digital marketing strategies are possibly the best way of growing a business, especially a tech startup looking to reach a broad audience and scale with online product and service offerings. But the sad truth is that using a digital marketing strategy is not a guarantee of success.
It is difficult to determine what percentage of digital marketing strategies succeed or fail, since the definition of "success" varies (as we will see). However, it is reasonable to conclude that most digital marketing strategies do not reach their full potential, and a disproportionate number of strategies end up losing money for their respective businesses.
So why do so many digital marketing strategies fail?
First, we have to define what "success" is in digital marketing, and by the way, this is the first point of failure for emerging entrepreneurs. Too many people go into marketing without a clear definition of success of their own to guide the strategy. If you don't know what success looks like, how can you achieve it?
There are a few different ways to define marketing success, but the most common metric is return on investment, or ROI. ROI is a measure of how much money a strategy brought to your business, compared to how much you spent to achieve those results. A positive ROI means you made money, and the higher your ROI, the better. A negative ROI is a clear indication that some element of your strategy is not working.
However, you may be more interested in achieving a specific level of success; For example, you might want your marketing strategy to attract 100,000 new customers, regardless of how high or low the ROI is. The important thing is that you have a goal and a definition of success that drives you.
Similarly, many digital marketing strategies fail because they lack a coherent and global vision. A marketing strategy is a set of ideas and directives designed to help you achieve a goal. Within that strategy, there are many tactics you will use, such as email marketing or optimization search engine optimization (SEO).
Too often, marketers focus exclusively on tactics; they execute the work at ground level to bring new customers to the brand, but they don't have a "big picture" vision to tie all those tactics together. Without a foundation that provides a map for all of those individual tactics, those tactics will remain unguided and may fail.
Your company brand is at the heart of all your marketing, advertising, and core messaging—or at least, it should be. Throughout all of these materials, your brand should be front and center, and it should be presented in a consistent manner.
On a superficial level, you can think about your company name, identity in terms of colors, logo, and other visual features. But on a deeper level, you need to think about your core values, your tone, your voice, and how your brand differs from your competitors. These characteristics must shine through any other message you wish to present and must be consistent across all media and channels.
Modern digital marketing includes attention to a multitude of different channels, including email, social media, search engine results pages (SERPs), and banner ads on various websites. There are dozens of ways to reach your customers, and the most effective marketers know that you'll need a combination of them to get the best results.
However, there is a difference between adopting a true "omnichannel" strategy and simply investing in many different channels simultaneously. Well-executed omnichannel marketing strategies attempt to unify these channels and provide customers with a consistent overall experience. If each channel offers a different message and an experience so unique that it feels like a different brand, it won't work in your favor.
In an effort to see quick results or spend as little as possible, some brands succumb to investing in cheap or spammy marketing tactics. For example, they can buy backlinks with spam in an effort to boost your domain authority or buy an email list to send marketing emails to as many people as possible, even if they never signed up for those emails.
In the short term, some of these tactics may work. They provide decent results on paper. But in the long run, they almost never work. Eventually, your business could be penalized by Google or blacklisted by email service providers. And even if you escape that fate, your reputation can take a huge hit.
On a similar note, some digital marketing strategies fail because the company was not willing to invest enough to make the strategy work. Sometimes more money is needed to invest in quality work; a website designed for S/5,000 will probably look better and be more functional than one for S/500. Other times, the investment is a way to beat the competition. For example, if all your competitors pay S/1,000 per month on marketing in a specific channel, and you only pay S/100 per month, you are not going to win them. If you spend S/1,500 per month, you will almost certainly make it to the top.
In addition, many digital marketing strategies (such as SEO and social media marketing) take time to develop. If you only invest money for a month, you will never be able to see the true fruits of your labor.
Obviously, there's such a thing as investing too much, but investing too little can also be a death sentence.
Your startup is going to have competition, either now or later. Competing effectively is all about finding a way to compete indirectly. If you try to compete directly, you will be up against an entity that already has experience in this area or is willing to spend more than you do. Instead, try to compete in a way that renders your power useless.
For example, instead of competing to gain the attention of a national audience, try to attract a local audience. It may also appeal to a different target demographic.
Digital marketing depends on a continuous process of measurement, evaluation and adaptation. The more time you spend on marketing and advertising, the more you'll learn about your audience, your competition, and even your brand. With this increased knowledge, you will be able to spend money more efficiently and market "better".
This course requires your company to gradually increase its investment over time. If you invest too much, too fast, you'll be investing too much in an unproven strategy, with minimal knowledge to work with.
Marketing without measures is like throwing darts blindfolded. You can't see the target and you can't see if your shots are landing. Despite this, many startups are perfectly willing to treat their marketing strategies this way.
If you want to be effective, you need to measure everything and study those metrics. How much are you spending? How many people are you reaching? If you change a variable in your messaging or distribution, how do your engagement metrics change?
It's possible to market your business exclusively with an in-house team, but it's not always productive or efficient. Most of the time, it's best to work with a dedicated professional outside of your business, such as an agency marketing or a team of independent contractors. This way, your internal staff can stay focused on your core products and services, and can gain access to more dedicated specialists.
Marketing strategies must change if they are to succeed or remain successful. You must learn from the past, study changing competition, and consider adopting new technologies and new approaches. Otherwise, you will be left behind. Some digital marketing strategies fail simply because their implementers couldn't keep up with the latest changes.
Digital marketing can be tricky to do effectively, but digital marketing success is within the reach of most startups. By working hard to avoid these common mistakes, you'll have a much better chance of getting the results you want.