Why Your Digital Marketing Strategy Isn’t Working

You follow the top marketing blogs. You’re on top of the latest digital trends. You work tirelessly on your brand’s marketing initiatives, and yet you’re still not getting the results you want.

What are you doing wrong? We’ve compiled the top 5 easy mistakes even experienced marketers make that could be holding you back.

5 Common Digital Strategy Mistakes

Confusing tactics with marketing strategy:

As a marketer, you may manage social media channels and post blogs, invest in paid search, optimize your website or launch brand awareness campaigns. These are all incredibly important, but none of them is your strategy. They are tactics that execute your strategy.

Still confused? Here’s an example: When Facebook announced it would become a mobile-first company, that was the strategy. All of the social giant’s activities that support that goal – including, most recently, telling advertisers Facebook will favor faster-loading ads – are the tactics.

Even nationally known thought leaders often refer to tactics as strategies, so it’s no wonder so many marketers follow their example. If you’re guilty as charged, it’s never too late to define clear business objectives to guide your strategy.

Executing without clear goals:

Your digital strategy marries two elements – your marketing goals and business objectives – to create a clear game plan. You need both. Don’t be tempted to jump on the latest marketing fads and trends without a solid reason why they benefit your brand. Remember: You want to act, but always with intention.

A good example of a clear marketing goal is increasing traffic to your blog by 10,000 visitors in one year. This goal is stronger when it also supports a business objective. If your brand’s goal is simply to increase sales, you need to prove how investing money and manpower into more blog traffic will help.

Making decisions without data:

At Charles River Interactive, this is one of the most important beliefs we hold dear: You must base your decisions on real, hard, up-to-date data. The best results come from combining out-of-the-box creative thinking with the power of data-driven decisions. Understanding your web analytics is the key to making smarter decisions that reach the right people.

For example, before you decide to re-write even one webpage, you should be able to answer questions such as:

  • How many users visited this page over the previous six months? (traffic)
  • How much time did they spend on the page? (bounce rate)
  • How did they find this content?

The answers tell you what to change about the page and inform why and even how you should do it.

Implementing best practices without a plan:

So you’re following best practices for SEO and implemented title tags, Meta descriptions, and H1s to improve on-page optimization. But you’re still not getting the results you want. Success in the organic results is no longer about implementing best practices; instead it’s about the overarching strategy behind it. Take the time to think about what content will resonate with your target audience and build your on-page elements around those. We work with many clients to develop on-page optimization efforts based around a strategic plan.

Basing audience on assumptions:

One of the most important questions we ask clients is, Who is your target audience? If you don’t know – or if your answer isn’t specific enough – it can delay or derail successful marketing initiatives. If you’re speaking to a general audience, or even targeting a pool that’s too small, it may be time to invest in marketing research to understand your key demographic.

Why is this important? It saves you from investing in Twitter campaigns or Facebook ads only to find out your core consumers aren’t heavy users of these platforms. Knowing your target audience helps you reach the right people, where they are, with the right message.

Interested in learning more about marketing trends? Check out Charles River Interactive’s blog View from the Charles:
Mobile First Strategy: What You Need to Know
7 Email Marketing Best Practices
Why Brand Advocacy Matters

Want more information? Get more details on Charles River Interactive’s SEO and PPC service offerings or contact us today.


Mobile First Strategy: What You Need to Know

Is your brand’s digital strategy truly “mobile first?” This term has led discussions around the future of digital marketing for the past five years, but it easily confuses even savvy marketers who make a common mistake: They confuse mobile friendly with mobile first.

There’s no better time than now to understand the important distinction between the two – and evaluate your brand’s strategy to make sure your organization is poised for success.

Facebook, Google and Mobile First Thinking

Recently, Facebook joined Google in telling advertisers they need to make their ads load faster. Consider this compelling stat from Facebook: 40 percent of users click away if a page takes more than 3 seconds to load.

Facebook is so determined to improve its users’ experiences with ads that it has decided to factor page loading speed into its delivery system. In other words, if your ads are too slow and not optimized for mobile, your ad may not even show up.

Loading time is already one of the biggest concerns in mobile advertising. But it would be shortsighted to think about this problem in a digital vacuum. It’s only the latest example of web giants like Facebook and Google signaling to us that our strategies must prioritize the needs of mobile users. That’s the essence of mobile first.

What is Mobile First?

If you spend 8-plus hours at work typing and browsing on a desktop or laptop computer, it is easy to forget how dominant mobile usage is outside your office.

Two-thirds of all Americans own a smartphone, according to the latest mobile use stats from the Pew Research Center. That figure is significant because it almost doubled in only four years – from 35 percent in 2011 to 64 percent in 2015. People use their phones – and even their watches – to get directions, stream TV shows and movies, do online shopping, browse social sites and read the news.

Increasingly, people rely on mobile devices to run their daily lives – at home, at work and on the go. Their ability to quickly access and easily digest online content on a small screen can make or break a site’s success. (Read Google’s take on how important these so-called micro-moments are to the mobile consumer experience.)

That’s where mobile first thinking comes in. It’s not just about decreasing loading times, launching a mobile-friendly design or offering mobile apps. It’s about doing all of these things and more to create a comprehensive mobile strategy that – yes – puts the needs of mobile users before anyone else.

Elements of Mobile First Strategy

At Charles River Interactive, mobile is always present in our thinking and incorporated into our recommendations.

Starting in 2015, Google changed its algorithm to boost rankings for mobile-friendly sites. As a digital marketing firm that specializes in SEO, understanding these changes is core to our approach.

We believe a strong mobile first strategy should incorporate the following:

  • Mobile SEO solutions: Coding is very important here. We look at factors like site configuration and dynamic serving. Our team knows how to optimize page titles, URLs and meta descriptions for optimal performance. For clients who depend on reaching a local audience, we take into account local search intent when formatting meta data.
  • Mobile friendly content: The way you write your content significantly improves the mobile user experience. Read our 5 Tips for Mobile Content to learn more about how we recommend keeping users engaged.
  • Responsive design: The days of creating a mobile version of websites are quickly fading away. We recommend clients consider a responsive design, which responds to users’ behavior based on what device they are using. For example, if you swap from a desktop to a smartphone, the site automatically adjusts for resolution, screen size, etc.
  • Loading times: It’s true that incorporating graphic design elements and video on your pages can increase user engagement and boost rankings. But if they take too long to load, your business is in danger of losing potential customers who won’t wait around for the content they wanted. The key is working with an expert team to help you find the right balance.

Interested in learning more about improving your mobile website? Check out Charles River Interactive’s blog View from the Charles:
The 2nd Phase of Google’s “Mobilegeddon” Has Been Officially Released
Mobile Search Updates: Why You Need a Mobile Website
5 Tips for Writing for Mobile

Want more information? Get more details on Charles River Interactive’s SEO and PPC service offerings or contact us today.