As we leave a tumultuous year behind, people all over the world will make promises to improve themselves. Quitting smoking, joining a gym, eating more healthily, reading more - across the world people will try (and often fail) to stick to one promise for the entire calendar year. By the end of 2017 we’ll all be fitter, happier, and more intelligent. At least that’s what we tell ourselves.
In the world of digital marketing, though, companies can’t afford to abandon their resolutions as they look to stop making key mistakes in an increasingly competitive area. So, whether or not you manage to swap the burgers for the salad or the bar for the gym, ensure that your marketing teams stop doing the following things in the coming year.
It’s an unfortunate truth that some five times as many people read a headline as the actual body of a piece of content. David Ogilvy once said that ‘when you have written your headline, you have spent 80 cents out of your dollar,’ which is why companies employ clickbait tactics to entice visitors onto their site with often misleading or bombastic headlines. If you sell the story without giving away the key detail, you earn a visitor.
There has been something of a backlash among clickbait in recent years, though. The focus for digital marketing campaigns should be one of engagement rather than reach, as visitors drawn in by clickbait headlines will often leave immediately and with a poor opinion of the site itself. Facebook has begun taking action to limit the amount that clickbait articles show up on a user’s feed. Focus on creating content that offers value to the visitor, engages them, and encourages a return visit. Clickbait was a fad, customers deserve better.
2. Ignoring video
For the more astute digital marketing department, video will be deeply ingrained into any campaign. Such is the growth of online video that it now accounts for 50% of all mobile traffic. Improvements in technology now also mean that video is accessible to all companies, regardless of marketing budget.
Your company should be creating video. In fact, according to Forbes, including video in an email leads to a ‘200-300% increase in click-through rate.’ On social media, video posts ‘have 135% greater organic reach than photo posts.’ Video is no longer an add-on for marketing departments, it’s a fundamental pillar.
3. Underestimating social media
Ask 100 different marketing executives what their opinion on social is and you’ll get 100 different responses. It may seem appealing to have a wide reach on social, but without the tools to engage your followers the entire practice can be fruitless. Jessica Riches, social media strategist at LMW Labs, said: ‘Many marketers forget that social media is meant to be a space for dialogue and engagement, rather than simply broadcast.’
According to Statista, Facebook is seen as the most effective channel by small businesses, blog content is regarded as the most effective B2B marketing tactic, and the goal of all social is typically to increase exposure, for which it is a powerful tool. In 2017, don’t be tempted to abandon social, but similarly it’s important to approach it thoughtfully - engage with your audience, create video, and work to leverage your followers, no matter how great their number.
4. Obsessing over vanity metrics
One of the key mistakes digital marketing teams make is to obsess over vanity metrics - likes, comments, followers, etc. Though these can all be indicators of an effective strategy, they are not the end goal. Putting too great an emphasis on improving these vanity metrics is tempting, but for some time it has been proven that there are more effective ways of approaching digital marketing.
This year, spend less time obsessing over your company’s follower count or its monthly visitors, rather you should be setting clear goals for your site and business, and focusing on reaching those. Be it time on site, conversion rate, revenue per customer, or simply number of sales, focus on the metrics that will ultimately improve your bottom line.
5. Not hiring a content team
Though content marketing is by no means new, 2017 will see the technique continue to balloon. Some 200 million people now use ad blockers, and those who look to tackle this with content marketing experience 7.8 times more site traffic than non-leaders, according to Content Marketing Institute. Content marketing is often cheaper than outbound marketing, it has been proven to drive higher conversion rates, and 73% of major organizations hire someone to manage their content strategy.
Again, though, it’s important that your content actually engages your audience and encourages repeat visits. For this, it may be worth investing in a content team. Whether in-house or outsourced, creating dedicated, quality content will see not just traffic grow, but conversions too.