There are many reasons why you may need to rethink your digital marketing strategy. Avoid these five mistakes and you'll be on your way to success.

1. Thinking Social Media is the Digital Marketing Answer.

I talk with people all the time who think that Social Media is the answer to their digital marketing.
Although social media is an important piece of the puzzle it's not the total answer. Ask yourself this:  When was the last time you went to a Social Media site to buy something? My guess is, probably never. You most likely used social media to find out about a product or company you were interested in, or to find out what others were saying about them, but then where did you go? Probably to their website. Social Media can be a big help in marketing when it's used correctly.  Yes, it's a great tool for engaging your audience and driving traffic to your website but it's not a replacement for it. 

2. Not treating your website as a high priority.

In this digital world, we live in today, your website is the most important, most valuable piece of your business. It never sleeps, works 24 hours every day and, if done correctly is your brand spokesman, star customer service representative, and top performing sales person all wrapped into one.
So why do companies neglect their websites? When I ask this question, the answer usually goes something like this; "Our site doesn't bring in any sales, "It's just too hard to...", "I don't have time to keep up with it.", "my customers don't use the website" or my favorite, "It costs too much to maintain."
Why is this? Because they are all looking at it from the wrong perspective. Your website shouldn't be an expense, it should be an investment, It shouldn't be thought of as a bother, it should be thought of as a useful tool. Your website is your piece of real-estate in the digital world. The only piece you actually own and control. It's your storefront, your office, your customer support department and more.
If it isn't living up to your expectations, ask yourself these questions. 

1.  Did you do the proper planning when you had it built? You wouldn't build a new store or office without planning, would you? 

2.  Was it professionally done or did you go the DIY or inexpensive cookie cutter online service route? I'll bet you wouldn't build a new office building without hiring a professional contractor. 

3.  Do you maintain, update and remodel your website regularly? I'm quite sure you maintain your other property right? You add on when necessary, you remodel or refresh your store, you replenish your inventory. If you didn't do these things, your business would suffer, you would underperform, right? The same goes for your website, build it correctly, maintain it, remodel and build on when necessary and it will work for you 24/7-365. Now that's ROI. 

3. Not knowing the target.

You wouldn't start an around the world trip without a goal, a map, a tour guide and some planning, would you? The same planning should go into your website and entire content marketing. You should take that same approach in the digital world. You need to identify and narrow your target audience. Who are they? What do they like or need? Where do they gather?
The world may be shrinking because of technology but it's still a pretty big place! You need a clear objective and a well-formed plan to achieve it. Taking the tactic, "build it and they will come...just doesn't work that way. You have to first find them, invite them over and then give them a reason to come back again and again.  

4. Spending time and money on the wrong platform.

Doesn't it make sense to spend the most time, money and energy on the platform that can actually generate the best ROI? Sure it does! Then why do most spend more time and labor posting on Facebook or tweeting on Twitter or (insert your social media time sucker here...) than they do on their website?
Look, I get it. Social Media platforms make it super easy to post an update, they have rooms full of very skilled developers who do nothing but try to find ways to make it so easy that you don't want to use anything else. Why? Because they want you on their platform, they want to own and control your content.
Remember when you could post on Facebook and all of your followers would see it? What happened to that? Facebook figured out that they could charge you to show your own content to your followers. So they started systematically pairing down who saw your posts until now it's somewhere south of 3% of your followers. If you want the bulk of them to see your content, you have to pay in the form of targeted posts/ads. 

Think about it, does it make sense for you to create content for someone else's platform then pay them to show that content to your customers? Or does it make more sense for you to put that content on the platform that you control and that you can make available to who you choose? Sure, use Social Media, but use it wisely, use it to drive traffic to your website where the real content is.

5. Thinking you don't need a blog.

I hear this one all the time too. I don't need a blog, no one will read it anyway. Well guess what, you do need a blog and here's why:
Google reads it and so do the other search engines. A blog (done correctly) is probably one of the easiest ways to drive traffic to your website. It's also one of the best ways to communicate with your target audience, provide product information, use tips, and announcement. The list is endless. Almost anything you want to communicate to your target audience can be accomplished with a blog. You can show off photos of your latest new widget, you can show your latest product video or how to and you can speak to your audience. Blogs can take many forms they don't necessarily need to be a list of articles, they can also look like a newsfeed or a regular web page with just the content of one post. The bottom line is, you need to have one.

 Bonus - Chasing the latest and greatest...

Resist the urge to jump on the latest social media darling. Unless you are some huge international brand with a diverse audience you probably just need to be on one or two Social Media platforms, maybe three at most.
Find out which platform(s) the bulk your target audience uses (you already know what your target audience is, right?) and use that platform. And remember to always use social media to drive traffic to your website, not the other way around.

Until next time,

Scott Williams
Director of Digital Marketing
Cotts, Inc.

 Cotts, Inc. is a digital marketing agency specializing in helping small businesses. We are located in the small city of Pottsville in Schuylkill County, PA 17901.

We build results-driven websites, expert social media content & strategies, custom interactive kiosk systems, digital signage systems and print campaigns so your business can compete in this digital world.

If your small business needs help with marketing in the digital world, reach out to us, our contact information is:
Phone: 570.399.5662