24 November 2017

Digital Marketing Not Working? Here’s Why…


We’ve written about why organic social is lacking power and how inbound marketing is an amazing strategy for generating leads. We’ve also written about how organic social can be used effectively for different types of businesses. We like to promote the usage of paid media (yes, even display advertising!) and can’t seem to stop talking about SEO. There are so many paths to take with a digital marketing strategy, it’s easy to get confused. Of course, you could take the approach of doing just about everything. That must be a sure-fire way to ensure digital marketing success, shouldn’t it?

You’re on Facebook, you boost posts, you engage on Twitter, you have an AdWords account, you blog 4-8 times a month and you’ve even got email automation for your newsletter and sales process. But still, you’re not seeing results. So what’s going wrong? Why isn’t any of this working?

Even if you feel like you’re covering all the bases, your marketing may not be doing very well. There could be lots of reasons for this, frankly. More than we could probably list! From a strategy perspective, what follows are the most common reasons your digital marketing isn’t performing as you would expect it to.

Shotgun approach

A very likely reason for many in-house marketers to experience little success with their digital efforts is that they’re simply attempting too much and don’t have the resource to devote proper attention to every channel. This is an issue of quantity over quality. The flawed thinking is that more must be better and that if you do a little more of everything, some of it must be right. But your blogging output and ppc spend mean little if they’re not generating ROI.

embarassed woman

It’s ok, we’ll get through this together.

Unfortunately, this type of plate-spinning strategy is bound to work against you. Many channels require constant upkeep and can quickly get out of hand if not maintained. If you’re not confident you’ll be able to give every channel its due attention, it’s best to reassess how much is on your plate and consider sharing the workload. After all, passing off copious keyword research and search query reporting to a fresh-faced executive is practically a tradition.

Set it and forget it

I have a bread machine. A few weeks ago, I threw together a quick white loaf. It had been awhile since I had used the machine, but I knew the recipe and measuring out the ingredients was straightforward. Four hours later, the smell of fresh bread was drifting around my flat and I practically ran to the machine when it finally emitted that glorious end-of-cycle ding. To my absolute anguish, what came out of the tin looked like I had baked a cube of playdough. The loaf was a third of the size it should have been and while its crust was golden and beautiful, the inside was a dense, claggy disaster.

The failure of the bread to rise was my own doing. The yeast was inactive (I should have checked) and the dough never rose (again, I should have checked). Digital marketing, like bread making, is not a set-it-and-forget-it task. It requires correct set up and supervision. Following are a few egregious errors that occur far too often due to lack of proper attention:

  • Setting up a PPC account and then “letting it run” without ever adjusting your bids or keywords
  • Deciding on a social strategy and sticking to it because it’s all “best practice”
  • Not reviewing analytics and your website traffic because it doesn’t feel like it’s really your job
  • Trying something once and deciding it’s not for you without exploring other techniques or seeking help for improvement (I’m looking at you, abandoned display and paid social accounts)

You must test, you must track, you must analyse, and you must test again. There’s no use doing something without having any clue as to how it’s coming along.

cake comparison

To keep in line with the baking train of though: on the left, a cake I destroyed. Utterly. Probably because I wasn’t paying attention and I let it explode out of the pan or the oven was too hot or I didn’t use the correct loaf tin. I’ll never know because I didn’t take good enough notes when I was baking. On the right, a cake a conquered. There was a lot of research involved.

Lack of expertise

Things can be a bit tougher than they look at the outset. Remember those digital marketing unicorns we wrote about a few weeks ago? The ones who flit effortlessly between design, data analysis, and creative content generation? It’s ok if you’re not one of them (I’m certainly not!) and it’s ok if no one on your team is either. Digital marketing can be a tough row to hoe, especially since there is so much to know about so many different disciplines.

Your digital marketing strategy may be suffering simply because you need a little bit more help or training in one or two areas. Self-confidence can get you through many things in life, but it’s not going to help you research and create an effective SEO or paid search keyword strategy. If you need help, ask for it.

Sending Mixed Signals

There are two very different mistakes when it comes to creating messaging for different digital marketing channels. Firstly, you could completely abandon all concern for audiences and buyer personas and use the same exact messaging across all platforms. This would be mistake option #1. Conversely, you could create messaging and copy on-the-fly every time you write a new ppc ad, post to a social channel, or create a new landing page. This would be mistake option #2 and, actually, would likely be a much worse mistake than the first.

A cohesive marketing message is crucial to seeing success with your digital marketing strategy. This doesn’t mean you have to use the exact same copy everywhere. What it does mean is that you need to consider the brand image and values you’re trying to communicate. Otherwise, what you risk is a jarring or confusing user experience.

Say you write a PPC ad that features a USP of yours. But the landing page for the ad mentions a completely different USP, or maybe none at all. What is the user supposed to take away from this? Unbounce calls this “message matching”.  Consistent (or at least progressive) messaging from one part of the user journey to another is key in order to keep potential customers engaged and assured.

Interested in what this might look like in the wild? We’ve researched two British brands that are tackling the world of digital marketing with gusto and dissected what we think they’re doing right and where we think they could improve. Download our free case study to read up on how real-life brands are taking on the challenges of digital marketing.


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