AddThis Academy

An ever-growing library of resources to help you become a better online marketer.

6 Digital Marketing Fails (and How to Avoid Them)

If you have questions about digital marketing for small businesses, you’re not alone. There’s plenty to think about as you craft a successful strategy—one that uses the right platforms, connects with the right audience, and accomplishes your specific goals. We’ve highlighted some common blunders for you to avoid and gathered a few well-tested tips to help you win at online marketing.

1. Not Thinking About the Mobile Experience

According to 2019 data, more than half of all global web traffic happens on mobile devices. Slow websites and clunky checkout processes will alienate mobile users, causing them to abandon your site. Mobile users gravitate toward local searches and smooth website experiences, not to mention action-oriented content with quick answers.

To retain users and increase mobile conversions, invest in a responsive website that adapts to desktop and mobile users. Even small details like the structure of your menu or the size of click-through buttons have an impact on mobile shopping. Another successful strategy is to offer an app with staying value, one that consumers will want to download and keep.

2. Oversimplifying SEO

While it’s well-known that SEO is integral to a modern business’s success. too many fixate on keywords as the central pillar of SEO success. Google’s algorithm evolves constantly, and there’s much more at play than just keyword concentration. The first five organic results in Google’s rankings claim 67% of searcher click-throughs, so use a holistic, strategic approach of SEO to help grab a spot at the top.

You could browse an extensive list of Google’s ranking factors or consult an SEO professional about your unique circumstances. Primarily, you’ll want to focus on providing high-quality online solutions and intuitive online experience to a specific group of searchers. Do some digging to determine how users interact with your site, then prioritize your fixes to respond to common user problems.

Consider some other SEO-friendly fixes, such as including photos or videos on your site. Keyword relevance and density still matter, but excessive or unnatural usage will swing your ranking in the other direction. HTTPS ranks better than unsecured sites, as do sites with a “Contact Us” page and plenty of fresh, high-quality content that’s updated on a regular basis. These are only a few examples of SEO-savvy techniques, so find the ones that work best for you!

3. Targeting Everyone and No One

Launching a generic digital campaign is the same as launching no campaign at all. Though it may seem counterintuitive to “ignore” some of your possible customers, it’s much more profitable to focus on a very specific slice of your market. Gather all possible data—what type of consumer invests in your services regularly and why? Are you a solution, an indulgence, or something else?

The more you know about your consumers, the more successful your digital marketing will be. Based on a knowledge of your market, you can pick which social media platforms to use, what kinds of ads to run, and what types of content to create. Don’t hesitate to go niche—it’ll foster deeper connections with the consumers most important to your business, not to mention boost your SEO appeal.

4. Overlooking the Power of Email Marketing

Email is less flashy than banners and Facebook ads, but neglecting email campaigns is still one of today’s biggest marketing mistakes. Research is encouraging and shows that for every $1 marketers spend on email, the average ROI is $38. Providing you do it well, there are few better ways to drive users to your site and increase conversions.

If you’re feeling unsure about how to improve your email campaign, check out these exemplary marketing emails for some inspiration. The best emails provide value to your customers in a variety of ways. Coupons, promotions, gifts, sales, and limited-time offers to reward customers and help increase brand loyalty. In addition, emails with relevant information, useful tips, or effective storytelling offer informational value to customers and build your credibility.

5. Failing to Update Your Blog

There’s been plenty of talk about the power of social media marketing, and we don’t disagree! But it’s still a mistake to shift all online marketing to social platforms and neglect your company blog. Blogs are an ideal place to post relevant, useful content that boosts your SEO ranking and attracts new customers as they research your field. Blogs are a natural way to lead users to your site, bringing them one step closer to making a purchase with you.

Ideally, your blog and social media marketing work together in one cohesive campaign. After all, if you’re posting consistent content on your blog, why do double the work to create different stuff for your social accounts? It’s smart marketing to share across all channels by cross-posting your blog articles and adding accessible share buttons. Good blog content is still a pillar of successful online marketing.

6. Overspending and Under-evaluating

Another typical marketing mistake is designating an excessive budget and then failing to conduct an adequate review of your campaign once it’s done. This point isn’t to say that capital is unnecessary, because it’s essential! Choosing the right funding option makes a difference, and so does following through on your investment and ensuring that your marketing campaign brought you a healthy ROI.

Before even beginning a digital marketing campaign, choose specific metrics to evaluate your success. Are you trying to boost your click-through rate (CTR)? Conversions? Increase page views and emails opened? During and after the campaign, study the changes in those key areas. You might also consider sending a survey to customers or using analytic software like Google Analytics.

Steer Clear of the Pitfalls to Stay Ahead

With a little extra planning, you can sidestep these common marketing blunders and achieve online success. A few simple techniques, such as optimizing for the mobile experience and diversifying your SEO strategy, can increase your organic traffic. Quality content on your blog and marketing emails can engage customers on your site so that when it comes time to look over your campaign, you’ll have plenty to celebrate. 


Madison Crader is a digital journalist who specializes in helping small businesses and entrepreneurs leverage technology to achieve success.