At the time of this article being written, coronavirus has become a mainstay and focus in the public eye. What the next several months will bring is anyone’s guess. In times of uncertainty, a bit of guidance is always welcome, and in the end, wisdom knows no time or place.

Digital marketing has become a new focus for many businesses. After all, everyone’s staying at home. That means that digital marketing has to be as easy as ever, right?

Quite the contrary. We agree – this is indeed a good opportunity to start a digital marketing campaign. This isn’t to say, though, that such a thing is simple. In fact, it can do you a lot more harm than good if you don’t know what you’re doing. You could tarnish your brand and alienate potential clients. You could also disrupt your standing with platforms like Google. Worse yet, you would have had to pay for the privilege for each one of these.

Here are three common mistakes that you might make (or have made) in your initial digital marketing journey. We also go into how it relates to COVID-19, and what tactics we propose as an alternative.

  • 1. Having No Strategy
    Perhaps worse than having a bad plan is not having a plan at all. Merely reacting to current trends can prove to be ineffective or detrimental over a longer period. Cut your ad budget due to coronavirus, or put up an ad that simply talks about the situation? It won’t matter what tricks or techniques you use. Without a guiding light in the campaign, you will end up with short-term results and little growth. Ads can’t be only driven by current trends. Proactive ads that fit into a larger picture will drive more leads in the long-term, and build a better image for your brand.

    Our recommendation. Platforms like Google and Facebook will take your budget and spend it, whether you have a strategy or not. Why not make the most of it, and gather information all the while? Every time you have a campaign, use 3-6 variant ads and up to 2 different audiences. This will help you quickly optimize campaigns and help you adapt better to market conditions.

  • 2. Throwing Everything At The Wall
    Be sure not to take our last recommendation too far in one direction. Some firms will try a little bit of everything and see what ends up “sticking to the wall.” That is to say, they spread their budget thin between dozens of platforms and campaign ideas. This is not a recipe for success. To see results, you need to commit to one or more ideas. This isn’t the same as sticking with one idea until you realize it’s a bad idea. You will have to decide which of your campaign plans seems the most promising, though. Too small of a budget, and you are unlikely to receive the results you want. This is true of the coronavirus situation especially. For firms new to digital marketing, but hesitant to commit a large budget, they may try out every platform before settling with one. This is not the most efficient way of choosing a platform, though. Often, the best platform is the one you commit to and work with the most.

    Our recommendation. Narrow your scope to 2-3 platforms or dimensions. We often suggest starting out with SEO, Google PPC, and Facebook display campaigns. This gives you the flexibility to try out search and social media advertising. It also allows you to test out a campaign concept on several platforms, giving you better insight into what works on multiple fronts. Sometimes, a campaign works better on one platform than another. You will need to commit to these ideas though for some time before you can say anything for certain.

  • 3. Trying to Cheat the System
    There’s no fast-track to a good marketing campaign, and no shortcuts either. It takes expertise, time commitment, a good budget, and forethought to build a winning ad campaign. When companies try to evade the truth and pay – or cheat – their way to success, it doesn’t end well. Buying followers or buying backlinks to your website gets noticed pretty quickly. Trying to “beat the algorithm” will end with your brand being beat instead. You won’t be outsmarting tech giants like Google – and they will penalize you harshly for trying. In times such as these, it is tempting to get a campaign off the ground fast. However, what you do today in your campaigns will affect all your future ones, too. Inserting “coronavirus” haphazardly in your ads won’t pan out for long. Neither will outright plagiarism of content.

    Our recommendation. If you want to make sure that your marketing budget is spent wisely, spend a little extra on a professional agency. Digital marketing is not always straightforward and needs consistent care to nurture. Trust us, we know. Hiring an agency to act as our own marketing department can get you to hit the ground running in your own campaigns. Challenging times like these mean that there are uncertainty and risk in anything you try. Putting faith into an agency you can trust will help build your business and avoid these common pitfalls in digital marketing.