4 Reasons Online Marketing Strategies Fail
If you're doing these things, stop!
Today, businesses of all sizes — not just global brands — have online marketing strategies. Whether you’re a small business, a business in the “Business to Consumer” B2C sector, or “Business to Business” B2B sector, well over 75% of all businesses indicate they are familiar with and using, a content marketing strategy.
However, just because a business recognizes the importance of content marketing doesn’t mean their efforts are successful. In fact, that same group that sees the value of content marketing may also doubt their effectiveness at creating targeted content. In the trenches, there’s often a high level of uncertainty about what is working and what isn’t when it comes to content strategies.
Content marketing is like a triathlon – you have your three “races” being content, publicity, and strategy. And you need to excel in each one in order to win.
Why Do Online Marketing Strategies Fail?
If you’ve been working your brand’s content marketing strategy for weeks or even months and aren’t seeing great results (such as increased web traffic, higher rankings for keywords, more inquiries), here are a few things you need to consider:
Your content marketing plan is too broad or without clear direction.
If you want your content marketing to be successful, you need to have a plan. What’s your business’s content marketing strategy? If you’ve answered something like, “Um… We put content on our blog and social media.” Read on…
- Make sure your strategy is focused on your defined business goals, or KPIs (Key Performance Indicators). What goals are important to you? Targets to reach for include click-through rate, views, submitted lead generation forms, shares, overall traffic…. Define what’s most important to your business and then monitor those KPIs routinely.
- Once you’ve established a baseline level of activity, you can make changes in your strategy based on what you see as working best. If you see the open rate on your weekly e-newsletter is twice as high when you send it out on Thursday at 7 am, run with it! Reinforce well-performing initiatives and keep fine-tuning those that aren’t living up to your expectations.
- Whether you’ve hired a content marketing agency or handling the work in-house, it’s important to be actively involved in the content generation as well as content strategy. Ask questions, dig into the reasons for underperformance, and always be on the lookout for ways to improve.
You aren’t promoting your content enough, or in the right way.
It’s easy to say to yourself:
“Ok, I wrote the company’s blog post and put it on our website and Facebook page. I’m done for the day/week/month!”
Content creation is certainly a big part of content marketing, but it’s not the only part. If you’re not promoting your content in a variety of industry-appropriate and creative ways, you’re missing out on a potentially big boost in visibility. Whether you’re writing the content yourself or paying someone else to do it for you, you need to be publicizing it as frequently as possible.
This type of promotion could mean routinely placing it on your social media accounts, publishing in your e-newsletter and printed materials, offering customers visual or hard-copy reminders in your store or office, and conducting outreach through organizations that within your business sector (your city’s Chamber of Commerce or Tourism Board, a local professional association or networking group, school alumni associations).
If your content marketing strategy doesn’t include any form of promotion, you need to adjust and refine your focus. Brainstorming ideas for publicity and promotions plus scheduling the time to engage in these activities every day/week/month are essential if you want to get the word out about your business.
However… on the flip side of the coin, maybe it’s your promotion and PR strategy that’s turning people away! Take a good hard look at your actions and see if you’re “guilty” of any of the following:
Talking about yourself – a lot.
We’ve all been to a gathering and noticed “that person” — who does nothing but talk at other guests about how they and their brand are the best thing since sliced bread. While in some situations this can work, it’s important to understand your audience and social cues. Depending on the type of event, this type of hard promotion is not always the best or most appropriate method. Share and promote your brand, but work to engage your customers in a conversation. Be willing to share and promote the good work of other businesses or organizations you admire or value. Take a step back and listen to your customers and let their wants, needs, and concerns inform your communication.
Serving up the same exact food every single day.
Are you keeping your content fresh or are you recycling the same information over and over and over again? Using a content calendar can help you ensure that you have an equal balance overall areas and not just publishing the same message repeatedly. Mix it up! Make it interesting for your customers and for yourself!
Using ineffective channels.
It’s important to understand the different social media channels and how to best use them. If you have beautiful images and photography, Instagram is a perfect place to connect with your audience. If you have technical or professional content (think case studies, white papers, user “tips” and expert “secrets”…) sharing through Twitter or LinkedIn makes sense. As you set up your content calendar, keep in mind the different social channels you’re using and how to best leverage them.
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Your audience just isn't interested in what you're putting out there.
Let's assume you are putting out focused and relevant content on a regular basis, and are promoting it effectively. If you’re still not seeing any uptick in engagement, you may want to take a good look at the content itself.
Here are some points to consider:
- Is the content well written, grammatically correct, and free of spelling errors? If not, that could be driving your readers away as the communication looks unprofessional.
- Is the content 100% original or has it been re-published from another news website? If it’s not original content, search engines will penalize you, and it will be almost impossible to get organic SEO traffic.
- Are the article topics and writing style appropriate for your target audience? Maybe rethink that urge to write your case studies in iambic pentameter.
- Are you offering something that’s interesting, valuable, or entertaining in each communication? If you’re boring, providing the “same old, same old” or not speaking the language of your customers, they’re going to spend their time elsewhere.
To be successful, content marketing needs to be centered on your customers and provide information that adds value to their lives. Your customer or target audience will ultimately decide if your communications are of interest and importance to them, so getting their feedback, understanding their motivations and desires, and speaking to their needs is essential.Make sure that every communication you release adds value to both your brand and your customers. Click To Tweet
You expected a quick and easy win.
Content marketing is like a triathlon - you have your three “races” being content, publicity, and strategy. And you need to excel in each one in order to win.
This competition is not a sprint, and to see results you need to work diligently for several months. You need to trust the process and have faith during the initial months when you’re working hard and putting in a great deal of time, but maybe not seeing “through the roof” results.
However, if you stay patient, and apply consistent and persistent efforts, you will start to see the returns, whether that’s increased traffic to your website or storefront, more leads, an uptick in phone calls or emails… Remember, it is not necessary that you double or triple the number of people you reach to experience business growth.
When you’re focusing on being strong in each of the three “races,” you’ll have a better chance of hitting a high-quality, target audience that is actively searching for what you have to offer. While it’s easy to fall for the lure of “viral” posts, millions of social followers, or a stampede of traffic through your front door, if that massive influx results in few or zero income generated for your business, then you’re not hitting the right target.
Never give up!
Content marketing will work for you; you just need to work it! If you’re not getting the results you think you should have, never surrender! Go over the points in this article and find opportunities to refine existing efforts, or come up with some fresh new ideas. Take the time to analyze your strategy and ensure your plans match up with your KPIs and customer demographics. If something isn't clicking, it is up to you to figure out how to make it meaningful and relevant to your customers and your brand.
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