5 Digital Marketing Mistakes to Avoid

Marketing mistakes happen to everyone, but there are steps you can take to avoid them. Follow these tips for better email marketing, content promotion, and social media outreach. If you haven’t done so already, read the first part of this series: 5 Ways Attention to Detail Can Make or Break Your Communications.

  1. Email Marketing: You didn’t include preview text. Preview text should serve as a description that backs up and adds value to your subject line. 155 characters max. Don’t include links, dates, or phone numbers as they may auto-link and cause issues with your email template.
  2. Content Marketing: You optimized your content for a laptop or desktop user. Include a strong headline that also works for mobile. Many times, you can just reuse your subject line as the headline of your message. Remember to use keywords in your headline and subheadings.
  3. Search: You didn’t optimize for organic search engines. This is a big one. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is easy to overlook but it has a huge potential return on investment. Use free online tools or query search engines like Google to do keyword research. This can help you find out the words your audience is using to search for your content, programs, or products. At a minimum, make sure your content has a good meta-title and meta-description when you publish so you have a better shot at ranking on a search engine results page.
  4. Social Media Marketing: You didn’t use a link shortener. Although it is getting harder and harder to reach your audience with organic social media posts, it is still important to optimize your content for social. We’ve seen a good return on investment by including social media sharing buttons in our email marketing messages. If you’re doing social and you’re a fed, use Go.USA.Gov to shorten your links and measure the effectiveness of your outreach.
  5. Timing: You didn’t pay attention and just sent something out without thinking. When you do outreach or post your content is critically important. Each website, marketing campaign and audience is unique but here are some general guidelines to keep in mind:
    • Earlier in the day will help you maximize performance: 9am to 1pm is the sweet spot.
    • Earlier in the week will help you reach more people: Monday, and Tuesday are best
    • Nights, Fridays, weekends, and federal holidays tend to be dead zones for marketing. But there are exceptions to every rule. This America Counts story and infographic celebrating the Fourth of July was one of our most popular even though we sent it out very close to a holiday.
    • Deadlines matter and they can change the marketing landscape for you. Your audience may be much more tolerant of multiple sends, sends in the evening, and sends on weekends if they know that an important deadline is approaching.
    • Don’t step on your own outreach. Be aware of when other parts of your organization are doing outreach. Adjust the schedule so you don’t pre-empt or detract from other important campaigns, breaking news, or official announcements.

Only You Can Prevent Marketing Mistakes

Do you have any best practices to share with the GovLoop community? What’s worked for you in the past? Let us know in the comments.

Anthony Calabrese is part of the GovLoop Featured Contributor program, where we feature articles by government voices from all across the country (and world!). To see more Featured Contributor posts, click here.

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Avatar photo Blake Martin

These are all great tips for marketing folks, and there’s certainly always room for improvement! Great piece, Anthony.

Kaitlin Moller

Thanks for sharing, Anthony. Even in digital marketing there were still some excellent things I learned from this piece.