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6 Common Digital Marketing Mistakes Local Businesses Should Avoid

Written by:

Kathleen Fletcher

March 27, 2019
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Digital marketing has armed businesses with many meaningful ways to get in front of potential and current customers. With so many digital marketing options available, however, it’s easier to make mistakes—the room for error is small and time to fix errors is usually limited. Here are six common mistakes to avoid in your digital marketing efforts.

 1. Lack of Patience

“PATIENCE YOU MUST HAVE my young padawan” — Yoda

Digital marketing campaigns provide instant gratification with real-time reporting and metrics. With new technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning platforms, immediate results are expected. However,  these new tools require time and data to optimize correctly and deliver the best results, so in this fast-paced 24/7 digital marketing environment, patience is vital for a successful digital campaign.

Too often, businesses pull their budgets right before their digital  campaigns gain traction—before they’re able to see results skyrocket. In a Google paid search, the first 3-6 weeks may not look like it is delivering a positive return on investment. (ROI), Businesses that react too quickly don’t allow for a reasonable “ramp-up” period, when Google’s algorithms are getting used to the target audience and dialing into which users are best for the keywords and targeting you have set. Just like a first date, or riding a bike for the first time, it takes some time to get going. So, be patient and give your campaigns enough time to find their groove.

Related Article: Google's Responsive Search Ads: Everything You Need to Know

2. Focusing on The Wrong Metrics

“Your Focus Determines Your Reality” — Qui-Gon Jinn

In digital marketing, there are a lot of metrics and data points to look at which, while exciting, can also be detrimental to your marketing. Focusing on metrics that do not move the needle can cripple a campaign. The key is to focus on the metrics that are best for your business goals, such as engagement, overall reach, or a specific conversion rate. (Hint: for most companies, the goal should be to generate a conversion, or a particular action that qualifies a lead. More on that, below).


Although metrics such as cost-per-click (CPC) and click-through rate (CTR) are important, getting lost in these metrics can result in the wrong optimizations. Focusing on something such as cost per acquisition (CPA) should guide internal conversations around how the campaign is performing. When you focus on the right metrics, you can make better decisions and optimize correctly for an ROI-positive campaign. Not having the right focus can lead to bad decisions.

 3. Not Tracking Results

It is hard to focus on the right metrics when we are not tracking the most important ones. For lead generation efforts, we must set up conversion tracking. A conversion may be a phone call lasting a specific amount of time, a contact form filled out and submitted on your website, or having a someone download an e-book or similar piece of content from your site. The specific action for a viable lead will depend on your industry and your company’s goals. Without the correct tracking in place, we don’t know where our digital marketing campaigns are headed, or even whether they’re working correctly. With the correct tracking in place, we can make better optimizations that lead to better ROI.

 4. Shiny Object Syndrome

It seems as if there is a new platform, tool, or tactic launching every other day, making it very tempting to jump on the “next big thing.” Yes, businesses need to test out new things, but overhauling your marketing plan to incorporate the newest platform can often de-rail your marketing plan—especially if that platform ends up fizzling out after a few short months.

In general, it’s a good idea to have a diverse marketing mix, but spreading your campaign too thin can be destructive. For instance, the extra budget you were going to allocate towards the new tactic may produce better results as part of an increased budget for a proven tactic that you have already determined is ROI-positive for your business. If you have the correct tracking in place, setting up a controlled testing schedule for new tactics can be beneficial, but getting mesmerized by the next Insta-dud can leave your business falling behind.

 5. Complacency

Although it’s important to avoid getting derailed by trying out the newest fad, having a plan to test different tactics and platforms is a good idea. The key to establishing a viable testing plan is to set realistic expectations and to have the correct tracking strategy in order Using  a specific percentage of your budget to regularly try different marketing platforms will help you understand what your customers react to best. Paid search, paid social, over-the-top ads (OTT), billboards, LinkedIn ads, Instagram stories, and many others all have the potential to bring your brand to the next level, but you won’t know until you test them out first. However, your testing protocol needs to be controlled and methodical—whatever you do,  do NOT try testing every new tactic  at once.

This also goes for ad copy, creative, landing pages and brand messaging. Having a controlled testing ground for most parts of your marketing is the best way to determine which will be ROI-positive. The way people buy and connect with brands is constantly evolving, and their wants and needs are consistently changing. Our marketing tactics must evolve with them.

 Related Article: Top Marketing Trends For 2019

6. Resting On Your Laurels

“Much to learn you still have my old padawan. This is just the beginning.”— Yoda


One of the biggest mistakes a business can make is to get too comfortable. The digital landscape is constantly evolving at a rate of change faster than ever before, disrupting every industry from publishing to transportation, and now retail. If you are not continually learning and growing as a company, you are at risk of becoming the next Toys-R-Us or Borders Book Store. Don’t be afraid of change—keep up-to-date with industry blogs, listen to podcasts for the latest marketing trends, go to conferences, and never, ever stop learning.

Final Thoughts

“May the Force be with you.” — Yoda


The digital marketing landscape is an exciting—albeit daunting—place. Whether your customer base includes those within a mile radius of your pizza shop or you service five cities in Upstate New York, there are plenty of different digital marketing options for you. Take some chances, focus on what drives sales, go the extra mile to bring value to your customers, and always continue to learn and evolve.

Do these mistakes resonate with your business? We can help. Contact us at


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