Why Your Digital Marketing Strategy Isn't Working and How to Fix It

Why Your Digital Marketing Strategy Isn’t Working and How to Fix It

The first step to fixing your digital marketing strategy is admitting you have a problem. Sure, the rest of your business is going well; your product is fantastic, your team is excellent, and your business plan is impeccable. But unfortunately, none of that matters if you’re missing the most crucial element of a successful business: customers.

In business, you really can’t overstate the importance of marketing. At its core, marketing is just letting the right people know you have the right product for them. Since it’s such a crucial and fundamental element of running a business, you’d think a business’s marketing strategy would be one of its top priorities.

The State of Digital Marketing in 2021 

Hubspot reported in their 2021 State of Marketing report that “While 76% of marketers report running marketing campaigns now, only 35% of those who don’t plan on starting in 2021.” And even of those who do, many run ineffective and messy campaigns.

There can be many reasons for this oversight. For example, unlike larger corporations with huge teams, many small businesses are run by people wearing many different hats who don’t necessarily have an extensive background in marketing. As a result, they may start by feeling confident in their ability to pick it up as they go and then become overwhelmed by the constant maintenance and attention required by marketing.

Another common problem is since digital is a newer form of marketing, many older businesses are yet to catch up, still relying on the old reliable techniques that are now hopelessly outmoded. Most marketing has moved online for better or worse, and optimizing your digital presence needs to be the top priority.

For whatever reason, you’ve made the critical first step. You’ve looked at your business and decided you can do better, so here are some helpful marketing tips and tools to fix your digital marketing strategy.

Admitting Your Marketing Strategy Has a Problem

The first sign of bad marketing is your pipeline going dry. Sure, maybe you get leads, but there’s an issue if none of them end in sales. It can be tempting to scrap everything, but often you’ll be throwing the baby out with the bathwater, so it’s time to take a deep breath and see what’s going right and what’s going wrong.

These are some common pitfalls that businesses fall into:

Your Social Media is Ineffective

Social media can seem like an unconquerable beast, especially for those who didn’t grow up with it. But unfortunately, everyone is on there, and it’s time you join them. Find businesses on social media that you follow and enjoy and learn from the best. Study the social media that annoys you or is utterly forgettable.

Running a social media marketing campaign without background knowledge of the platform will inevitably lead to some faux pas. Each platform has its own rules. Familiarize yourself with the tone used on each, but also make sure to stay professional. You only need to do a quick search to find extensive lists of companies putting their foot in their mouth online. Make sure what you post has a lot of eyes on it before it goes out.

Devote the time and resources it takes to engage with your customers and respond to their questions and comments. It goes a long way to making your brand trustworthy. Use social media manager software like Buffer, Hootsuite, or Meet Edgar to schedule posts ahead of time and get alerts anytime there’s activity on one of your social media pages.

You’re Flying Blind

Maybe in the past, you were doomed to send out as many ads as you could with absolutely no idea what was working, but if that’s still your approach, you’re shooting yourself in the foot. Digital marketing is enough work without constantly sinking time into practices that aren’t generating leads for you.

If your company has the funds, invest in a good CRM like HubSpot. However, you can also use Google Analytics for free. Use them to follow your customer’s journey through your website, seeing how long they stay on different pages. Make sure to track the click-through rates on your advertisements as well. Then put the funds where they’re most effective.

You’ve Gone to the SEO Dark Side 

If this applies to you, you already know what you’re doing wrong. If your strategy is to trick search engines into ranking your website higher without having the content to back it up, you’re setting yourself up for failure.

Black Hat SEO includes practices like keyword stuffing or cloaking. This method fails to generate leads when people realize you don’t have what you promised and makes your brand look untrustworthy.

How to Revamp Your Digital Marketing Strategy

Now that you’ve figured out what’s going wrong and made the changes, it’s time to figure out where to go from there. If you have something working, you may want to stick with what you know, but there’s always room for growth in marketing. 

Throw it At the Wall and Track What Sticks

Now that you have a handle on your analytics and what you should be tracking, you’re equipped to try new things. After all the work you did assessing and fixing the old, you don’t want to fall back into old patterns and end up back where you were.

Setting goals can ground your campaign and keep it manageable and focused. Make sure you’re setting SMART goals; that means they are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and timely. It’s the most efficient way to try new things and figure out what’s working.

Another helpful technique is to try two strategies simultaneously and see which one produces the best result, keep that one, and then pit it against another method, so you eventually come up with the most effective method.

Invest in Content Marketing

A huge buzzword in the last five years or so, content marketing is the new kid on the block, and its possibilities are endless. It’s measurably more effective (and cheaper) than most traditional ad campaigns, so if you haven’t jumped on that bandwagon, it’s time you did.

If you make your content interesting, you’ll find your organic traffic increasing and creating brand awareness. After seeing quality content on your site, many people will trust you more as experts in what you do. They may return without prompting to consume your blogs, videos, infographics, or anything else you can think of.

 Keep Your Eyes on the Horizon

As a marketer, the worst thing you can do is get complacent and keep recycling what you’re already doing. Instead, if you want to stand out from your competition, you should constantly be thinking in future tense and be the first one to jump on innovations.

Follow people who work on the bleeding edge of marketing to get a glimpse into the future. Then, learn from their methods to develop your own, so you don’t have to play catch up constantly.

Don’t miss what’s going on now either. While many marketing tactics are mainstream for a reason, some equally valid ones are just less popular. Using tried and true campaigns that your competition doesn’t, can give you the best of both worlds.

Pat Yourself on the Back

It can be tough to admit that what you’re doing—or not doing—simply isn’t cutting it. Businesses tend to pull people in a million different directions, with each aspect demanding attention. However, without good digital marketing, you’ll be missing the cog that makes the rest of your business run.

So, take the time and allocate the resources you need to ensure you’re not shortchanging yourself with lackluster social media or poor analytics, or perhaps even implementing shady practices. Stay flexible and try out new and innovative techniques to ensure your business stays on the cutting edge.

With enough vision and follow-through, you’ll easily be able to increase the number of quality leads coming through your pipeline!


Kate is the founder and CEO of People First Content, a digital content marketing agency serving small businesses worldwide. She has a Ph.D. in English Language and Literature from the University of Tulsa and has been writing web content for over a decade. She loves working with business owners and company leaders to develop content strategies that will create a lasting impact.