4 Digital Marketing Blunders to Avoid

When it comes to running a business, making mistakes is inevitable.

This can be a bit unnerving to consider, especially since, according to Bloomberg, 80% of businesses fail within the first 18 months.

What differentiates a business that fails from a business that succeeds is whether or not the business can learn from mistakes.

Learning from your own mistakes is important, but it’s also key to learn about common faux pas in your industry.

In fact, a famous Zen proverb states, “It takes a wise man to learn from his mistakes, but an even wiser man to learn from others.”

Here are four common digital marketing blunders you should avoid if you want to be a successful online business.

#1: Not Staying Up-to-Date on Google’s SEO Rules.

The factors that affect Google’s SEO rankings change every now and then.

Therefore, it’s important to stay up-to-date on the newest rules from the search engine giant.

For example, in 2011 Google came out with a new filter for their algorithm known as Panda. Panda penalized web pages that were content thin, using a list of 23 specific criteria.

Certain companies experienced a drop in their search rankings because they didn’t actively remain educated and aware of these changes and didn’t update their sites and content accordingly.

For example, clothing retailer Spoiled Brat saw their traffic decline by 50% in the years after Panda was released.

A significant drop like this can do real damage to a business that’s dependent on consistent web traffic.

In addition to having a lack of content and duplicate content, Spoiled Brat also had a category menu that created over 85,000 unique pages connected to a 6,000-product store.

This wasn’t conducive to Panda’s requirements because Google had to read an extraordinarily large amount of thin and duplicate content for the site.

How did Spoiled Brat solve this without having to do away with their shopper-friendly menu?

Aside from the main categories and subcategory pages, they added a tag (noindex,follow) to almost all the different category pages.

This told Google SEO bots to ignore pages with this tag, so when they re-crawled the site, they found a lot less pages and therefore didn’t penalize Spoiled Brat.

If you notice that your business’ site rankings and traffic have dropped recently, you could benefit from studying up on Google’s ever-shifting requirements.

#2: Having an Ambiguous Call-to-Action.

You may have a stellar product or service…

Or simple and clean landing page….

Or prices that can’t be beat…

…But unless you have a clear and enticing call-to-action, you’ll never manage to take prospects from point A to point B.

In the example below, you can see the body of an email to subscribers of online liquor retailer The Whiskey Exchange.

The email promotes two products, but doesn’t include a CTA that invites or encourages the subscriber to take action and buy, or learn more about the products.

Sure, it’s likely the image itself is linked to the product page, but that’s not exactly obvious in the mind of the subscriber.


Additionally, design elements of your CTA button can impact your conversion rate.

In the Stumptown Coffee example below, the “Add to Cart” button doesn’t stand out–it’s pretty small and the color of the text doesn’t “pop” against the page background.

In contrast, in the example below, see how the CTA button on Unbounce’s landing page clearly and effectively encourages customers to learn more about their product.

Whether it be a CTA in an email, on a product page, or on a homepage, be sure that both the copy and design elements are in tip-top shape in order to get people to click.

#3: Product Descriptions That Leave Out the Benefits.

Yeah, yeah, listing the shiny and top-notch features of a product may initially interest prospective buyers, but at the end of the day, knowing how it’s going to concretely benefit their lives is what matters.

For example, take infomercials.

Yes, they’re loud and obnoxious and long… and yet, they work!

We can attribute this to the fact that they do a tremendous job of describing a common problem, introducing a product, and then detailing how the product will solve said problem and, ultimately, benefit the buyer.

Here’s an example from one of our clients, Cubbie Lee Toy Company, for a wooden block set.

See the full description here.

As you can see, the description lists product features such as the quantity of blocks in the set and colors included, but goes on to describe the benefits to children who play with the set, such as the development of motor skills and hand-eye coordination.

Whether it’s going to save people time, money, or energy, don’t be afraid to spell the benefits out to your audience.

#4: Your Email Address or From Name Is “noreply.”

Imagine for a minute that you have a theoretical subscriber to your email list named Susan.

Susan checks her personal inbox every morning.

On one particular morning, as she sips her coffee, she takes an initial glance at the unread emails.

Her eyes scan the sender column to ensure there’s nothing random.

There’s an email from her cousin Sally inviting her to her upcoming Christmas party.

Next up, she has an email from her college alumni association, sent from Mike, the president of the association.

Finally, she comes to your company’s latest email promotion only to see that the sender name is listed as “noreply.”

Hmm, seems suspicious, Susan thinks to herself.

She only has so much time before she needs to head to her office, so she deletes your email without even opening it.

No one likes feeling as if they’re communicating with a robot–connecting a brand name (or better yet, person’s name) can work wonders when it comes to engaging with subscribers and customers.

Don’t let your email go unread simply because you haven’t taken the time to go into your email settings and change your sender name or email address to something people can recognize or relate to.

Whether we make mistakes ourselves or learn from others’ missteps, as business owners we’re constantly provided with opportunities for learning and growth.

Be sure to take advantage of these opportunities–by doing so, you’ll be more likely to succeed down the line.

In tip #2, we dissuaded ambiguous calls to action. Learn about 7 characteristics of high-converting calls to action by clicking here!



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