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5 Digital Marketing Mistakes That Will Put You on Santa’s Naughty List

As the cherished Christmas song we all know and love goes, “He’s making a list. He's checking it twice. He's gonna find out who's naughty or nice.” And if this isn’t scary enough it continues, “He sees you when you're sleeping. He knows when you're awake. He knows when you've been bad or good. So be good for goodness sake!”

Although creepy and intrusive, there is some excellent advice in this children’s Christmas classic. Be good for goodness sake! This goes for all aspects of our lives, including digital marketing. Here are 5 marketing no-no’s that will definitely land you on Santa’s naughty list:

1. Not having an overall objective

I often see companies investing in digital marketing without defining goals. I frequently do Google AdWords audits in my line of work and upon completing one I asked, "What is the overall goal?".  The answer came back, “I was told I should do AdWords, so I set up an account", which may not put you on the naughty list but may mean getting a piece of coal in your stocking.

Google’s the last company that needs extra cash lying around, so before building any type of campaign strategy, ask yourself “What do you want users to accomplish when engaging with your brand?” Whether it’s an ad, a landing page, or a social post make sure you’ve defined KPIs and campaign objectives. This is sure to please Santa and get you that one thing you really want for Christmas.


2. Siloing your channels

It’s almost 2018, you can’t get away with siloing your digital marketing channels anymore. SEO, content, PPC, email, social, and any other tactic you’re using should have one holistic marketing strategy. From the planning phase to execution and analysis they’re all working together.

Here are some examples I love to incorporate into any strategy: Supplement your SEM strategy with Facebook retargeting. Use AdWords data to gain insights into your SEO keyword strategy. Boost original content with some paid social campaigns to build your brand. Like Santa’s naughty or nice list, this list goes on and on.


3. Only caring about short-term success

How long do you want your business to exist? 3-6 months, 3-6 years, or 30-60 years? Any good marketing strategy should be long-term. Yes, run short-term promotions or campaigns, but make them part of a bigger long-term strategy. Don’t “test” PPC for three months and then give up because you didn’t see a positive return.

There are those who intentionally throw money at Facebook or Google to get a quick win. Their thinking is if they can quickly get some cash flow they’ll have more money to invest down the road. Here’s what ends up happening: they grows impatient when their Facebook ads aren’t raining in cash after 30 days, they struggle to see the positives, like the amazing ad campaigns that are working, and the many things they could be learning because those things don’t equal cash, and ultimately the whole campaign gets shut down prematurely. This can easily be avoided. Set the right expectations upfront with the right long-term strategy.

With any online marketing tactic, commit to testing and learning for six months to a year before expecting to break even or see a solid return. You can definitely see a positive return sooner, but plan for longer. It’s a marathon, not a sprint. You think Santa is sprinting from rooftop to rooftop? No way. The reindeer do all the work. I’m not sure where I’m going with this analogy… but you get the point. Ho ho ho.


4. Using social media only to sell

Let me start out by saying I’m not talking about paid social ads here. That’s different. That’s okay. Here’s what’s not okay. If you’re a brand and all you do is sell your product or service to your followers you should know they don’t like it. They already took the effort to follow your brand on social media, so don’t make it feel like an advertisement.

We have a client, Dr. Axe, who is great at this. They are constantly posting healthy recipes, quick and easy exercises, and informational content. Many times the links don’t even go to the company’s website, but others in the industry. When the time comes to buy health supplements social media users will go to Dr. Axe because he’s proven to be an authority in the industry without even trying to sell anything.

In this digital age a lot of the power is with the consumer, especially on social media. We as consumers don’t get on Facebook or Instagram to be sold to (and neither did Ralphie in A Christmas Story, “Ovaltine? A crummy commercial? Son of a *****!”). We want brands to engage with us and help us solve our problems. If you can do this then just take my money!


5. Failing to test

We have so many tools at our fingertips to test whatever we want. From ad copy and offer testing to audience and landing page testing it can be done. If you invest a little money in the beginning to testing, you’ll be able to invest more money later on what works. Just like you should test the temperature of your hot chocolate before gulping it down.

Something that everyone should be doing is landing page testing. We use a tool from Unbounce to create two versions of a landing page. We send 50% of traffic to each page. We have a control page plus a variant. On the variant page, we change one thing (i.e. call to action, header copy, button color, etc.) to see which one resonates more (converts higher) with our visitors.

With one of our clients, all we did was change the call to action from “Request Consultation!” to “Start my Free Trial!” We very quickly learned that “free trial” was the way to go. We saw a 32% increase in conversion rate. So why aren’t all companies doing this? I don’t know all the reasons, but I’m here to tell you to test everything under the (cold, winter) sun.


Whether you’re a small business owner or a digital marketer like myself, take my advice and be good at your jobs for goodness sake! And maybe you’ll get a fat bonus in your stocking instead of coal.

Have a safe and happy holiday season, everyone. And remember, be sure to drink your Ovaltine!

Eric Farmer

Eric is the Director of Paid Media at 97th Floor. He loves all things marketing and helping companies create successful ad campaigns. For inquiries, contact Eric at eric@97thfloor.com.

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