Workforce Management Specialist, Content & Consulting Manager at SwipeClock, a company that provides workforce management software to HR
My introduction to marketing was through a man named Richard, who freely shared his knowledge as a volunteer teacher. While a lot of people came to his classes, many of them dropped out with time. They repeatedly made the same mistakes. Sadly, these same mistakes are common when businesses first step into virtual marketing. There are five main reasons that a company typically fails at online marketing.
Analysis Paralysis: Too Much To Do So You Don’t Get Started
The checklist of items to do is never-ending: social media, analytics, ranking campaigns, backlinks, authority building, content and so on. Often, marketing departments look at everything that should be done and become paralyzed by the long lists because they don’t know where to start. Everything seems important.
The key to overcoming analysis paralysis is to embrace imperfection and get started. Don’t worry about the best order or going deep with each task. Instead, circle back as each process is started and defined. Don’t expect to conquer every item completely before you move on to the next. Online tools are interdependent and tend to grow as a unit. Social media will grow as you write more content and share it. Your SEO campaigns will do better as you gain authority from referral links.
It’s better to start imperfectly, improve and build than to wait for a perfect plan. Perfection is not as important as getting started.
Burning Out: Go Fast, Go Hard, Fizzle
Another mistake is the attempt to force results quickly. Online marketers often overwork to make up for lost time and then burn out. It’s vital not to do more than is sustainable in the long haul.
Instead, companies need to understand that it takes time to gain traction. Consistency is key. It takes search engines time to index new content. It takes time to build trust on social media and time to see which tactics work best in individual industries. A steady, sustainable pace is much more effective. Prepare for a marathon, not a 20-yard dash.
Mistaking Busy For Effective
In online marketing, there are hundreds of tasks to do. And just as you can become paralyzed from analysis paralysis, you can also lose focus through distraction.
The key is differentiating the important from the less important. Postpone everything less important. This is vital, even if something is urgent. Afterward, as time permits, supplement less important tasks. Maintain a focus list of three to four items that must be done and a second supplemental list of everything else that comes up during the day.
Another way that distraction occurs is through the lure of perfection. While working with Richard, we witnessed one company get so caught up in its blog format that they stopped publishing content. A content halt caused far worse damage than the “ideal” blog helped. This can happen with anything, from creating videos to posting at optimal times. It is more important to stay focused, even if you have to complete the task imperfectly.
Assuming You Already Know Everything
Regardless of the depth of your knowledge in online marketing, the field is constantly changing. Google constantly updates its algorithms to penalize and reward different website behavior.
New software and social trends affect consumer habits. Social platforms update what is allowed and favored within each platform. The internet is not a place for static learning. Daily learning and the ability to adapt are vital components to success. Every week, new social platforms are launched, link authority is updated and other changes are made. Don’t let this be discouraging. Embrace the challenge. Online marketing remains an exciting and growing field with endless potential.
Giving Up When Results Are Gradual
Online marketing is very different from traditional marketing because it takes months to gain traction but will also produce results for years to come. Unlike traditional advertisements, which may yield immediate results, online marketing depends on many factors and traffic grows slowly with time. This means that it also produces results long after the original activities are completed. If you’ve ever done a search for information and found an article written three to four years prior, then you’ve experienced this.
Too often, companies fail to fully commit to online marketing. After tentatively testing it for several months or even a year, they pull out of having an engaged online presence. One of the biggest mistakes they make is failing to recognize the gradual increase in traffic. Online success is much like a seed that has started to grow under the surface of the dirt. Just as the flower reaches the top of the soil and is ready to emerge, the company quits and never sees the success bloom.
Awareness of these common mistakes can help your company stay focused and plan for the long term. And with 81% of consumers researching online before making a purchase, it is vital to have an online presence.