Digital Marketing Nightmares: The Halloween Edition [2019 Update]
It’s close to midnight, and something evil is lurking in the dark. Under the moonlight, your desktop screen shines bright. You approach it, quivering, and gaze at your screen… Only to find your rankings are nowhere to be seen!
Did you feel that?! I know I did, and I wrote the thing! It seems that some of us would rather face a zombie apocalypse than a Google penalty.
But in the spirit of the holidays, we wanted to update our digital marketing nightmares article for 2019 and add some new ones we forgot to mention back in 2016!
Leaking Landing Pages (in Blood!)
Just like Victor Frankenstein, you’re spending nights and days building your landing pages, assembling killer ad copies and moving logos and other elements around to bring your design to life. Once your creation does breathe in its first breath of air, you might be tempted to feel proud of your achievement.
But don’t get too excited. One gruesome fact that you must count on is the newly released statistic which confirms that marketers lose 97% of leads on leaky landing pages, approximately.
Why does this happen? The reasons are many. But for starters, keeping up a consistent quality of content is still a challenge for 68% of marketers, and this is one of the major factors which can influence your landing page conversions in a negative manner.
Ghost Stories (Metrics that Aren’t There)
How real are your metrics?
You should check their pulse and make sure that they are still breathing. Far too many of us are chasing ghosts through our reports and analytics tools, and if you cannot determine the ROI of your campaigns, your client will soon become a regular boogeyman.
One of the major issues in 2016 is the inability of 70% of marketers to measure the return on mobile ads. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg! When it comes to “hunting in the dark,” there are a few cases that are even worse than this scenario.
As much as 46% of B2B marketers report that they are uncertain whether any of their social channels has generated any revenue for their businesses! They know that their audience is there, but they keep neglecting the fact that click-through rates on certain social media channels are plummeting.
How can that be?
I guess that a great majority of us isn’t even measuring the right metrics. Another possibility is that we simply expected too much out of certain platforms. For example, have you heard the news about Twitter? You’re not going to like it, not one bit.
The Dawn of the Dead (Pages)
If you’re not cleaning up after each campaign that you throw, be prepared for the possibility of infection. The moment a wandering visitor stumbles upon an old event page, or a webinar that has expired, all probability is that they will navigate away and leave your website, infected by your dead page.
Now you’re stuck with a high bounce rate, a bad brand experience, a prospect lost, your rankings drop and all this simply because you failed to clean up your old content!
You should know that as little as 10 pages containing old content can seriously damage your website. Search engine (night) crawlers should review and index each page that you publish, and by keeping old and purposeless pages on your website, you are stealing your own link juice.
As those crawlers are indexing the same old boring stuff, the authority of your other, fresh pages, is brought into question.
The horrific end of this story begs the following conclusion – modern marketers are often very careless. And we all know what happens to careless characters in horror flicks, don’t we?!
You Inadvertently Offended Your Audience
Although you probably already determined who your ideal target audience is and you adjusted your content and writing style according to your community of users, there will always be a couple of snowflakes who will find themselves offended by something you wrote.
For example, trying to be funny when creating content always leaves room for this kind of scenario, which can quite quickly escalate seemingly beyond repair, especially in 2019.
Should something like this happen, we recommend you restrain yourself from social media wars in the comments section. Instead, you should approach the situation tactfully. Whether or not you should remove the post that caused the kerfuffle is up to you, but don’t try to cover things up as it will likely make things even worse. Acknowledging the mistake, addressing it and apologizing publicly is the way to go.
The Shapeshifting Marketer
A colleague turned bad, a noob turned scam-artist – marketers hate other marketers who give our profession a bad name. It makes our job that much harder, and nobody wants to be the harbinger of bad news. If you ever had to tell a client that he got tricked instead of treated – you know how much they “love” hearing that type of news.
However, it seems that the last year was marked by dozens of outrageous campaigns that were straight lies! Completely dishonest advertisement campaigns coming from some serious professionals, who turned out to be nothing but wolves in sheep’s clothing!
From video game developers to vehicle manufacturers, we’ve seen some bold lies being told in public for the sake of revenue. Recent findings, unsurprisingly, found that moral in this industry is extremely questionable. As much as 47% of employees surveyed admitted that they’ve hit rock bottom.
