Over time, we’ve had to deal with a lot of challenges, we’ve made mistakes, we’ve tested and replicated successful actions, and the experience that we’ve accumulated in the last years has helped us gain a clear perspective with regard to digital performance and identify the 5 main mistakes that you must avoid in the online marketing activity.

  1. NOT HAVING A PLAN OF ATTACK

When Alice in Wonderland asked the cat for directions so that she could choose which way to go, she was asked where she wanted to go and didn’t know. She got her answer:  then it doesn’t matter which way you go, any road will do. However, in the reality of today’s marketing, we know that that’s not how things work. 

If you don’t have a well-thought-out online strategy, you might reach a point when you don’t know what to do anymore. In terms planning your short-term or long-term strategy, Robert Craven (The Director’s Center), one of the most successful entrepreneurs in the UK, offers a simple definition for strategy: Where are you now? Where do you want to get to? How are you going to get there?

Identify Pros and Cons

There is no such thing as a universal online strategy that works for every brand in the digital environment, performance is influenced by various contexts and by the specific features of each business on the vertical market.

What are your advantages? What do you offer that your competitors don’t? Is your product or service better? Do you deliver faster, at lower costs? Does the brand stand out on a market with several actors? Think these matters through in order to gain a better understanding of how you’re going to develop your digital strategy. 

Estimate in Advance

What results are you going to be able to get in one month? What about in 3 years? Estimate results and risks and answer questions such as: What challenges could I be faced with and what solutions am I going to come up with? What’s the worst that could happen and what is the best solution going to be? If the results that I get exceed my possibility of managing them, what will my approach be? The less unknown factors there are, the more solid your online marketing plan will be.

2. NOT MEASURING THE DATA

It’s like establishing a business and not checking your accounting books. Even if you have a strong online strategy, you can’t track and validate the direction if you don’t measure the numbers. The bright side? With the current digital technology, it’s very easy to measure data and even to use it to adjust online communication or as part of Remarketing activities.

Testing makes all the difference

Mad Man or Math Man? Instinctual or analytic? It’s ideal to find a balance between the two marketing approaches. It’s extremely important for the brand to look good and send a message, but creativity is relative and your instincts need to be validated by numbers, right!? The efficiency of the digital environment is determined by the mix between data and creativity, that’s when sparks start flying.

We recommend the A/B testing method in all online activities. Otherwise, you might not realize your maximum potential. Using data closely connected to the people involved in the business, with the digital channels and devices, becomes the main activity in today’s online marketing.

Test Everything

Analyse the results and make decisions carefully, after the experiments are completed. Test multiple image versions for the same ad or on different digital channels, the same message on different devices or social networks, play with the titles of the published articles, identify the proper times for online communication, check the reaction to various colour shades, the cappings in Adwords Display campaigns, several messages on the same website button and so on.

There are infinite possibilities to analyse and understand the numbers. With G. Analytics, for example, you can find out how many times the website is visited each month by people between 20 and 23, on a mobile phones, from Bucharest, using a certain keyword in Google searches.

  1. NOT HAVING A STRONG VISUAL IDENTITY

Imagine if, starting tomorrow, McDonalds were to use different colours and serve different foods in the restaurants in each city. How would you recognize the brand, what could you say about it, what would you recommend to a friend when he asked you about the brand?

Identity must be easily found, with the same colour scheme and the same font, everywhere. Have you ever thought … why Telekom invested so much promoting the colour magenta? Or what are the messages behind colours?

In addition to our other senses, the visual one determines our emotional, rational and sensory perception. The features of the brand, united under a colour, must be easy to read on any digital device that connects the brand to the target audience, supporting the brand awareness. 

  1. NOT CONSIDERING THE TARGET AUDIENCE

Since we wake up in the morning and until we go back to sleep, we do things with people for other people. Online marketing isn’t about platforms or devices, it’s about the desires of the people that make up brand’s audience. Remember: the people that pay for the promoted product or service are the oxygen of any business.

Human egocentricity influences company culture and, sometimes, it’s even obvious in digital communication. OK, OK, we got got it, your online campaign is going to say that you have the best product in the world that’s going to save the world. Great! But how does it directly help the person for whom it was designed? And, just as importantly… does it make good on its promises?

Expectations Changed

Surprise, emotions… are marketing currency and the strategies for the online environment have changed completely. Brands describe themselves in the digital, but it’s just as important for them to be described by those that know them from personal experience.

Did you know that 3 out of 5 people make decisions based on online reviews or that, before deciding to buy something, a person might check as many as 12 different digital sources where a brand can be found?

When we think about a company’s reputation, we should never forget that it’s a promise of a state of mind, so amplifying brand awareness in the online environment is an art, since we’re talking about an intangible environment.

Beauty or sports businesses do not sell services but self-confidence, dental clinics offer smiles and joy, church a place in Heaven, travel agencies don’t sell airplane tickets and accommodation they sell experiences and memories, and fast car brands… adrenaline. Meaning desirable states of mind.

  1. NOT USING THE DATA THAT YOU OBTAIN

It’s estimated that by 2020 we’re going to reach a full customer experience level of marketing, meaning that everything we’re going to see on this type of media is going to be customized based on our interests, used by the data that we leave behind at certain times of the day through social media or news websites, when we shop online, watch a video or read e-mails. 

Statistically speaking, approximately 98% of online visits are lost, they’re just ‘passing through’. But a lot of them can be recovered by using the traces that people leave behind: in video campaigns, search campaigns, by native banners on other websites, in the content of the newsletters sent to subscribers or in remarketing campaigns.

Track Everything

Create audiences and use them in campaigns with customized messages. See how many people have viewed videos on Instagram, Facebook or Youtube, why they stop at the shopping cart and don’t finalize their orders, display customized ads in Google Adwords searches for the newsletter subscribers, find out how much time people spend on the website or how many viewed more than one page, identify the times and days when you get more online orders than usual, see how many people leave the website, experiment with various message versions on a website button or on social media … in other words, learn people’s reactions in relation to the business as well as possible, using the digital environment.

BONUS

Without a posible universal strategy for the digital environment, we cannot say that certain channels are only appropriate for certain types of businesses or that some actions don’t need to be performed in marketing online. The differences between the companies that sell to other companies and those that sell directly to people are their tactics, because, in the end, it’s still people making the decisions. 

If the dynamic nature of the digital environment has taught us anything in the last years, it’s that the only limit now is your imagination. You need to do everything in the digital environment: Social Media activity, a good ranking in search engines, smart newsletters sent at the right time, a high website loading speed, online articles and the list can go on….

But nothing is more important than your brand’s story and how you tell it.