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Feb 26

4 common digital advertising pitfalls (and how to avoid them)

We know, marketer. Planning a digital advertising campaign is hard. One minute, you think you’re guiding your team’s efforts in the right direction, but in the next, less-than-stellar results begin to trickle in, giving you a hard reality check. While you can’t control or plan for everything, we do see a few common mistakes, that every marketer has made at some point, that could be affecting your campaign’s performance.

The good news is, these mistakes are as easy to avoid as they are to make. Read on for four common pitfalls to sidestep when planning your next campaign.

Common pitfall #1: Starting a campaign without first thinking through what you’re trying to achieve

Nobody wants to get to the end of a campaign and not have anything to show in return for the ad dollars they invested. But many marketers dive headlong into a campaign before picking a metric and setting performance targets upfront. Clear, realistic goals are essential to the success of any digital advertising campaign. After all, you can’t define what you’re not measuring.

How to avoid it: Set realistic goals and tie them back to business objectives

Aside from picking a hard metric, or key performance indicator (KPI), to measure against–reach, click-through rate, cost-per-click, etc.–you’ll have to figure out how your marketing initiatives are aiding the company to achieve its goals and impacting the bottom line.

We know, we know. As marketers ourselves, we can empathize with the feeling that your spark and creativity are being boxed in by everything numbers. However, thinking in these terms will help guide your team’s efforts in creating an effective marketing strategy that has a demonstrable impact on business objectives.

Common pitfall #2: Missing the target (audience)

You’ve probably been on the receiving screen of a mistargeted ad before. I certainly have. While web surfing the other night, I came across an ad for a retirement community–I’m 27. (Though the timing did strangely coincide with finding my first gray hair the week prior…)

Point is, you need to narrow your target audience down from everyone on the internet for a shot at reaching customers. Nowadays, consumers expect personalization. It’s a given. Mistargeted ads aren’t just misspent ad dollars. According to a recent Forbes article, they can actually make people push your brand away.

How to avoid it: Connect the (data) dots

One way to make sure you’re targeting the right people is by looking at the data collected from past campaigns and creating customer segments based on your findings for future ones. When you’re digging into the data, take notes on the top-performing creative types and the look & feel of the creative itself, the top-performing ad groups and associated CPMs, and the most engaged audiences.

Once you have a clear picture of your target audience, you can define and segment groups of people with shared qualities, interests, or demographics to hone in on for future campaigns.

Common pitfall #3: Producing content for content’s sake

Good content has a purpose and serves a need. It builds authority and positions you as an expert in your industry. Bad content, on the other hand, can create distrust & annoyance and turn customers away from you.

Just like with any other aspect of marketing, focus on creating value for your customers when planning your content strategy. That means crafting a clear message, offering up something of worth, and ending with a compelling call-to-action that will ultimately drive conversions and keep customers coming back for more.

How to avoid it: Create content your audience craves

That leaves you with the task of figuring out what kind of content your audience wants. We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again: Your data has the answers.

Look at the numbers and take stock of the content that’s working. See what people are downloading or sharing from you. Jot down the pieces of content that are garnering the most clicks, website traffic, and page views. (While, of course, also taking bounce rate into account. Your hook could be good, but the content itself might need love and attention.)

Your best insights might even be sitting just a few feet away from you–we’ll dig into that next.

Check out HubSpot’s guide to using data to create more relevant content.

Common pitfall #4: Leaving a communication gap between sales & marketing

A core focus of any content marketing strategy is lead generation, i.e., getting qualified leads to your sales team. Different from brand awareness, lead-generating content is geared towards people farther down the marketing funnel who are seriously interested in your product or service.

Who talks to people at this stage of the funnel the most? Sales. That’s why it’s important to break down the silos between sales and marketing teams.

How to avoid it: Ask your sales team for input

Your sales team is a great resource for getting ideas around the kinds of content your customers want. Think of them as another source of data. They can speak in-depth to the customer’s needs, pain points, and expectations. What’s more, their input can aid you in developing fleshed-out buyer personas.

Your content marketing efforts should also support the sales team by creating bottom-of-the-funnel content to get those prospects on the cusp of converting to convert. Sales enablement pieces could be in the form of case studies, how-to guides, infographics, etc.

See MarTech’s tips for bridging the communication gap between sales & marketing.

Having awareness around these pitfalls is key. Really, you can’t focus on one aspect of your marketing efforts and campaign building without giving due attention to the others. Clear goals, a well-defined audience, and engaging content at every stage of the marketing funnel work in tandem to create well-rounded campaigns.

Want even more tips? Download the infographic below for a step-by-step look at building value in your campaigns to get near-perfect results every time.

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