It’s not hard to see why more and more people are stepping into the digital marketing world. With an umbrella of profitable careers to choose from in one of the UK’s biggest growth industries, everyone wants to come out on top.
However, as a marketer myself, and huge ecommerce enthusiast, I think it’s important to address a few misleading practices being shared out there.
The problem with digital marketing isn’t digital marketing itself. Instead, it’s the buzz created around a few digital marketing strategies that have been made into shortcuts–when they’re anything but.
Although a few of these practices might have been effective in the past and showed brief results, they could seriously harm a brand’s reputation in the long term. Particularly now, when Google’s algorithm is smarter than ever.
The worst part? You might be applying some of these techniques to your business without being aware of it.
So how can you avoid reproducing such tactics and risking your business’s online presence?
You’re about to find out the most commonly found issues that are often replicated in the digital marketing realm, including:
- Short-term mindset
- Shady practices (that could hurt your positioning)
- Lack of professionalism
- Hacks, tricks, and everything in between
Keep reading if you’d like to grow your business and maintain a squeaky-clean reputation online.
A Short-Term Mindset
Everyone wants to see the fruits of their efforts as early as possible. But short-term mindsets can kill the big picture.
Sure, there are specific cases when a shorter-term focus might be useful. For instance, in strategies like pay-per-click (PPC) ads, marketers may see immediate spikes in traffic. The error lies in holding on to PPC for dear life and spending thousands of dollars on ads without success.
Here’s the truth: some of the most effective strategies take months to years until you can finally say “we’ve made it.” And that’s a reason to celebrate.
For example, accurate SEO results take at least 4 to 6 months to show up, seeing that ranking on Google isn’t as easy today as it was two decades ago. Plus, organic traffic will naturally take longer to come along.
The same goes for ROI. Some marketers are so focused on immediate metrics that they forget to measure long-term ROI. That’s unreasonable in a number of cases, like trying to track results before a sales cycle is completed. If you do that, you won’t be collecting accurate ROI metrics.
Usually a B2B sales cycle is around 3 months to 9 months, but the time frame will depend on the products being sold, the focus of the campaign, as well as specific business goals. See how it’s not an all-purpose approach?
As an example, if the focus of your business is to generate brand awareness and customer retention, a prolonged marketing strategy is the only way to reach those goals. Trying to track campaign results too early won’t bring you accurate numbers, and could eventually hurt your conversions.
Shady SEO Practices
Also known as Black Hat SEO practices, these quick-fix types of strategies have made marketers dirty dollars in the past and created quite a stir in the digital world.
In short, Black Hat SEO won’t help your website rank and might end up banning it from search engines.
Trying to pull a fast one on Google in 2021 is the same as begging to have your website penalised. But of course, marketers who are just getting started may not realise the dangers of Black Hat approaches.
Be wary of “ranking” techniques such as:
- Placing hidden links or hidden text on a page, so as to add more keywords.
- Irrelevant keyword placement for ranking purposes.
- Unrelated guest blogging for the sake of getting backlinks.
- Link buying and selling as another backlink “shortcut”.
These tactics no longer work like they once did, and could cancel months of SEO effort on your part.
Lack of Professionalism
There are digital marketers, and then there are dabblers.
While a digital marketer doesn’t necessarily need a formal education in the field, a true marketer will dive deep into concepts and data for months or years before calling herself a professional for hire. He or she doesn’t just repeat what they learned from someone else.
What’s sad is, a lot of people can’t tell the difference. An expert on the outside could be someone who’s regurgitating fast tips and tricks they’ve seen around the web and gaining visibility from it.
Not a dabbler? Prove it! Provide clients with case studies, testimonials, qualifications, certificates…anything you can to show them your work is legitimate. By addressing your expertise on a dedicated “about” page, you’ll also boost your reputation according to Google’s E-A-T (Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness) guidelines.
Although there’s no shortage of digital marketing jobs out there, that doesn’t mean there’s a job for everyone.
Hacks, Tricks, and Everything in Between
“Hacks” aren’t to be confused with growth hacking. We’re talking about hacks that might have worked in the past or never worked to begin with.
I also mean tricks some professionals know their inexperienced readers won’t notice. While Black Hat SEO tactics fit here, there’s more where those came from.
- Misleading and clickbait headlines, such as “Become a Marketing Expert in 7 Days.” These are great for grabbing attention, but could result in low click-through rates (CTR). Not to mention, that’s the same as fooling your readers.
- Poor, slim content filled to the brim with keywords (also known as keyword stuffing). Quality content should answer readers’ doubts, preferably in-depth. Search engines know better than to rank poorly written pages.
- Spam emails. Because someone has read somewhere that sending multiple emails increases the chances of subscribers seeing them. There’s a word for that: spamming.
Trust me, there are all kinds of deceitful tactics and people these days.
Even though it’s 100% possible to improve any marketing strategy in the short-term, people are promising results they can’t deliver for the sake of earning clicks, views, and subscribers. And sadly, unsuspecting brands may fall for it and waste their hard-earned money.
Ultimately, succeeding in digital marketing is a direct result of the help you provide.