The industry is as competitive as it ever was, and even some of the greatest professionals in the business are trying to get away with some audacious rip-offs.
You Received a Google Penalty
Google often penalizes websites that deploy back hat or other non-legit SEO strategies that do not meet Google’s SEO guidelines. And it’s not just Google who has a tendency to punish inappropriate tactics, social media behemoths like Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and other similar platforms also exercise this system.
In case you have received a Google penalty, there’s not much you can do until your website gets back on track and Google removes the punishment. Obviously you need to fix whatever caused this ordeal in the first place, but you can also take this time to do all those trivial and not-so-trivial tasks that you’ve been putting off over the past years.
The Haunting of the Mobile
A website that is not optimized for mobile use is scarier than any ghost, lingering around, barely visible, and scaring anyone who opens it from their phone.
Why, you ask?
Well if the 87% of internet users that have a smart phone is not incentive enough, how about the 69% of users that will delete your mail without reading it if it is not optimized for mobile.
Just to make sure you understand the seriousness of the situation, and why you need to perform a website cleansing (the sage is optional), here is another spooky fact! According to Google, 61% of users are unlikely to return to a mobile site they had trouble accessing! And to make things even more nightmarish – 40% will visit a competitor’s site instead.
So, if you want to drive away your leads and prospects, forget about mobile optimization in 2019! I dare you!
Village of the Damned Competitors
Competition isn’t always a negative thing. It drives you forward, keeps you focused and helps you realize what you can do to make your own business more successful. However, sometimes it can feel like you are doing everything in your power to outrank them, but the success is simply as elusive as ever, even though you are certain your content, service and/or product is of higher quality.
This scenario can indeed feel like a nightmare.
But this nightmare mustn’t demoralize your team. Instead, you should find a way to leverage it and use it to better your service even more. Patience and boosting creativity can go a long way.
The Mailbox Horror Show
There is no greater horror for digital marketing experts than the realization that they have started an email marketing campaign by sending a batch of emails with the same mistake or grammar error. And now that mistakes is multiplying by the minute as the open rate rises.
This is something that no marketer can afford – with 69,7% of U.S. internet users preferring emails as a form of business communication, and with email conversion rates 3 times higher than in social media, with a 17% higher value in conversion.
Here are some no-nos that you should keep in mind when you are setting up your email campaign.
Are you sending unsolicited messages? Or, are you using a misleading subject line, or even better, using all caps, so your leads feel you are yelling at them through the screen? And my all-time favorite monster flick – are you lurking in the dark, and not tracking your open rates?
If you are doing any of the aforementioned – please stop.
You Get Caught ‘Lying’ to Your Audience
Ok, lying is perhaps too strong of a word. Chances are you probably wouldn’t intentionally tell your audience mistruth, but somehow your website visitors ended up feeling cheated and deceived.
Maybe it is someone else’s content you reposted that turned out to be misleading; or one of the sources you used to create your own content fed you false data; or your team simply wasn’t able to meet the launch or publishing date you set up months ago, and now your audience feels like you lied to them.
Anyone coming for the dynamic digital marketing ecosystem knows just how tricky and not fun these scenarios can be, especially when users lash out in public i.e. via social media. Word of mouth is a double-edged sword that is able to damage your reputation and hinder your progress because of one tiny oversight.
However, this nightmare doesn’t have to be long-lasting.
Damage control for this type of issue is an easy task. Simply acknowledging the mistake goes a long way. It displays humility and emphasizes honesty, which you can even use to your advantage in terms of brand personalization.
The AI Era
What are the two words that make every SEO strategist and digital marketing specialist quiver?
That’s the term you must use if you want to perform a voice search on your mobile device.
The fact that people are using services like Cortana, or Siri, and the fact that they are researching the web through these services – those are the things nightmares are made of. Not knowing which terms we should use when optimizing our content, and looking for logical connections between products and keywords – that’s a challenge by itself.
Arm yourself with some patience, because there’s more!
Voice search is just going to make things much more difficult. However, the rise of the machines doesn’t mean that SEO will die, as some believe. On the contrary, this only means that we should get that much better when it comes to semantics and search algorithms.
We’re not scared at all! Just make sure you keep the lights on.