1189 words|4.6 min read|

There’s nothing worse than investing in a digital marketing strategy, spending hours of time in setting everything up … and then finding out a few months down the road that it just isn’t paying off.

You have three options:

  1. Keep going and hope something will change
  2. Quit
  3. Change your strategy

Most marketers understand that digital marketing is all about keeping a close eye on your analytics, constantly measuring your results, and changing what you’re doing to improve those results consistently. But when should you be making these changes? How long should you wait before you realize things are not working as they should?

Here are five signs that your strategy is not working and it’s time to start changing things up.

  1. Low Number of Comments, Likes, Shares, etc

One of the clearest signs that things are not quite right with your digital marketing strategy is when you are not generating any engagement with your audience. How can you tell this is happening?

  • Blogs get no comments, or the number of comments is not increasing
  • Facebook posts get no likes
  • Tweets don’t get retweeted
  • Brand mentions are low
  • Your site is not generating natural backlinks

This type of organic interaction is a clear sign that your marketing efforts are paying off. When people start to naturally share and engage with your content and social updates and build natural backlinks, things are going in the right direction.

Of course, you’ll have to give it time. Don’t start panicking after a few weeks and decide that nothing is working. But if after a few months you have not seen a noticeable increase in engagement, it’s time to work out what’s going wrong. It could be down to any number of reasons. You could be creating the wrong type of content that doesn’t resonate with your target audience. Perhaps you’re sharing updates that your target audience doesn’t take any interest in. Or maybe you’re on the wrong social platforms entirely.

  1. Conversions Are Not Increasing

Perhaps the clearest sign that something is wrong is when conversions don’t increase. If you are not generating more leads or making more sales as a result of your marketing activities, this is certainly reason to question whether it’s all worth the time and investment.

This is especially frustrating if you are getting lots of engagement but nothing is happening. For example, your blog posts might get plenty of comments, but you don’t see this engagement reflected in results. It could be down to a range of possible reasons, but the likelihood is that your conversion rate optimization is not as effective as it could be.

If so, that’s generally a good thing because you may simply need to optimize your site, including your landing pages and sign-up forms, rather than blaming your overall marketing strategy.

It could be that your site is slow to load, which is known to affect conversion rates, or that it’s not responsive, which could have a terrible effect on sales. Your job is to find out what is going wrong. So use your analytics or consult an expert, and find out what’s causing the problem.

  1. You’re Attracting the Wrong Audience

Another potential problem is that you’re getting traffic and engagement … but from the wrong audience. i.e. Not the people who will purchase your solutions. It’s no good having lots of people commenting on your blog if they are not the sort of people who will do business with you. Clearly, you don’t need them all to become customers, but if not enough of them are turning into customers, something is amiss.

Perhaps you’re creating content that attracts a different type of audience, one that finds your topics interesting but does not convert. Or maybe you’re running competitions on social media that attract freebie hunters rather than genuine fans. Or perhaps you’re running promotions on platforms that your target customers don’t use.

Another sign of this is high bounce rates. You might be doing a good job of attracting traffic via the search engines, but if that traffic bounces, they have not found what they are looking for. This could be down to the fact that you are attracting the wrong audience. Or it could be that they are the right targets, but they are not finding what they want to on your site.

  1. You’re Spending Too Much Money

This is a difficult one to clarify, but basically, if you are spending lots of money and not seeing real results, it becomes harder to justify your marketing activities, both to yourself and to your boss. With traditional marketing, it can be harder to prove the link between marketing and sales. But with digital marketing, you can clearly see where your leads are coming from.

With techniques like PPC, you can find out how much you are spending for each lead and sale. If you are spending $100 per customer, it might mean you are spending too much, and you will want to find out how you can lower that. For example, your quality score might be low, leading to a higher CPC. Or your landing pages might need revisions.

Consult with a specialist and they should be able to tell you whether you are spending more than you should be. Basically, if you are not seeing good ROI, you might have some difficult questions to answer from the CEO and the sales department. Digital marketing should generate a clear ROI. If it’s not, something needs to change.

  1. You Have No Clear Objectives

It’s all well and good investing in digital marketing and hoping to “improve results.” But what are you actually trying to achieve? If you can only answer that question in vague terms, it could mean you need to redefine what you’re doing.

Any good marketing strategy should begin with clear goals. “Get more traffic” may seem fine, but “increase traffic by 20% over the next three months” is better. Sit down with your team and come up with some specific goals that you want to achieve. You can always change these, and your goals can and should evolve as you become more aware of what is possible from your marketing activities. But make sure you have at least some specific targets, and that way you will have a much clearer idea about whether you are hitting your goals or not.

Time to Reevaluate?

Digital marketing can pay off in a big way. But sometimes it can be a bit hit and miss, especially when you are just starting out. If you’ve been running a marketing campaign for a few months, keep a lookout for these signs. The best digital marketing strategies change and evolve based on how well they are performing, so keep a close eye on your marketing activities and don’t carry on blindly where things clearly need changing.

If you need to, get an expert involved. An outside eye can make a big difference and can see things that you cannot see. Whatever you do, don’t sit still. Digital marketing works, but you have to make it work. If things are not going right, it’s time to make some changes.

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