Digital Strategy Mistakes to Fix for 2021

The once-in-a-lifetime challenges of 2020 accelerated the adoption of e-commerce and online sales. In fact, during just the first 3 months of the pandemic, e-commerce penetration in the U.S. grew more quickly than it had in the last 10 years combined.

A tumultuous year likely left your digital marketing strategy under intense pressure to perform in 2021. As digital has become the primary (if not only) way to reach your customers, delivering a stand-out customer experience is more important than ever.

According to eConsultancy, 88% of online consumers are less likely to return to a website after a single bad experience. Don’t let this happen – a strong digital strategy is your best tool for achieving a better customer experience.

As a digital agency for 20+ years, we help our clients understand their customers needs and motivations to deliver compelling content and offers that guide their next action. Our marketing experts continuously optimize digital strategies to achieve our clients’ business goals.

Our work is centered on creating genuine customer experiences online (albeit, this can be complex and easier said that done). Through the years, we’ve noticed patterns with the types of issues our clients come to us to solve, including:

  • “We can’t keep up with our customers’ changing demands.”
  • “Abandonment rates are high and customers are losing interest.”
  • “We set up automated campaigns, but we’re not seeing results.”

Sound familiar? Let’s address these common digital strategy mistakes and share quick tips on how to get back on track for the year ahead.

Mistake #1: Your Plan Isn’t Based On Data

With constantly evolving customer demands, marketers often must pivot on-a-dime. For example, during the pandemic, 60% of marketers were forced to throw away their marketing plans and improvise instead.

Now, more than ever, you have to listen to what your customers are telling you by mining your data. Expert knowledge and experience will always shape your strategy, but data is your best asset for developing a solid, yet flexible digital strategy.

For example, review Google Analytics channel data to understand where your customers are interacting and converting (and where they’re not). If social performance is lackluster, but email conversions are high, you can put resources and new tactics in place to maximize success across both channels.  

Similarly, understand changing product popularity by reviewing product category or detail page visits, add-to-carts, and orders, and feature popular products in your campaigns or bundle items with less popular products to move inventory. Review search phrases, webform submissions, and customer service inquiries to better anticipate common client questions and update your FAQ or content pieces with this helpful information.  

Crisis-proof your strategy by laying a strong foundation in data. This allows you to prioritize and focus on your customers’ current context and proactively engage them by adapting to their shifting needs.

Learn more about how data can help you turn your strategy on a dime.

Plus, see how our always-agile client Cuisinart made the bold decision to add direct to consumer sales to their website.

Mistake #2: One-Size Fits All

Your customers expect a personalized experience, but how can you make their interactions more relevant and meaningful at-scale? Personas.  

Personas provide a deeper understanding of your customers’ wants and needs, so you can target the right information and offers to them. Build your personas based on assumptions and existing data, starting with only three to five, so it’s not overwhelming. 

Need help getting started? Download our Persona Worksheet to capture your customers’ motivations, interests, data triggers and more, to start building actionable user personas.  

Next, map each persona’s customer journey to identify the right mix of touchpoints at the right time. Establish a distinct cadence for each audience segment to nurture all stages of the buying cycle and drive more opportunities for upsells, cross-sells, and repeat sales. 

Want inspiration? See how Yamaha Watercraft Group continuously elevates their digital transformation to be more relevant and exciting for their audience, most recently with two new websites and mobile apps.

Mistake #3: You Set It and Forget It

Marketing automation is a powerful tool in the marketers’ arsenal, enabling better, data-driven experiences at-scale. Like everything else, though, continuous optimization is key. Set it and forget it, loses momentum fast.  

Today’s customers journeys are no longer linear – they’re multi channel and messy. It’s important to analyze how campaign touchpoints are performing, apply data and learnings from one channel to another, and then tailor your automation strategy accordingly.  

For example, if you have a high-performing email subject line, you might create a web promotion focused on the same theme. Social media is a great place to test copy, product selection, and imagery to analyze engagement for a lower cost/lower stakes soft launch, before investing in a multi-channel campaign. 

Dig deeper: Check out our 3 Tips for More Personal and Profitable Customer Journeys by connecting your website and email strategy.

Plus, see how we helped our client Dennis East International increase their email open and clickthrough rate with a personalized post-purchase nurture campaign by using website behavior data.

Need More Digital Strategy Course Corrections?

By offering multiple paths for customers to interact with your business, you have endless opportunities to engage, delight, and incentivize action. Though expected, this approach ups the stakes. You need a thoughtful, data-driven, and flexible multichannel digital strategy to optimize channel and campaign performance and deliver the best customer experience. 

Check out our on-demand webinar, Digital Strategy Mistakes You’re Making and How to Fix Them, and sign up to be notified about upcoming marketing strategy webinars presented by our industry experts.