The 6 places you’re wasting time and money in digital marketing

Aug 25 by Tess Horsley

In an increasingly online world, keeping your business up and running online is crucial. Whether its social media, your website, pay per click advertising or any other digital platform, getting digital marketing right is crucial to business success – but that’s easier said than done! Knowing where and how much to invest your precious time and money can be a tough call, especially given just how expansive the world of digital marketing is getting. So, we’ve outlined the top 6 areas where businesses can get on top of waste and start saving:


Focussing too much on branding can be a big money trap, especially in the early stages of a business. It’s natural to want people to recognise your company’s name and react positively to it; to like and respect it. However, marketing with a heavy focus on branding can make yielding returns difficult.

Budget-wise, true branding takes a lot of money. Companies that have great brands (like Apple, Nike and similar) have often been around for decades, and have billions to throw into marketing and millions to throw into branding. If you don’t have the same kind of resources (which you likely don’t), you won’t see similar results.

It’s also important to note that branding and reputation don’t just happen overnight, they happen over time. People don’t just believe Jaguar when they say their cars are luxurious, they know they’re luxurious from decades of successful sales that have confirmed them so. When it comes down to it, good branding and reputation come from sales and positive customer experiences, which is where your initial focus should be.

Useless and inadequate analytics

Analytics are king when it comes to digital marketing – they can show you exactly how well your strategy and campaigns are performing, with incredible detail. However, this relies on a quality, professional analytics platform.

First and foremost, make sure you’re using tools that track your ROI – there’s not much more important than that, especially for cash-poor start ups. Choose an analytical tool that allows you to get specific when looking at things like gender, location, age and even interests. Your marketing efforts are rendered pretty much useless if you’re not targeting specifically enough.

There are a whole range of tools and products that allow you to choose precisely who sees your ad/s, what they like, where they are, how old they are, what time of day you want your ad to be seen and more. Utilise them!

No matter your industry, you should always be trying to cater to your ideal customers as much as possible. When you target correctly, your consumers feel valued and understood, making them far more likely to do business with you!

Aesthetics: they’re not everything

A trap that many businesses fall into is trying to make everything pretty and attractive. From business cards, to online ads, to facebook posts, it can be hard not to focus on having them look perfect. However, when it comes to digital marketing, ‘pretty’ can be more of an added bonus than anything else.

How your ads and other online communications look is nowhere near as important as what you’re saying (your message) to who (your targeting) and your research (your testing). Most of your time and energy should go towards market research to find out just what messaging resonates with your key demographics, then building your offers, ads and interactions around that message.

Forgetting a Call-to-Action

The Call to Action, or CTA, is central to online marketing. Your CTA is the single action you want people who see your ad, post, email or website to take. Do you want them to click a link? Do you want them to call a specific number? Do you want them to head to your website? Ads that don’t include a clear and specific CTA are a huge waste of time and money.

Think holistically about your CTA: if you’re driving traffic to a website, make sure it’s set up to direct traffic where you want it to go (something that should be done in your site’s Information Architecture stage). If you’re directing to a landing page, make sure that particular page resonates with your audience and has a clear goal.

No matter where consumers see your ad (or offer, product or service) online, you should be striving to get them to take one single action that drives sales and conversions.

DIY website builders

Your website is the absolute centrepiece of your online presence, so it needs to be polished, professional, search-engine optimised and effective, which is difficult to achieve on your own!

Engage professional developers and copywriters to make sure your site is perfectly optimised both to your audience and to search engine algorithms. For more on why self-built websites are a bad idea, click here.

Selling without nurturing

It can be tempting to go in with the hard sell every time a potential customer emerges, but this approach will likely prove fruitless. Potential customers need to be primed, or ‘kept warm’ before they’re ready to be hit with a hard sell approach.

Nurture your leads by interacting in a way that is initially useful to them. Provide them with content about broad topics that are relevant to their interests and in keeping with your company’s philosophy, to show that you care about their wants and needs.

Once a relationship has been established, and they’re showing interest in your content (sharing it, opening emails, leaving comments), the coast is clear to start sending for sales and product focussed content.

Automation without strategy

What’s great about digital marketing is that a lot of areas can be automated: social media posts, emails, even website content. You can have your content locked, loaded and ready to go months in advance if need be!

However, automating content without a clear and overarching strategy is a recipe for hit and miss, mildly effective marketing. It’s like packing for a holiday with no real plan – you’ll get some things you need, but will likely miss a fair few others. Your automation tool is simply that: a tool to help you reach your goals. It’s not a strategy in and of itself.

Make sure your content is in keeping with a broader, more complex and overarching strategy, and that your strategy is congruent with your company’s overall goals.