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5 Mistakes Killing Your Marketing

  |  April 3, 2013   |  Comments

For every best practice, there are 10 campaigns that failed to follow it. The good news is that now you can be sure to avoid these mistakes.

Last week there were even more people in New York's Times Square than usual, and this columnist was one of them. That's because SES New York was on in full force here, covering everything from link building and SEO optimization to how to turn social activity into e-commerce dollars.

While many of the sessions were great (check out Laura Lippay's fabulous presentation on earning visibility through content here), I was reminded just how many basic mistakes marketers are still making when it comes to building their campaigns. That's because for every best practice, there are 10 campaigns that failed to follow it. And these are basic, obvious, and easily fixable mistakes. The good news, dear readers, is that now you can be sure to avoid them.

  1. Gobbledygook URLs. URLs provide great metadata that helps Google, Bing, and Yahoo index your sites, and helps boost your SEO. They alert users to the content of a page before or as it loads. When building or expanding your site, be sure to give pages useful, sensible labels, keywords, and addresses.
  2. No call-to-action. You've spent weeks fine-tuning the copy, the design, the data, and the graphics for your campaign. But the call-to-action is generic, or worse yet - it doesn't exist at all. Every digital marketing message needs a related call-to-action that tells the user what you want her to do next.
  3. Your marketing isn't formatted for mobile. Are users visiting your website or opening your email via a computer or via a mobile device? Most certainly, yes. Take the extra time to test that your site, email, or graphic loads correctly on mobile devices. Fellow ClickZ columnist and SES New York speaker Sundeep Kapur takes it a step further, asking, "Can you read and respond to your campaigns with one hand?" Kapur also suggests using buttons, not skinny links, in your mobile campaigns to encourage engagement.
  4. Your content isn't shareable. The success of any content marketing campaign will be limited if it can't be shared. Of course we all remember to add social sharing tools to our articles and blog posts, but have you made your charts, infographics, tweets, and podcasts shareable, too? Can you share with one click, and in a way that sources your site and drives more traffic back to you? Have you given your visuals and videos metadata to help them be indexed by search engines? You've spent the time developing the assets, now make sure they can go the distance.
  5. Inconsistent landing page. So you're lucky enough to have users entering your website to learn more, to download a whitepaper, to enter a contest, or to redeem a coupon. That's great news! But what do they find when they get there? Is the page furthering their engagement? Does it relate to the messaging that brought them there, and remind the user why she is landing on this page in particular? How do you know if your landing page is killing your campaign? Check your bounce rates daily and optimize. They've come to your digital home, so be a good host.

If any of these mistakes are things you can relate to, don't worry. Today is a great day to stop making them!

What other marketing mistakes drive you bonkers? Have a horror story of your own? Or pitfalls we should avoid? Let me know in the comments section below or @kristinkovner.

Image on home page via Shutterstock.

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Kristin Kovner

Kristin Kovner is a digital marketing, technology, and media industry veteran. Her firm, K-SQUARED STRATEGIES, helps high-growth media and tech companies develop and execute best-in-class marketing strategies. Prior to opening her own consultancy, Kristin served as the Vice President of Marketing Strategy at AOL, where she managed the AOL and AOL Advertising brands and set and executed the go-to-market strategy for AOL's owned and operated websites, including AOL.com, Moviefone, MapQuest, Engadget, and The Huffington Post.

Prior to joining AOL, Kristin served as the Head of Industry Marketing for YouTube and held various roles on Google's marketing team. Kristin has also worked as a journalist for Newsweek and SmartMoney, The Wall Street Journal's magazine, and as an economic consultant at Bates White LLC.

Kristin graduated Phi Beta Kappa and Magna Cum Laude from Yale College and currently lives in New York City.

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