continuously test and adjust their approach believing that it is a waste of money.  

 

Not Using Your Current Customer Database To Improve The Business

If you have an existing customer database and you have clients coming to your business, you are sitting on a gold mine of untapped potential. The amount of knowledge you can extract is almost limitless. Imagine being able to continuously refine your personas, or being able to figure out what part of your communication appealed to your clients and which part did not appeal to them. Or maybe there is a communication channel or a platform that you are currently underestimating which you shouldn’t

Imagine your Customer Relations Management system allows you to track what services your clients asked about but did not buy during their visit and then being able to target them with a reminder or a discount to come and try that service they inquired about.

Sit down and go through the data you have. It takes time but you can get a lot of valuable insights and find opportunities to generate more business without having to invest a lot to acquire that additional Dirham or Riyal.  

 

Thinking Very Small

I am referring to thinking small from a digital marketing perspective. Businesses usually think small with digital marketing because they don’t know what to do or they don’t know what they are doing (whether in house or through an agency) therefore they feel like the results they are getting are not worth the investment they are making.

The problem with thinking small is that it is a self-fulfilling prophecy. You do not do the right investment in the right digital marketing plan, so the results are disappointing and therefore you think to yourself that I need to be careful with what I spend on digital marketing because this is not living up to the hype. And that decreased investment yields weaker results and the cycle repeats itself until you reach a point where you no longer invest any time or energy in digital marketing.  

 

Poor & Value Lacking Content

Content is KING! I could list a bunch of statistics on how much content is being pushed online, but I think we all know that already based on the amount of content we consume online.

Before I started Digitopia.Marketing, I wanted to get a feel of what is going on with small and medium businesses, so I spent a good month going through different businesses and their online presence. I was baffled to see how weak, boring and value lacking their content was

I don’t want to only see Before and After Images. I don’t want to see how much your services cost as an Instagram. This is not going to get anyone to share your content or talk about it.

Solution: talk about your area of expertise. I usually ask business owners if they were to talk for a few hours straight about a topic what would it be. They usually list 2 or 3 topics. One of the topics they are willing to talk about for hours is their business. So talk about that. If you are a lawyer, talk about some of the challenging cases you handled and how you strategized to win them. If you are a plastic surgeon, talk about the different types of procedures that are available for a specific problem and how to choose the best procedure for based on the needs of the patient. Create the content in the format you like. If you feel comfortable doing videos, do that! If you are more into writing, then do that. It is very easy to repurpose the content into different formats so just create a content plan and start creating the content.

Don’t get me wrong, the customer who is interested in microblading or losing weight will want to see before and after images, but also they will want to know that you are an expert and that you are giving them value.

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One thing I heard once and got stuck in my head is that when you save money in the bank, it does not mean you are protecting your money, you are actually losing money. Money that is saved in a bank account does not grow to offset inflation for example.

This in a way applies to your the digital marketing efforts. If you are not doing anything at all, you are losing to your competitors who are engaging with their audiences and generating new leads. And if you are doing something, you probably just keeping your head above water offsetting some of what your competitors are doing. What you need to do as a business owner is to really step up your digital marketing efforts so that you can get ahead.

I would love to hear your thoughts on this, so please don’t be shy and leave a comment or a question

Haithem Zaidan
Founder of Digitopia.Marketing – Your Digital Marketing Chaperon

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