How Your Business Can Avoid These 3 Digital Strategy Mistakes
There is a crowded field of competitors in the race to the top of Google’s first page search results. You’ve probably spent a considerable amount of time developing the digital strategies that will enable your business to achieve this. Even with the most effective plans, it seems like you keep getting overtaken by the competition.
It can be tempting to search for shortcuts, but proceed with caution. The race for a winning digital strategy is a road rally, not a sprint. Patience, preparation and perseverance are the keys to success.
These three digital strategy mistakes can do your brand far more harm than good. Here’s how your business can avoid them.
1. Skipping homework
It’s never a good idea to show up without your homework. Completing it is not enough. You must also have delivered your best effort.
Thorough and comprehensive research has always been the hallmark of a successful marketing strategy. A digital strategy is no different. In fact, it may require more in-depth research than traditional plans rooted in print ads and broadcast media.
Start optimizing your digital strategy by looking at where your business is right now and determining where you want to be. Carefully consider both your target audience and the competitors they are buying from. Look for trends in changing audience preferences to try to stay ahead of them.
Keyword research should be an ongoing responsibility of a member of your digital strategy team. User search queries and search engine algorithms change frequently. Piloting it based on last month’s information will not work.
Pay special attention to the long-tail keywords your audience uses to ask questions. Use them to develop relevant content to increase your chances of being found online.
Finally, find out what formats your target audience uses to consume information. If they are increasingly drawn to how-to videos, for example, your written guides will need to follow suit. Content, format and delivery platforms must all merge. Investing the time and energy to do your homework will keep you from falling behind.
2. Challenge online norms
Challenging your competition is a strong business attribute. Hoping to pass them by defying the rules of the road is a rookie mistake. And it’s the one that could dash any hope your business has for a great online reputation.
Search engines have rules of acceptable behavior. Keyword stuffing, widespread use of crummy or broken links, and linking your content to disparate queries are all unacceptable. Using these dishonest tactics can all lead to your business being given the red flag.
More and more companies are using digital platforms to attract customers and position themselves as industry specialists. As this use has grown, search engines have become increasingly likely to penalize those who violate online standards. This is how they ensure fair competition and protect their users.
Ignorance of these standards is no defense, nor does it help you. You should be fully aware of what they are and check that what you post complies with them.
If you don’t, you risk more than just having your business listing suspended by Google, although that’s enough. You become the seedy business that other businesses and potential customers will avoid.
Invest time in improving your brand’s online reputation instead of crying foul if you’re caught breaking the rules. When in doubt, err on the side of caution, slow down and correct course. Running your business under a yellow flag is better than a red flag any day.
3. Cut the corners
In the midst of fierce competition, the temptation is great to take shortcuts to help you get ahead. There is a very fine line between aggressive competition and cheating; you should avoid the latter. It might help you win a lap, but it won’t help you win the race.
Your business should have established marketing standards, practices and ethics. Digital marketing can have particularly slippery slopes, such as the posting of fake reviews and the disappearance of negative reviews. Both are so easy to do that you convince yourself no one will ever know and no one will get hurt.
As a business leader, your job is not only to set honorable standards, but also to make sure your teams meet them. One way to support high standards is to avoid the allure of cutting your marketing budget. If you’re underfunding your marketing team, you’re just asking them to take dishonest shortcuts.
Instead, invest your time and money in building your online reputation rather than knocking it down. Replace overly promotional and spammy content with information useful to your audience. Only associate with companies and publications that are growing.
Review your digital strategy as you would a legal contract. Make sure it’s free from dishonest claims and that you can deliver on any promises you make to a potential customer. If there’s anything uncertain about your strategy, content, or delivery, fix it.
Avoiding serious mistakes in your company’s digital strategy can leave you feeling like you’re lagging in the outside lane. But taking shortcuts will get you disqualified sooner or later, so avoid them. Staying in the right lane will eventually get you where you want to go.
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