The 5 Sins of Digital Marketing

Sins of digital marketing

The idea for this digital marketing post popped into my head while sitting aboard an Aer Lingus flight from Dublin to Dusseldorf in Germany last night. I was reading their excellent in-flight magazine called 'Cara' ('Friend' in Gaelic). Now according to this magazine, Aer Lingus offers Wi-Fi on long-haul flights, and this get's me started with my list of 'Sins of Digital Marketing (pet hates as well):

The five sins of digital marketing for small businesses

Sins of Digital Marketing - Number 1

Include links to your official online presence.

Travellers are encouraged to take in-flight photos and send them to the Aer Lingus Facebook page, chat with them on Twitter and view their videos on YouTube. What struck me with the advert was that there was no mention of any of the account addresses they are promoting!

Yes, I understand people can search any of these platforms, but with many spoof accounts, would it be easier to include official links? If you are a small business, please add your official pages, as it's unlikely you will appear first, second or third in any of the searches these sites may do.

Just for the record, these are the official pages.

Sins of Digital Marketing - Number 2

Get a real email address.

Often as I drive around in Uk, Germany, and Ireland, I see lots of small businesses promoting themselves on the side of company vehicles using fantastic graphic designs. They let themselves down with their email address: or Now a Uk domain (and email account) costs a few pounds a year to register; go out and buy one for your company. It looks far more professional and gives you an air of credibility that a free email account doesn't.

If you do not know how to do this or have anyone who can help you set one up, please drop me a line, and I will help you set it up for free (you pay the cost of the domain and hosting). This way, I can keep my sanity knowing there are a few more small businesses out there no longer using free email for their business.

UPDATE: 23/07/15 - My preferred hosting provider now offers email-only plans for €9.99 per year!

Sins of Digital Marketing - Number 3

Don't just join all the social media platforms just because you can.

There are many digital marketing / social media platforms out there, and most are free to join, don't be tempted to join everyone just because you can. When choosing your social media platform, think strategically. These are some of the things worth considering;

  • What's your company's target market?
  • What platforms does your target market use?
  • Make sure you know what each platform does
  • What type of content will you be sharing, text-based, videos, images or a combination of all?

Sins of Digital Marketing - Number 4

Don't ignore negative comments or criticism from your followers.

As your online following grows, you will hopefully gain lots of lovely comments and posts, but what happens when somebody criticises or complains about you on your 'official' page? Do you ignore it and hope it goes away? Alternatively, maybe get in a public spat with them? No, you respond, do not ignore it. These are some of my essential tips:

  • Don't be afraid of complaints; use negative comments to learn. Social media is the most significant focus group you are ever likely to have access to
  • Respond quickly, positively and if necessary, take it offline. This will show your customer base that you are listening to them. If it is a faulty product or a bad customer experience, ask the user to send more details and an email address for you to follow things up once you have investigated things. This will also enable you to take things out of the public glare.
  • Look out for the trolls; some customers cannot and will not be satisfied on social media. Once you feel you have done all you can, don't feed the troll; leave the conversation. In 99.5% of complaints, things dry up.
  • Have a plan for dealing with complaints. Regardless of who you are, you will get complaints on Social media, and have a plan or strategy for handling them. If you are new to this, then Google is your best friend; there are many tried and tested examples of 'social media response flow charts.'

Sins of Digital Marketing - Number 5

Keep your content relevant, fresh and fun.

Social media, by its very nature, is supposed to be, well, social. It is about getting involved in the conversation and connecting with people you may not ordinarily have had contact with. Here are some ideas for your digital marketing content:

  • Do you have fun at work? A team lunch, winning a prestigious award or an in-house award. Write about all of it. Pictures are worth 1000 words, or so they say, and social media lends itself to this very well.
  • Product launches, refreshes or promotions - digital marketing in its very raw form
  • Surveys invite your followers to vote on their favourite product within your range.
  • User selfies with your product. User-generated content is the best form of content; there is nothing better than your customers posing with your product(s) and shouting about how good they are
  • Focus on customer service. If you receive positive feedback about your service, post it!
  • The frequency of your posts is essential. Too many and you will annoy your followers; too few and people will forget about you. Use the tools available on many of the social platforms to identify the next time to post.

UPDATE: Since writing this piece, I think there may be a number 6 on my list. Check out why you should also have an Instagram business account.

These are my list of 'sins of digital marketing,' what's yours? Leave me a comment or drop me a line on Twitter.

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