5 Ways Digital Marketing is Failing to Live Up to Its Potential

Stuart Elmes

 Digital Marketing has an almost mind-boggling potential to deliver sales to brands and retailers. 

People are constantly connected to the internet through their devices. They are beginning to shop online in ever-increasing numbers. Sellers have the tools to micro-target advertisements to the exact demographic they desire, at the specific moments users are most likely to make a purchase. Yet, of the companies responding to State of Inbound’s 2018 marketing survey, 63% reported “generating traffic and leads” as their greatest marketing challenge. 

Why is there such a large gap between the awesome potential of digital marketing and the success reported by brands? 

Let's take a look at 5 reasons...

1) Disruption

Everyone hates pop-up ads and spam email newsletters. If a visitor to your website is overwhelmed with pop-ups, slide-out offers asking for their email, and various log-in forms, they will leave. If someone sees your sponsored content every time they scroll through their news feed, they’ll hate you. If you are flooding a potential customer’s inbox with unsolicited emails that they can’t opt out of, each new email reduces the chances of them becoming an actual customer.

There are easy ways to avoid each of these pitfalls. A 2017 article from Entrepreneur quotes Clint Stelfox, CEO of The Tree Center, on exit intent technology: “We allow our visitors to browse our entire inventory and navigate the website without interruption, but we do utilize a pop-up that offers someone leaving our site the chance to join our newsletter. We understand not everyone is ready to purchase during their first visit, so this allows us to build our email list and offer discounts and specials to pull those potential customers back to our website.” This allows you to respect your customers’ wishes in two ways. You will only be sending your emails to people who are actually interested in them, and you will allow shoppers to comfortably browse your site without annoying them with unsolicited demands for their email addresses and Facebook IDs.

2) Losing customers in the woods on the path to purchase

We’ve written about this before. Cart abandonment is a massive problem in eCommerce, with Barilliance estimating that the average eCommerce retailer loses 75% of its total sales to this scourge, with the rate as high as 83.6% in some industries! When asked why they abandoned carts by the Baymard Institute, 37% of consumers replied that they had been asked to create an account, 28% said the checkout process was too long and complicated, and 20% said the website had issues or crashed. These problems have easy solutions. Offer your customers the option of purchasing as a guest, rather than creating an account. Make sure your payment forms minimize the number of questions, only asking for information that is truly necessary. And try as hard as you can to reduce the number of “screens” between initiation and completion.

3) The flooded market

In 2015, it was estimated that the average American internet user saw between 4,000 and 10,000 ads per day. Most people are exposed to far more advertising than they would like. Emarketer has estimated that in 2018, 86.6 million Americans (almost a third of internet users) are using adblockers to avoid seeing your content, and 64% of adblocker users cite annoying and intrusive ads as their reason for using the software. The best way to have your voice heard is to give your consumers something they want instead of clamouring for their attention. Use shoppable marketing to allow them to run an errand with a simple voice command. Offer them native advertising that is interesting and relevant to what they’re already looking at. Create content marketing that actually provides amusement or information and subtly steers them your way.

4) Irrelevant messaging

Advertisers now have the ability to target ads with greater precision than ever before. Here is Princeton professor of computer science Aravind Narayanan explaining how it works: “What this technology is really good at doing is following you from site to site, tracking your actions, and compiling them into a database, usually not by real name, but by a pseudonymous numerical identifier. Nevertheless, it knows when you come back, and it knows to look you up, and based on what it has profiled about you in the past, it will treat you accordingly and decide which advertisements to give you, sometimes how to personalize content to you, and so on.” Every business should be using this technology to make sure that it reaches potential customers at the right time, and in an appropriate way. One ad targeted to the right person at the right time can create a lifelong partnership between a consumer and a brand. One thousand ads that arrive randomly will distract and annoy. And inspire the purchase of adblockers.

5) Lack of R-E-S-P-E-C-T for the customer experience

As all of the previous points have indicated, Aretha Franklin might have been singing about the keys to success in digital marketing. All of the faceless consumers who have been deluged with ads by Google, Youtube, Facebook, Instagram, and just about every other website are people. People do not like being followed around, shouted at, and harassed. When deciding on your marketing strategy, ask yourself how you would respond to it. Ask yourself if you are helping your customers to accomplish their goals. If you aren’t offering a convenient path towards the satisfaction of their wants and needs, you’re doing it wrong! We at Adimo are committed to marketing that helps people complete everyday tasks as conveniently as possible. If you’re interested in using marketing to enrich the lives of your customers as well as yourself, give us a call.