5 Digital Advertising Mistakes That Harm Small Businesses

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According to a recent ThinkVine survey, over 50 percent of marketing executives plan to invest more in digital advertising than in traditional advertising over the next two years. If your small business doesn’t have a digital ad strategy, it’s well past time you got one.

But let’s say you do. Are you making marketing mistakes that are undermining your online advertising efforts? From over-stimulating customers to forgetting about mobile, here are the five most common digital marketing mistakes small businesses make.

1) Treating Digital Advertising Like Traditional Advertising

New media marketing requires a new media approach, but many small business owners forget this. On the Internet, the user is in control—browsing the Web isn’t a passive experience the way watching TV or listening to the radio is. Web users are purpose-driven; they’re looking for specific information or products, and they engage with advertising differently as a result. A successful digital marketing campaign is not only relevant, but measurable. It gives the user something meaningful, valuable, and tangible. And as the advertiser, you should be able to track online advertising performance back to your overall revenue or branding goals.

2) Creating Sensory Overload

Whether it’s in the advertisement itself, the landing page, or the company website, many small business owners try to cram in too many images, videos, icons, copy and other content. White space is just as valuable in digital media as it is in traditional print media. Too much text on a landing page turns off customers, who tend to quickly skim pages rather than reading them word-for-word. When it comes to ad copy, keep it short and sweet with a simple call-to-action. Choose your images and other design elements tastefully. And remember that the more options you give outside your primary conversion goal, the fewer customers who will convert.

3) Not Considering Your Customers

Just as with traditional media marketing, it’s important to know who your customers are and how they engage with your types of products/services—before you develop your digital marketing strategy. Otherwise, you will waste money on marketing messages that don’t solve actual problems for real customers. For nearly all advertising brands from online retailers to business services, it’s important to know customers’ qualification and purchasing processes. Then, you can tailor your advertising (and other digital marketing) campaigns to anticipate and meet those needs, and ultimately generate more leads and sales.

4) Paying for Quantity Over Quality

As a top-ranked, comScore-verified advertising network, we always stress QUALITY as one of the most important factors in online advertising. It’s certainly possible to buy a large volume of traffic from non-qualified networks, but it’s sort of like the “Get 1,000 Followers for $10” offers you see on Twitter. You can end up paying for traffic bots and volume clickers from thousands of miles away that have absolutely no interest in your product or services. That isn’t the sort of traffic that leads to conversions, nor does it improve your ROI. It makes it a lot worse!

In digital marketing, the quality of your site traffic is just as important—if not more important—than the volume. Think about whether you’re reaching your actual target audience when you buy traffic or place ads on a network. And be sure to critically assess whether your marketing message is both relevant and convincing to that audience. Your ability to reach your conversion and engagement goals depends on it.

5) Forgetting About Mobile

Though mobile traffic accounts for 31.3 percent of Web traffic, many small business owners remain reluctant to expand into mobile marketing. But unless you take the plunge into mobile, you could lose almost one-third of your business. To stay on top, your business needs to keep up with the changing needs of customers. If you’re not sure where to begin with mobile, try expanding your current online advertising campaigns onto mobile devices and begin to measure the results.

One key point to remember about digital marketing is that you should always consider the needs and behavior of Web users. Otherwise, you will end up making mistakes that will cost you time, money, and the opportunity to reach your digital goals.

When you’re ready to learn more about building great online advertising campaigns, try our other articles:

Since 2001, Advertise.com has offered competitive online advertiser and publisher solutions to companies around the globe. Our mission is to help advertisers achieve their best ROI with high-quality, cost-effective ad units, as well as provide our publishers with monetization tools that yield the highest revenues. Contact us to learn more or get started with your advertising campaigns.