If there is something positive that we can take away from the COVID-19 pandemic, it is that we have had access to many webinars and online courses of various fields and levels. Not being able to develop business in person, interest has focused on the digital marketing strategy, to reach users through e-commerce and social networks, or towards the importance of Usability and UX in times of "skinny cows".
Hence, one of the most popular topics of the moment is the digital marketing strategy, however, the focus is on showing what it is, while there are few who talk about what we should avoid. For this reason, I invite you to reflect on what we are and what we do , beyond a specific action both in the digital marketing plan and for the growth of our businesses.
This publication is based on online chat (available on video) for the virtual event New World Crafts, organized by the Handmade of the Association of Exporters of Guatemala commission.
So let's look at the first five mistakes and tips to avoid them. Soon I will publish two more articles so that it is not so long and it is easier for you to read.
# 1 Not having a digital marketing plan
The context of the COVID-19 pandemic taught us that you cannot plan in the very long term, but it is essential that you consider the following:
- Define the purpose of your business (why it exists). Everything you do in SEO, paid campaigns, social networks, mailing or in any sphere of digital marketing, must be aligned with that purpose .
- Select an audience, even a small one. Your purpose has no reason to be if you are disconnected from people. Although it is a limited audience, with a first and last name, it is more concrete than thinking about bringing your purpose to all women between 24 and 45 years old who live in a country, who have too many differences between them.
- Solve a problem for that audience. Having identified the audience, determine how you will make their life easier or sell them a dream.
- Have a digital marketing strategy and action plan. Answer the question, how do I bring my purpose to that audience?
One more tip: when you feel like you're losing your way and getting stuck, remember what your purpose is and what your audience is.
# 2 Getting too attached to the digital marketing plan
To avoid this mistake in your digital marketing strategy, take these tips into account:
- Have a thermometer (metric) that allows you to see and measure how you are carrying out what you have proposed.
- Learn to make decisions for better or for worse. The day this thermometer tells you that something is not working, you must make the decision to stop doing things to understand why you did not give in the nail.
- Observe the market to adjust your thermometer. For example, you have a goal that your website converts 5%, but your industry benchmark reveals that a business with 2% conversion is already successful. There you have to ask yourself: does my site have what it takes to meet the industry standard?
- Be flexible to adapt. It is possible that you are not selling well or that your digital marketing actions are not working for a reason other than what you think. Do not marry an idea to carry it out to the end at any cost. Plans are made to undo them.
# 3 Put all the eggs in the same basket
To avoid this, here are some suggestions to improve your digital marketing strategy:
- Don't depend on a single client or a single industry. When determining your audience, you must validate that it is the one that will bring you the best results, therefore, you must be willing to change.
- Do not depend on a single social network or sales channel. Let's think about everything that travel influencers experienced with the COVID-19 pandemic, who in a high percentage were dedicated to monetize their activities related to this area, giving advice on destinations or promoting brands. Therefore, if you don't have an alternative source of income or a different value proposition, in the face of any exceptional episode, business can go very badly.
- Cultivate a culture of experimentation. You don't need to have a recipe ready for everything, but you do have to be willing to experiment. For this, you have to know the audience and the business itself very well, to understand to what extent value can be generated and in which area it is well positioned. It is vital to be able to diversify, as, for example, the iconic company in the world of photography Fujifilm, which started with a branch of business in pharmaceuticals, has done, taking its experience with chemicals for the development of images. It is important to be flexible, experiment and constantly seek to reinvent yourself.
# 4 Do not measure
Don't make this mistake in your digital marketing strategy; follow these tips:
- Be a friend of numbers. Even if it is an area that you do not master perfectly, you cannot leave everything in the hands of other experts. You must be aware of financial numbers and digital metrics. Learn what a conversion rate is and how it is measured, what is a good and a bad rate, what is a mailing open rate, what is engagement, etc.
- What is not measured does not exist. You can be carrying out many actions, but if you do not measure your results you will never know what you are doing right and wrong.
- Keep a cool head and do not get carried away by your own passions or preferences. It's difficult because you always try to put a personal touch on the company and the brand, but not everything you like will satisfy your audience. In this case I can share an experience from a few years ago, when together with a partner we created a stationery brand targeting a premium segment of people who love to write on paper. We built an e-commerce and we had good metrics, but it was not scalable because in the local market it reached a peak and was not growing. Why did that happen? Partly because we liked to write on fine quality paper, but most people don't look for that, they just want notebooks and planners with nice covers, and the inside doesn't matter that much. So the price we charged for a high-end product did not have as much room in the market and there was a limit that prevented us from living on it if we focused on such a product. The solution was not to look for more ideas, take other actions or invest more, but to question the product and give the proposal one more turn, which requires keeping a cool head.
# 5 Measure and take no action
It's no use looking at the same metric and doing nothing. Therefore, in your digital marketing strategy apply the following:
- Ask yourself 5 times why. It is a method to take each metric and think about what it tells us, why this is happening. For example, the mailing campaign has a very low open rate: is the title wrong? Did I send it at the wrong time? Is my database of poor quality? If my database is of poor quality, why is that happening ?: because I have not been updating it. Why haven't I been updating it ?: because I don't have a process for it. And so ... If you ask yourself 5 times why, it is certain that you will come up with many solutions.
- Eliminate the metrics that are not actionable. If you have been measuring the same thing for a semester and you have not done anything with that data, you should discard it and look for another that allows you to define actions. For example, I am measuring followers on social networks, which is a “vanity metric”, I check every month and I know that I have reached five thousand, but I do not do anything about it. How is that usefull to me? I have to go another course, like how many of these followers are interacting with my posts and how much traffic am I getting from my social media to my website? If I have five thousand followers and I see that only ten have reached my site, this does tell me much more.
- More than a metric, look for a purpose. In another time I worked in large companies where we had many metrics to measure if we were reaching the growth, customer satisfaction or sales level goals. But there are two situations: you can reach the goal if it is achievable, you put in the effort and take consistent actions; however, it is likely that you will not succeed, which does not necessarily mean that you have done everything wrong or that you should abandon your digital marketing plan. Perhaps those goals were not aligned with the purpose of your business and you have achieved other things such as learning to detect if you are systematizing your actions and follow up. If you are able to learn, you are already doing more than simply meeting a goal.
I hope that knowing these first 5 mistakes in the digital marketing strategy and the tips to avoid them will be useful and provide solutions for your e-commerce. Soon I will publish other articles with more ideas, so follow our social networks so that you find out when it is here on the blog.