By Larry Alton 

Any successful digital marketing strategy is backed by a firm understanding of what does and doesn’t work. And while we often spend time discussing best-practices and tips and tricks for success, it’s also necessary to highlight issues and shortcomings so as to help people prevent making debilitating mistakes.

5 Mistakes You Must Avoid

In 2016, there are a number of mistakes marketers and business owners need to avoid. While some are more obvious than others, they’re all equally important. Check them out and do your best to prevent these issues from affecting your digital marketing campaigns.

  1. Not Venturing Offline. Contrary to popular belief, digital marketing and internet marketing are not synonymous. Internet marketing is merely a component of digital marketing. If you really want to invest in a comprehensive digital marketing campaign, you also need to understand the offline aspect of it. According to marketing expert and successful entrepreneur Neil Patel, there are four major categories of digital offline marketing. They are enhanced offline marketing, radio marketing, television marketing, and phone marketing. In 2016 and beyond, it will become increasingly important to have all-encompassing digital marketing strategies – not just internet marketing.
  1. Using Social Sparingly. Despite study after study revealing the incredible value of social media, some brands still ignore its potential. One of the biggest mistakes you can make in 2016 is using social sparingly (or not at all). In order for social media to be effective, you need to regularly publish content and engage with followers. An inactive social account may in fact be worse than not having an account at all.
  1. Neglecting Visuals. While traditional content still has value, you need to appease the demand for visual content. Modern customers crave infographics, videos, images, and data visualizations. If you can produce fresh visual content, you can also position your brand as progressive and engaging. As you invest in visual marketing, just make sure you’re following some of the simple rules and standards that marketers suggest. For example, visual content needs to be relevant and appropriate to your audience. This means stock photos are pretty useless, whereas custom photography is valuable.
  1. Ignoring Analytics. Have you looked at analytics in the past and thought to yourself, that’s too technical for me to understand? Well, the reality is that it’s not. Thanks to intuitive tools like Google Analytics, tracking the success of your digital marketing campaign has never been easier. With just a few clicks, you can see metrics regarding traffic, clicks, conversions, and more. It’s too easy and valuable to ignore.
  1. Talking Too Much About Yourself. While the purpose of digital marketing is to represent your brand and drive conversions, you can’t be too selfish. In other words, if your marketing campaigns are all about your brand, then you’re missing the point.

Today’s most successful digital marketing campaigns are the ones that focus on bigger picture ideas, while subtly mentioning the brand. A prime example of how a marketing campaign doesn’t have to brand-centric can be found in Publix commercials around the holidays. These advertisements are all about spending time with family and enjoying the holidays. Publix is only mentioned very briefly at the end. Yet, somehow, it’s more powerful than an ad that explicitly advertises Publix products and services.

Putting it All Together 

In 2016, digital marketing will continue to serve a powerful and influential role in businesses across all industries. While you certainly need to focus on the “do’s” of digital marketing, sometimes it’s equally as effective to focus on the “don’ts.” Keep the aforementioned mistakes in mind and start this year’s marketing efforts off right.

Larry Alton is an independent business consultant specializing in social media trends, business, and entrepreneurship. Follow him on Twitter and LinkedIn.