Six Digital Marketing Traps and How To Avoid Them

6 Digital Marketing Traps and How to Avoid Them

Digital marketing is the lifeblood of every great company.

This makes sense considering everyone spends most of their time on smartphones.

If your company isn’t using digital marketing, you’re behind the times. Money spent in the US on social media marketing reached $43 billion in 2020, a 20% increase from 2019.

While digital marketing tactics are steadily increasing in adoption, we are also seeing companies making harmful mistakes along the way. If you aren’t careful, your marketing strategies could break your company.

In this article, we’ve compiled a list of six digital marketing traps and how to avoid them. But first, let’s talk a bit about marketing traps in general.

First, What Are Digital Marketing Traps?

Essentially, digital marketing traps are common mistakes in marketing strategies that end up hurting your company in the long run.

Digital marketing is a complex subject, especially for people with limited resources like small business owners. But bigger name businesses aren’t exempt from these mistakes either.

The earlier you implement stronger digital marketing practices into your company, the better your results will be.

Here are some of the top reasons your marketing isn’t delivering those results.

Broadcasting Instead of Engaging

One way to misuse digital marketing is by employing social media to broadcast, instead of using it as a way to engage with customers.

Engagement with customers is a great way to show that you care about them and are striving to exceed their expectations.

A good example of proper customer engagement is how Preply connects with customers on its Facebook page.

Digital Marketing Trap 1: Preply Broadcasting Instead of Engaging

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In the image above, you can see that a customer asked a question about becoming a Preply teacher. The company responded quickly, addressed the poster by name, and provided an answer to his query.

It’s also important to note that this exchange was done in public. When this happens, all potential customers can see the speed and efficiency with which Preply responds to questions.

If you want to earn brownie points with your target audience, focus on regular, well-communicated customer engagement instead of blasting marketing messages and sales pitches.

If you get the engagement strategy right, you can foster long-term, mutually beneficial relationships with all of your customers.

Failing to Understand Your Target Audience

In order to succeed, you absolutely MUST prioritize understanding the needs of your customers. Otherwise, you’ll be wasting precious marketing time and resources.

You might feel leery about how hard it can be to start getting a clear picture of your target audience upfront. Stick with it, because it will help you define your marketing efforts and focus them in the most efficient ways.

The first step is to define your product or service clearly. Next, identify the demographic that’s most likely to want to take advantage of it.

Also, don’t focus too much on what everyone else is writing. It’s better to create content that hits home with your target audience and resolves their pain points.

For example, Earlybird is an app that specializes in investing for kids. Its blog is filled with relevant content for users.

Digital Marketing Trap 2: EarlyBird Failing to Understand Your Target Audience

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Earlybird has a clear idea of who its audience is and they cater to them accordingly. Clearly, adults who care about the financial future of a child in their life are the most likely people to use this app.

But it would also be logical to think that this is not at all limited to only parents and grandparents. That’s why you see articles pertaining to things like baptism presents and other gifts from godparents.

If you really want to dive deep, a focus group, industry review, or market survey can provide a great deal of useful information on how you can meet customer needs.

It’ll take some grinding, but in the end, it’ll be worth it.

Creating Great Content But Not Promoting It

If you create outstanding marketing content, then you’re one of the few who are really excelling at content marketing.

But great content won’t help you earn customers all by itself. If you’re not promoting your content, the number of people who see it will be drastically reduced.

For example, look below at how Propel PLM promotes this in-depth guide on quality management systems on its Twitter profile.

Digital Marketing Trap 3: Propel PLM Creating Great Content But Not Promoting It

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You should always allocate resources for the creation of fantastic content. But be sure to save some of that time and budget to actually promote your efforts.

That way your time won’t be spent in vain, and the right people will get to see your amazing content.

Not Using The Proper Channels For Marketing

Marketing channels are vital to your efforts. A marketing channel is a platform where your marketing content is pushed out to be seen by others. This can include Google, social media outlets, print publications, YouTube, television, etc.

So marketing channels are important. This much we know.

However, if you use the wrong marketing channel, then you are probably throwing time and money out the window.

It goes back to our earlier point about understanding your audience. If your ideal customer frequents Facebook and YouTube, but you’re placing marketing content on Twitter and Google, you’re not maximizing your marketing efforts.

Making the most of digital marketing channels is essential for your business’s success. For example, LinkedIn is the perfect channel for promoting this LinkedIn email finder and other tools for B2B clients.

B2B audiences frequent LinkedIn because it is a social media platform for professionals. This product is also created specifically for LinkedIn. Placing those same ads on something like SnapChat or TikTok are more likely to prove useless in the search for new customers.

Forgetting A Clear Call To Action

A call to action, or CTA, is a prompt on a website that encourages the user to take some specified action. They’re typically written as a command or action phrase, such as ‘Sign Up’ or ‘Buy Now.’

This can appear in the form of text on a button or a web link in digital marketing. It’s a crucial element on a web page, acting as a signpost that directs users to the next step.

An unclear CTA may result in the user abandoning your site, because they don’t understand what needs to be done in order to purchase a product or sign up for a newsletter.

As an example, if a reader lands on a blog post and there’s no call to action at the bottom, it’s highly unlikely that the reader will continue engaging with your site beyond that one page.

However, if there is a CTA at the bottom of the post asking them to read more posts, sign-up for an email newsletter, or buy a product, they’ll be more encouraged to continue on.

For example, Swagbucks has a clear CTA offering cash-back for their Old Navy coupons page when signing up for their newsletter.

Digital Marketing Trap 5: Swagbucks Forgetting A Clear Call To Action

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Being Too Promotional With Your Marketing Messages

A great thing about content marketing is that you can promote a product or service without limiting the story to just the product.

Those who create marketing content that’s too promotional will find it difficult to get the best results. A better approach is to release an in-depth piece that provides readers with highly useful information.

For instance, let’s say we’re dealing with a company that focuses on a specific type of business software. Instead of publishing a post containing all the benefits of using their specific brand, the writers should create something a little more useful to the customer.

They could write an article about tips and tricks on how their type of business software can benefit their company solve real, tangible problems that have no other solution.

Then, after showing how this software can solve a prospect’s pain points, they can close out with a brief CTA highlighting their product. This kind of educational content would perform much better than anything you publish that is focused solely on promotion.

Conclusion: Don’t Fall Into Digital Marketing Traps

Despite what consumers may think, digital marketing is no cakewalk.

Every company makes the occasional digital marketing mistake from time to time. But, by avoiding these common digital marketing traps, you will save yourself a lot of time and headaches.

Identifying when concepts fail is crucial for success. Don’t make the mistake of throwing thousands of dollars at something that isn’t helping your business boost profits.

With a bit of luck, any company that pays attention to its marketing practices should manage to avoid most of the pitfalls and digital marketing traps.

Feature Image Credit: CC0, via

Disclaimer: The views and opinions stated in this post are that of the author, and Return On Now may or may not agree with any or all of the commentary.

This guest post brought to you courtesy of Return On NowProfessional Austin SEO and PPC Services Company.

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Bethany Santos

Freelance Writer
Bethany is a former HR Officer who later found her specialty in digital marketing. With a keen interest in content optimization and market behavior, she's become a walking database for industry news.

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