The Trials and Tribulations of a Digital Marketing Entrepreneur

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5 Reasons Your Digital Marketing Isn't Working

February 04, 20247 min read

You thought you took all the right steps to position your small business for success. You hired a marketing director, created branded social media profiles and you make a point to try new marketing trends. And you're already spending more than you can afford on digital marketing. So why isn't your digital marketing working?

If you're frustrated with your digital marketing results, you're not alone. HubSpot's 2021 State of Inbound Survey shows that 40 percent of marketing specialists feel "very confident" making budget decisions on marketing programs that will drive revenue . On top of that, over 60 percent of respondents said they struggle to drive website traffic and generate leads.

Fortunately, you can achieve small business digital marketing success with a few steps. But before you dive in, pinpoint the barriers that prevent you from producing the results you want. These show a lack of planning by your marketing manager or partner agency. With some new knowledge in hand, take some time to tackle these five reasons your digital marketing isn't working.

Reason 1: You Have No Digital Marketing Strategy

"Nearly half of marketers have active digital marketing programs, but no defined strategy at all. The other half is divided between those who have a stand-alone digital strategy (17%), and those who have integrated it into a more general marketing plan (34%). This is the way it should be, for more advanced marketers, for whom digital marketing has become 'business as usual'."

- Jeff Bullas, Keynote Speaker and Bestselling Author

Who said creating a digital marketing strategy would be easy? Without a repeatable system in place to fill your pipeline, your opportunities and sales will suffer. Without a digital marketing strategy, you set your business up for long-term failure.

Business owners and marketing directors fail to develop strategies for a variety of reasons. Owners don't always know why a strategy is important or how to develop one. And on top of that, some wear many hats and just don't have the time. But there's no excuse for marketing directors who understand the importance of developing a repeatable marketing system. Marketing directors often forge ahead haphazardly—despite knowing better—trying new trends and tactics. Still, others are stuck in a time warp, keeping the status quo because, "This is the way we've always done marketing."

Reasons for your marketing strategy lapse aside, your business won't reach its potential unless you identify your target audience and map out a scalable, repeatable, strategy.

Reason 2: You Don't Have a Social Media Plan

"It's not enough to leave a profile blank! You need to contribute to the platform and build connections...No matter what social network you're on, the basic guidelines still apply. You'll want to connect with friends and followers by asking questions and responding to comments."

- Neil Patel, Co-Founder of Neil Patel Digital

Being on social media just to be there won't help your marketing efforts. You need a social media plan beyond creating a profile for Facebook or LinkedIn (or Instagram, SnapChat, etc.). You need a purpose for each social profile and a way to execute your plan each week.

Unfortunately, too many business owners and marketing managers don't have a social media plan. There's no social media strategy and their approach is haphazard at best when it comes to managing their social media.

Some of the top social media mistakes businesses make include:

  • Only allocating a few minutes each day to social media

  • Inconsistent posting

  • Not providing full company information (especially contact information!)

  • Ignoring feedback and comments people post on your profiles

  • Creating a stale and overly corporate profile

  • Focusing too much on self promotion

  • Posting unhelpful, irrelevant or useless content for followers

  • Failing to track social media analytics

Reason 3: Inconsistent Digital Marketing Campaigns

"In a survey of marketing directors, 91% agreed that executing successful digital marketing efforts requires adherence to a clear brand positioning. Despite this truth, most brands fail to consistently develop their digital tactics with brand positioning in mind."

- Mitch Duckler, Managing Partner of FullSurge

Consistency is required for a digital marketing strategy. For digital marketing, there are three types of consistency that you should maintain: consistency with buyer personas, consistency with communications and consistency throughout the customer journey. Failure to maintain consistency will prevent your brand from being recognized on several channels in the same fashion.

Digital marketing campaigns can easily fail because of:

  • Inconsistent message timing: You've just launched a blog, providing endless opportunities to share your knowledge. But if you don't post regularly, your customers may become disengaged. Even worse, their buying confidence may erode if they question your ability to maintain your own website.

  • Inconsistent buyer personas: Not sticking to a firmly-established buyer persona causes confusion and might even tarnish your image. For example, if your company voice professional, your content shouldn't be casual in one place and educational in others. Consistency in your branding allows your target audience to become familiar with your company more quickly.

  • Inconsistent customer journeys: Some companies making stellar first impressions. But afterward, their efforts tail off during the sales cycle and post-sale part of the journey. Make sure you stay consistent and cohesive with your customers throughout their entire journey.

Reason 4: You're Always Looking for Shortcuts

There aren't any shortcuts to success in digital marketing, but that doesn't stop some marketers from looking for a shortcut to stardom. They're unwilling to invest the time and resources to produce quality results. Instead, they turn to black hat SEO or the latest "sure thing."

Cutting corners doesn't work in digital marketing. Sure, these tactics may result in a short-term spike in activity, but they don't deliver in the long run and may even get your company in trouble.

These are just some of the shortcuts that can sabotage your digital marketing plan:

  • Buying ready-made email lists of customers

  • Failing to develop target personas

  • Focusing on quantity over quality in building social media followers (aka vanity metrics)

  • Using keyword stuffing in your brand content

  • Failing to follow up on your initiatives

Reason 5: You Don't Monitor Campaigns

If you aren't tracking your digital marketing campaigns, your business is destined for mediocrity. And if you aren't reviewing your marketing results, you won't even know why your digital marketing isn't working. Neil Patel summed up this trend when he said, "A lot of people fail miserably at marketing—and they don't even know why they're failing."

Some companies have started monitoring campaigns, but they aren't doing it right. An article published by Harvard Business Review gives a glimpse at why marketing analytics have failed to live up to their promise.

The post unveils two key steps that businesses fail to take when using analytics:

  • Companies put the cart before the horse. They gather data before they know why it's even needed.

  • They don't have a 360-degree view of their customers. They skipped over learning customer habits and preferences.

Getting to know your customers is what gets desirable results from any marketing campaign. And along the way, effective digital marketing monitoring should involve a plan based on your specific tactics, as well as a clear definition of the channels you want to track.

Finally, you need to define the metrics you want to measure, because it'll guide you to the right measurement tools to use. If you're omitting any of these steps, don't be surprised if you struggle with digital marketing.

Remember, what is not measured is missed.

Learn the Reasons Your Digital Marketing isn't Working to Fix it!

There's no fast track to digital marketing excellence, so don't expect success just because you hired a marketing manager and created social media profiles. And remember: if you don't monitor the results of your marketing campaigns, you'll never know which initiatives are paying off and which are failing.

Just taking the time to read these tips is an important step in improving your digital marketing results. That's because understanding the most common reasons why your digital marketing isn't working is crucial to developing a strategy that will deliver stellar results. Moving forward, identify the specific measures to help you transform your digital marketing approach. In the meantime, watch out for my next article, which will uncover the keys to a successful marketing campaign.

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