As we usher in 2024, it’s crucial for you to stay ahead of the curve with your digital marketing. But too often business owners and marketers see this as open invitation to try the newest shiniest platform or trend. Instead take a second to reflect and determine where to invest your time, money and effort in 2024 to maximise your results.
In this article, I outline 5 digital marketing mistakes businesses made over 2023 and are set to repeat in 2024. So often, these critical missteps can impede success and be the barrier between a thriving business and one that stagnates.
Here’s my breakdown of the top five mistakes to avoid this year:
1. Social Media Time Sink
Mistake: Many business owners and marketers of small businesses can sink over 20 hours a week into social media, lured by the instant gratification it offers. Each like, share, and comment feels like an accomplishment, providing a quick dopamine hit that’s hard to resist.
It’s a comforting illusion of productivity.
However, this constant chase is fleeting and demands relentless effort to keep up. For many businesses I speak to it’s a trap that diverts attention from the more pressing issue: failing conversions.
It’s so easy to get caught up in this cycle, mistaking social media activity for effective digital marketing, while your core sales problems for your online channels remain unaddressed.
Solution: Do yourself and your business a favour: hit pause and regroup. The world won’t end.
Shift your energy to where the problem is – your website’s buying experience.
Scrutinise and refine every step of the customer journey, from the first step when they hit your home page to the final stages where they commit to buying from you, submit an enquiry or make that booking.
By optimising your website for better conversions, you create a more sustainable and effective path to sales, one that will maximise the effort you put into your social media.
2. Blind Ad Spend
Mistake: Launching an ad campaign is simpler than ever. But it’s likely a haphazard approach to your digital advertising is costing your business.
Platforms like Facebook and Google have streamlined the process to the point where an ad can go live in just 30 minutes. But this ease of use is a double-edged sword. It tempts businesses into hastily pouring funds into campaigns without proper planning or clear objectives.
The result is businesses spending significant amounts on advertising without a strategic foundation. Continuing to run the same ads over and again without a clear purpose or objective is like throwing money down the drain.
Solution: Be strategic with your advertising. Set specific goals for each campaign, whether it’s boosting sales, increasing followers, or raising brand awareness.
One way to approach your advertising is to consider what stage the customer is at in their buying journey and deliver ads in line with that. This is best visualised as a funnel comprising three key stages: Awareness, Consideration, and Conversion.
Awareness: Grab attention.
Your ads here should be all about introducing your brand and creating a strong first impression. Use bold visuals and engaging stories. Aim to stand out and stick in the minds of your audience. Your campaign objective here should be reach and engagement.
Consideration: Educate and connect.
Your ads here should focus on benefits, not just features. Show your audience why they need what you’re offering, building a connection that goes beyond surface-level awareness. Your campaign objective here should be for link clicks, subscribes or a request for more information.
Conversion: Drive action.
Your ads should now be direct, with clear calls to action. Encourage immediate response with offers or urgency. It’s about converting interest into sales or tangible engagement. Your campaign objective here is conversions that can be sales, form submissions, bookings or phone calls – define how you want your customer to convert.
Each stage is targeted and purposeful, ensuring your ad spend is an investment, not just an expense. A structured funnel like this maximises the impact of your advertising efforts at every step of the customer journey.
3. ‘Me-First’ Chest Banging Copy
Mistake: Want your audience to disengage and look at your competitors? Keep talking about yourself and overcomplicating what you have to offer.
This approach is a double blunder: not only does it focus too much on the business itself, but it also tends to wrap the message in overly complex language. Language that you have an understanding of but your customer might not. It’s a combination that is a surefire way to lose your audience’s interest.
While you’re busy big-noting yourself or using fancy jargon, potential customers are left confused and disconnected, struggling to understand the real value you bring to problems.
Solution: Flip the narrative by shifting the focus to the customer and simplify your messaging so they can easily understand what you offer and how it helps them.
Cut through the noise with clear, straightforward language that speaks directly to your audience’s needs and desires. It’s about painting a vivid picture of the positive impact your product or service will have on their lives, using scenarios and language they can easily relate to and understand.
This approach not only makes your message more accessible but also more engaging, helping to forge a stronger connection with your audience.
4. Email Marketing Cold Feet
Mistake: Businesses tirelessly churn out multiple social media posts daily, yet they treat the customer’s inbox as if it’s off-limits.
For some reason, businesses have a fear of email marketing being perceived as intrusive.
The irony is that they’re comfortable clogging up their customers’ social media feeds.
Ultimately, it means that one of your most effective marketing tools at your disposal is being massively underutilised – missing out on the opportunity to directly engage with customers who have shown explicit interest in your business and what you have to offer.
It’s tantamount to ignoring a customer who walks into your physical store.
Solution: It’s been a long time coming, but make 2024 the year to prioritise building your email list. You shouldn’t put it off anymore.
Simply put, email marketing has shown to be one of the most successful channels for guiding a customer through their buying journey. A staggering 60% of consumers have purchased because of a marketing email, compared to only 12.5% considering a purchase directly through social media.
It’s an unparalleled platform for personalisation and direct engagement with your audience.
So what should you aim to do in 2024?
As a starter, you need to continually build that list of emails. It’s one of the few assets you will own in the digital marketing realm.
Incentivise your target audience to subscribe and then make sure you follow up with regular emails.
Try to send at least four meaningful and impactful emails this year. These could be newsletters, exclusive offers, or valuable content that keeps your brand at the forefront of your customers’ minds. By doing so, you turn a previously untapped resource into a key driver of customer engagement and business growth.
5. Lazy Giveaways & Competitions
Mistake: Stop with the ‘like and share to win’, which requires minimal effort from participants. While these contests may boost short-term engagement, they often fail to provide lasting value to your business.
Such low-effort competitions attract fleeting attention without fostering meaningful engagement or loyalty. They can also attract participants who are more interested in the prize than in the brand itself, leading to a temporary spike in numbers but little long-term benefit.
Solution: To make giveaways and competitions truly beneficial, design them to drive actions that add real value to your business. Instead of just seeking likes or shares, encourage participants to engage in ways that contribute to your business objectives. Here are a few strategies:
Use competitions as an opportunity to grow your email list. Offer entry to those who subscribe to your newsletter. This turns a one-off interaction into an ongoing relationship.
Encourage participants to provide feedback about your products or services. This can be an invaluable source of market research and help you improve your offerings.
Ask participants to create content like photos, or to create a name for a product or service. This not only engages your audience but also provides you with authentic content for future marketing efforts.
Have participants share their personal stories related to your brand or product. This builds a deeper emotional connection with your audience and enriches your brand’s narrative.
Design competitions that reward participants for referring friends to your business. This can help expand your reach to new potential customers.
By shifting the focus from quantity to quality of engagement, your competition can become a powerful tool in your marketing arsenal, contributing to both customer acquisition and retention.
What to learn more about running an effective giveaway or competition? Check out this article that outlines 5 ways to improve your giveaway or competition.
Ready to Dominate 2024? Let’s Talk.
We’ve tackled some of the blunders you can make in 2024:
- wasting hours on social media,
- ad spend without strategy,
- self-centred copy,
- neglecting email marketing, and
- half-hearted competitions.
Each is a chance to sharpen your approach and get ahead of the pack this year.
If sorting these areas feels daunting, we’re here to help. Get in touch for a free 30-minute chat to discuss your business needs.