If one of the many hats you wear in your e-com business is "marketing manager" then you've probably had plenty of days where you felt that all your time and effort has been falling on deaf ears.
Nowadays, it's easier than ever to DIY your marketing online. Platforms are simple to learn, ad costs are much lower than traditional advertising, and there's a wealth of knowledge at your fingertips to help you learn. But devising and executing your own marketing strategy can still be risky business if you lack time, experience and expertise. The digital marketing landscape has its fair share of pitfalls.
To help you avoid some of the most common of those pitfalls, we've put together a list of the top four mistakes we see brands making with their online marketing. These mistakes all end up in lost opportunities that'll have you feeling like you're taking one step forward and two steps back. If you're no stranger to the frustration of spending too much time and energy on your marketing with little to show for it, read on - you might find that you've been making some of these simple errors.
Time flies. Really flies. It's not uncommon to forget to post for a day or two, then suddenly realise two whole weeks have gone by without any new content for your business.
Posting regularly can greatly improve your content's performance, and helps your followers know when to expect fresh content from you. Regular posts will keep your brand in people's feeds, and people's minds, and give new audiences more opportunities to discover you through your posting.
Failure to maintain a consistent stream of content can give the impression that your content is out of date and your brand presence is not lovingly maintained. This can look unprofessional and erode confidence in your business before you even get to connect with your reader.
At the moment, most marketing gurus will give you different versions of what's the ideal posting frequency. This might vary depending on your audience, your product, or your platform. But ultimately, your main concern should be consistency.
If you only have enough time, content or resources to create one post a week, then be realistic and stick to a goal of one weekly post. Trying to post daily, if it's not realistic for you, will only end up in frustration, burning through all your content at once, or being disheartened by long lapses in this unrealistic posting schedule when you simply cannot abide by it.
Decide on a realistic posting goal and put aside a block of time each week or each month to schedule your posts on each platform.
Many platforms will allow you to schedule posts ahead of time within the platform itself, or you can use a social media management program to schedule your posts across multiple platforms from the same hub. This means your time is used efficiently, your content creation time can be scheduled into your working week, and you'll never be relying on inspiration to strike, or remembering to create a post on each of your chosen posting days.
Ignoring Your Page's Analytics.
All platforms give some level of performance data to their users, but we often speak to business owners and even marketers who rarely (sometimes never) look at these important stats.
You don't need to be a data analyst to use these numbers to improve your marketing, and these key stats can be very helpful when it comes to deciding what to post for peak performance.
Check your page insights regularly so you can begin to understand what is best resonating with your audience, and hone-in on that type of content in your future marketing. For example, if you see that videos get much greater engagement than photos, you know that investing a little more time creating videos will be worthwhile.
Or, perhaps you see that product shot gets lots of comments, but only half as many clicks through to your website as how-to video - this shows you that, while lots of people love carefully-planned product shots, your actual potential customers are more likely to take action on your website when you're engaging them with an educational video.
Maybe, every time you post a picture with text, your engagement is always lower than those without it; well, now you know it's a better idea to leave the text for your captions.
Your analytics are like a direct line to the hearts and minds of your followers, don't ignore their signals.
Not Using Facebook / Instagram Ads.
Let's be honest, it's pretty rare these days to reach a decent percentage of your followers with organic posting. More than ever, businesses have to "pay to play," but the costs of advertising on social media are still a drop in the ocean when compared to traditional advertising channels like TV, magazines, wedding expos or wedding directories. Facebook and Instagram's top priority is protecting the user experience, which means it prioritises posts from friends and family, and posts that have extremely wide-reaching appeal (like viral videos).
If your business' content doesn't fall into those categories, don't worry, you can still buy space in your customer's feeds for as little as a few dollars a day.
Social Media ads are extremely affordable and provide you with a wealth of valuable data. Relying only on organic reach is a lost opportunity that's sure to cost you more than it saves, in the long run. Understanding how to craft, manage and optimise a paid campaign is key to getting your money's worth, so it's usually a more worthwhile spend if you invest in a specialist to run campaigns for you. It costs more this way, but your returns will be much greater and the service should pay for itself. But, if you've got plenty of time and patience, there are many fantastic online courses and mentors who can help you learn the ropes.
Thinking that Traffic = Customers.
Getting traffic through to your website is definitely a big plus, but it's not the same thing as generating real leads and paying customers.
A lot of your marketing strategy probably focuses on generating attention, awareness and traffic - but getting people onto your page is only part of the battle.
You can take a two-tiered approach when looking at improving your website's conversion rate. Firstly - when it comes to traffic, you want quality not quantity. Make sure you're doing all you can to ensure your marketing is attracting visits from people who are most likely to be an 'ideal customer.' For example, carefully targeting your ad campaigns and using audience testing to hone in on top performing audiences, or using some of your more expensive products in your ads if you're trying to filter out the bargain shoppers.
Secondly - optimising your website experience for conversions. Crafting a sales-driven website with a focus on persuasive copy, trust-building and clear calls-to-action will help transform your website from a basic tool for information, to a lead-generating machine.
We highly recommend enlisting professional help for this one, or (if you're a great copywriter already) you could craft a few different landing pages for your website and use a paid ad campaign to split-test each variation and see which one converts the most visits to quality leads.
Have you been committing any of these top mistakes? If yes, you're certainly not alone. Being able to see the bottlenecks in your marketing is a big step toward correcting them, so consider yourself one step closer to a streamlined strategy. If you'd like help getting any of these pesky errors under control, we'd love to help, so get in touch if you'd like to hand over your marketing challenges to the pros.