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5 Reasons Why Your Digital Marketing Sucks

Posted By Stacey Roberts 20th of April 2016 Blog Promotion, General 0 Comments

person-woman-hand-smartphoneThis is a guest contribution from Andy Nathan.

I’m sure you want me to rag on you and tell you exactly what you did wrong, right?

After all, you just spent your day working yourself to the bone to get ahead. Who wants someone to spit in their face and tell them how it all sucks?

So, if this is too brutal for you then good luck! This is only for those who want to improve.

Why? Because in this article we review a number of the strategies that small business owners use to really suck the life out of their marketing.

5 Reasons Why Your Digital Marketing Sucks

1. Used napkins are not great business plans

Most entrepreneurs pride themselves on their gritty determination to be the best. They want everyone to think they just made it up as they go along. Then, all of a sudden, everyone will flock to them as they realize their genius.

However, it is time that you ditch the napkin approach to planning your digital marketing. Real businesses have real marketing plans that guide them over the course of a week, month, year, and longer.

That is why it is a bit disturbing how Smart Insights reported that 50% of businesses do not have a digital marketing plan. It is a mess waiting to happen.

Toss the napkin in the garbage and learn how to create a simple digital marketing plan that works!

Any business needs the following things to create a solid digital marketing strategy plan:

  • Objective – What do you want to achieve using digital marketing?
  • Target Market – Who do you to buy your services? (If your answer is everyone, it is time to freshen up your resume.)
  • Budget – How much can you invest? (Hint: The answer is not zero.)
  • Resources – Who will run the campaign? What marketing intangibles can you use? How much time is needed each day/week/month?
  • Timeline – Speaking of time, what is the prep time to start marketing your business? How far in advance will you prepare your marketing campaigns? What does your promotions schedule look like for the year?
  • Platform – Which digital marketing platform(s) do you plan on using?
  • Data – Big data is a huge component of digital marketing today. Therefore, you need to know how you will track and test what works best for your audience.

2. Too professional

In today’s tech-friendly world, everyone wants to be professional. The problem is that when people pretend to be professional they sound like they have a stick up their… butt. Is it okay to say butt? Or is that not professional enough?

I’m definitely not saying that you should be rude and insensitive to your clients. However, our business culture has this weird thing about being professional. We do it to the point where we almost forget that we are human.

The problem is that marketing your business requires you to bring out your humanity to connect and engage with people online.

Make sure your digital marketing is human!

Give your digital marketing some pizazz! If you are going to write, then you need to write like you talk. Otherwise, you’ll have a big problem when you finally get your appointment with your prospective client. They are expecting one person, and find out you are not the professional person you believe yourself to be.

For example, whenever possible I like to use the word plethora in my articles. It is a funny word with a plethora of different uses.

Plus, it gets away from the ‘writing for 5 year olds’ professional philosophy marketers are taught to use on most blog posts.

By using a word that educates the user, as well as one that is different, it makes the writing a little bit livelier.

3. Your fat gut is not always right

Look, I don’t want to turn the world into number-crunching automatons. However, data is a vital component of your digital marketing strategy. Therefore, if you are not analyzing what you do then you cannot improve your business.

Since 63% of companies have stated that they do not have a system in place to crunch the numbers on their digital marketing, it is about time you got some type of system in place.

Analyze all your data

How do you fix a business that just relies upon their often-wrong gut?

Well, the good news is that the revolution in big data is making it easier than ever to get precise information for your digital marketing.

The best tools help you understand your target market, so you can make smarter decisions. Here are a few of the tools you can use to analyze your business:

All of these tools work on the cloud and give your business access to information like never before.

4. Stop going on vacation

At the beginning of the dotcom era, something really bad happened. The first digital marketers made money.

Well, that was not the bad part. The bad part was that they told everyone else how easy it was to make money online.

Ever since then, the number of get-rich-quick schemes has steadily grown.

Be prepared to keep on keeping on!

The truth is that digital marketing is hard work. If you think you are going to get rich sitting on a beach drinking pina coladas, then please let me do the favor of digitally slapping you in the face.

That is not how the internet works. Yes, the aberrant case will always happen that disproves this rule. Yet, the vast majority of marketers need to work hard. The coconut-swilling internet marketer high on life in a Bali retreat is more myth than truth.

Success happens when you put aside your immediate needs to keep working for your long-term goals.

5. You are yelling at your customers to buy from you

I know a great guy who gets in his own way. Without going into specifics, he has this habit of spamming everyone he knows about his products.

It seems like a desperate yell for attention.

Every digital marketer has to sell their wares online. That is not in dispute. Those holier-than-thou people who get offended when you charge for your time and effort are not your ideal clients.

However, there is a better way!

Become a trusted resource and guide.

By spending your time educating your target market on your business and adding value to the conversation, you can reach more people and turn a hard cold call into a warm lead.

