The 3 Most Common Mistakes in Digital #Marketing by Startups by @adamlundquist
You have reached the point where another cup of coffee won’t make a difference. In fact, a whole pot wouldn’t give you the energy you need to complete all of your digital marketing tasks.
You are mentally tired in ways you have never experienced in your life and there is still so much to do. Even after writing the blog, designing banner ads, writing the weekly email update, responding to tweets, creating a YouTube video, and joining LinkedIn groups – the list of digital marketing tasks for your startup continues to grow rather than shrink.
Yet, the list of leads and customers does not keep up with the frenetic pace of your digital marketing.
This is a problem for many startups.
To really take your digital marketing to a level that produces results– for people not just to receive your digital marketing messages but to get excited, qualified leads – you not only have to execute your digital marketing tasks correctly you have to avoid digital marketing mistakes.
Here are three of the most common mistakes in digital marketing by startups, all of them are correctable and fixing any or all of them can have a huge impact on your digital marketing return on investment.
Mistake 1: Not Focusing Your Digital Marketing On Business Objectives
If your startup is posting on Facebook, you need to defend why your startup chooses to spend their time and energy on that digital marketing activity from a business perspective. It may be great for your ego that you got 10 shares on a post, but how do those shares actually lead to profit?
Don’t forget that just because you are an amazing tech startup that you are also still a business.
Just like any other business, your startup needs to achieve revenue. The way to make achieve this revenue with digital marketing is to have all of your activities either achieve or move users towards achieving concrete business objectives.
The best way to correct the mistake of digital marketing without business objectives is to create a marketing funnel. Since not all of your digital marketing results in an immediate sale, this marketing funnel will have a series of steps, each one of which is a small business objectives (getting an email address, users filling out forms, etc.) which lead to your ultimate business objective which is usually a sale.
Once you have mapped out your marketing funnel, you have shifted your mindset towards viewing your digital marketing through a business lens. Use this lens to see what digital marketing activities actually move the needle. If the digital marketing activity does not move users towards your business objective, you can either stop spending your time and money on that particular activity or reconfigure your strategy and test to see if it is possible to achieve business objectives with it.
- A good example of how to create your marketing funnel via HubSpot.
- Defining quality versus quantity for business objectives via Nerds Do It Better (my company)
Mistake 2: Trying To Market On Too Many Channels
Instead of trying to utilize a selection of digital marketing channels effectively, startups often attempt to have a presence on every channel and end up executing them all poorly.
This is how it happens:
You sign up your startup for accounts in all of the social networks and frantically drop in, make a lot of noise, and do not interact according to the norms and the standards of that particular channel. Instead of adding value to the conversation, your startup looks like a jerk and turns potential customers off.
The mistake is that your presence on these networks is sporadic and doesn’t allow you to understand the community and authentically connect with the users. You shouldn’t necessarily be sending the same message on Twitter as you would on email or Facebook or Instagram. However, you do not have the time nor the staff to interact on all of the networks in a way that engages visitors and moves your startup towards business objectives.
The best way to correct this mistake is to begin your digital marketing with one or two channels and spend your time and effort becoming industry leaders on that channel. Once you have mastered a select group of channels, you may want to expand, or you may find that you can sustain your startup’s growth on those one or two channels.
To choose the optimal channel for your startup, find out which channels your customers already frequent. Research and spend time on those channels to become a valuable member of the community that adds value with your digital marketing messages.
- Choosing the right social networks via Search Engine Land
- Creating more than social media noise via Scott Stratten
Mistake 3: Trying To Market To Everyone
If you attempt to target everyone, you target no one. This is a mistake that I learned early on (the hard way!).
The average consumer is exposed to 5,000 marketing messages per day, which means your digital marketing messages need to stand out by being the most tailored to your audience. If your startup attempts to market to an audience that is too diverse with a wide range of wants, needs, and desires you will be unable to craft digital marketing messages that resonate with anyone. Additionally, with this large audience your marketing messages is competing against a much larger pool of competitors. You want to target a narrow audience (sometimes called a niche) and create messages tailored to them.
You can narrow your target audience by various demographics and psychographics. Demographics are quantitative variables such as age, gender, income, location, and income. Psychographics are qualitative measurements and are often self-defined such as fans of the Patriots, investors, or environmentalists.
Narrowing your message down creates a feeling for that audience member that it is just for them. For example, if you are a startup that provides social media marketing to Crossfit gyms you could narrow your targeting by simply changing the title of your blog, if it was originally titled 7 Things Your Business Needs To Know About Marketing, it would be more tailored by changing the title to 7 Things Your Gym Needs To Know About Facebook Marketing and would be best tailored by titling it 7 Things Your Gym Needs To Know About Facebook Marketing. Even though CrossFit gym owners are business owners, narrowing and tailoring the message makes it resonate more with them.
From experience I have found that tailoring marketing messages to a narrow audience:
- Increases the click-through rates of PPC ads (which increases their quality score and lowers the cost per click)
- Increases the return on ad spend
- Increases email open rates
- Increase the amount of feedback on the social networks
Bonus tip: It is important to think about who your target market actually is. For example, if your startup is a site that connects tutors with underperforming school children, initially you may create digital marketing messages tailored to the kids who are underperforming. However, the kids aren’t the ones with the purchasing power: your actual audience is the parents. You would want to target parents of underperforming kids for your marketing with messages that resonate with them.
As a startup, you have a limited budget and limited time to perform your digital marketing. You do not have the financial and staff cushion of larger companies and must be especially careful to avoid mistakes. By tying your digital marketing activities to business objectives, choosing your digital marketing channels specifically, and targeting a specific audience, you avoid three of the most common mistakes startups make with digital marketing and will begin to see profits increase.
What is the biggest digital marketing mistake your startup made and what lesson did you learn from it?
Adam Lundquist (@adamlundquist) is the CEO of Nerds Do It Better, an Internet advertising agency for small and medium sized businesses. He has been featured in The Harvard Gazette, Search Engine Journal, PPC Hero, Certified Knowledge, KISSmetrics, Mtv, Vh1, Sports Illustrated, and Moz. He is the author of the eBook: Make Internet Advertising Work For Your Small Business. 5 Steps To Find, Cultivate and Market To New Customers.