That is why so many marketers have now turned from strictly cold calling to inbound marketing.

It works! When you present yourself as a true resource, people want to learn more about how you can help them.

Final Thoughts

Sometimes, being harsh is what you need to move forward with your digital marketing. If you think that your digital marketing sucks, then this is your opportunity to turn it around.

By understanding some of the digital marketing strategies that just plain suck, you can improve your digital marketing tremendously.

To help you, feel free to get our Digital Marketing checklist, so you can go from Sucks to Bucks!

Andy Nathan is the founder of digital marketing agency Smart At The Start. Over the course of the past 6 years, he has helped hundreds of entrepreneurs with their digital marketing efforts.

About Stacey Roberts
Stacey Roberts is the Managing Editor of ProBlogger.net: a writer, blogger, and full-time word nerd balancing it all with being a stay-at-home mum. She writes about all this and more at Veggie Mama. Chat with her on Twitter @veggie_mama, follow on Pinterest for fun and useful tips, peek behind the curtain on Instagramand Snapchat, listen to her 90s pop culture podcast, or be entertained on Facebook.
  1. Hi Stacey!

    I just went through some of your points. It’s really hard to agree but these were some bitter truth which you mentioned. A lot of initial Digital Marketer end up their career either because they act too professional or they do not analyze the product properly. Digital Marketing is a serious business and it is not everyone’s cup of tea. You need to have a gut plan and in-depth research of the product & competitors to succeed in this profession.

    Nevertheless, it was great reading your thoughts and tips. Hope to read more interesting topics from you in the future.

    • Sarah,

      I apologize if some of this was hard to digest. However, my mom always said to be honest. The fact that you recognize this makes it easier for you personally to succeed.

      Thoroughly researching your industry is a crucial component of any digital marketing plan. I like your comment on the “gut plan” as well. That is an interesting phrase!

      Appreciate your comments and interest in this article.


  2. Hi Andy,

    Really a very informative article here. I really liked what you’ve shared here. I personally loved the point where you mentioned about being human.

    I’ve seen a lot of marketing efforts fail because they follow a traditional method promoting products and services without giving it a human touch. Marketing has really evolved now and there is a need for companies to understand why it’s important to connect with their users on a personal front.

    Great tips though!

    Akshay Chugh

    • Akshay,

      Appreciate your comments! Being human is something that we all can do for obvious reasons. Well it might not be obvious to the automatons among us. However, the rest of society can definitely do it.

      It is vital to get to know your clients on a personal level.

      Thanks again!

  3. I think I fall victim to the napkin. A certain amount of spontaneity and variety is definitely necessary, especially in a digital marketing and even SEO space; but unless you have that over-arching thesis of you, your brand, that dictates what happens, when it happens, and when it happens – you’re asking for stuff to hit the proverbial fan.

    • Tai,

      The napkin is a strong force in the world. I agree that you need to balance it out with the spontaneity and variety. It was one of the reasons why human is one of the points in this article.

      As humans we do not want to hear the same jargon spoken over and over again.

      Thanks for your great comments!


  4. Other reasons why digital marketers fail:

    1. Too many ads on their site
    2. Not enough unique content
    3. (As you mentioned) Demanding customers to buy their product or service without meaningful relationship building
    4. Not having an organic permission e-mail marketing plan intact
    5. Not using YouTube to grow their audience through consistent video marketing.

    • DNN,

      Appreciate your additional reasons why digital marketers fail. They are all spot on. As a content creator, I know that the reason why I have a job is because most people are too busy to create their own content.

      Definitely hits home for me.



  5. Hi Andy,

    Really scared that I’m making mistake #2 ;)


    But I did for bout 5 years.

    I was a serious blogger. Obsessed with my brand image, striving to be professional, serious, staid, serious, boring, professional, serious.

    Now I’m lucky if I snap a selfie on some tropical paradise island with a shirt on. Let alone pants.

    All my eBook covers are simple; images I’ve snapped in Bali or Fiji or Thailand or some other average place ;) Fronted by a Blogging From Paradise brand logo.

    That’s it. No frills. Simple. Direct….and all human, flavorful, and yes, I’ve written some double digit best sellers with this strategy, and just starting to promote my eBooks properly with free giveaways and the like.

    Some focus on being professional. Others on being human beings who make authentic connections with other human beings.

    The latter category kicks butt. Big time. But ya gotta build your entire marketing campaign on being you, not some carefully crafted image, to make it work like magic.

    Love this Andy.

    Signing off from sunny NJ.


  6. Hey Andy,

    Great Article! And I especially like the point about Being Too professional. Most bloggers these days are too serious and professional which shouldn’t be the case.

    And Nice Digital marketing checklist.

    Keep up the good work,


  7. Nice article. The being too professional part sounds interesting.

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