Why isn’t my digital marketing working?

Your marketing campaigns have been going for a few months now and the data is flowing in but it’s not working the way you want.
Success is measured by one thing: Sales

To get the best start with your ads you need to ensure that the right ads are shown to the right people and that you are competitive with other businesses in your industry. You also need to ensure that the journey from the ad to the close of the sale is simple.

Here are a few things that tend to go wrong with a digital marketing campaign:

  • Shotgun blues: Everyone is targeted, despite having data that shows that your top converting customers are in a specific demographic
  • The bare cupboard: The budget is too low, so insufficient data can be collected to determine who is visiting your website to optimize
  • Who are you?: There’s no credibility on the website, they look like they opened yesterday and have no reviews so it feels risky to use them.
  • Style over substance: The product or service doesn’t have an offer that is compelling enough to get someone to engage with your business
  • See no evil: The competition hasn’t been reviewed and they have better prices, more reviews, stronger positioning, or a really good pitch
  • Digital handbrake:  Visitors hate the website because it is slow, out-of-date, not mobile-friendly, has broken functionality, is hard to use, etc.
Let’s examine these from a digital marketers perspective:
  1. Tracking: You need to ensure you have campaign tracking in place, ideally into Google Analytics. This will give you the sort of information you need to start building personas such as Females over 40 in Sydney signing up for product A more than product B. This is then fed back into the campaign for better targeting, images, and copy so they speak to your persona directly. This improves the chance of getting a click and improves the quality of the customer’s journey.
  2. Budget: Set a budget that matches your industry using the average cost per click (CPC). Some keywords in Google Ads are very expensive because they generate a lot of revenue or are highly competitive. If you are in an industry that averages $5 per click, a $30 per day budget is going to be used up without generating enough data to optimize the campaign. 10 clicks a month from Females over 40 in Sydney is not statistically relevant data to use in optimization.
  3. Social proof: Make sure your brand is strong and credible to visitors. This is usually done with Google reviews or testimonials on the website but make sure you exist on multiple platforms like LinkedIn, Facebook, and Google My Business to show you are established and take your web presence seriously enough to give people ways to find out more about you. As you get more data, you’ll be able to see which platforms people are using and you can focus on that to improve your visibility even more.
  4. A good pitch: Having a fancy landing page with video isn’t going to sell something when the content doesn’t help the visitor make a decision. If you’re selling online training, which is a competitive space, you need to differentiate yourself quickly and clearly from other trainers with clear messaging that demonstrates the value and benefits of your course which leads to #4.
  5. Competitor analysis: You don’t want to analyse your competitors to copy them, you do it to understand where the gaps are. The gaps might be that they offer free shipping and you don’t or that none of your competitors offer Afterpay. Competition isn’t always about the best offer either, it just needs to demonstrate the value that you have that others may not and that can be something as simple as having a faster website that works on mobile…and here’s #5
  6. Fix website issues: You’ve spent $5000 on a marketing campaign and all you have to show for it is data on who clicked on the ad with no sales. The bounce rate in Google Analytics (GA) is where this journey starts – if it’s 70% or higher, you might have a problem. The bounce rate in GA is when someone has landed on a page and left without interacting with it. If that page is meant to be taking bookings for a webinar, selling a cat collar, or sign-ups for an event then something is wrong. If all the above options have been done correctly, this leaves only one real possibility with multiple possible issues:
    • It’s slow to load – Big images, slow web hosting, poor design, technical issues
    • Poor design – Looks old, hard to find things, doesn’t represent the brand or products and services correctly
    • Not mobile-friendly – Doesn’t work or looks weird on mobile, slow to load on 3g
    • It doesn’t work – Buttons go nowhere, you can’t sign-up using forms or it’s actually broken
    • Relevance – Does the landing page for the campaign clearly talk about what was mentioned in the ad?


A couple of examples:

With that in mind, let’s go on a quick customer journey where someone is looking for something you provide and they are using Google.

  • They go to Google, they type in “red shoes” and the results come up.
  • They click on the ad for your business which says you sell “red shoes” in Melbourne
  • They go through to your website which is your home page
  • Red shoes aren’t on your home page, so they leave


  • They go through to your website which is a product page for red shoes
  • They are on mobile and the site takes more than 8 seconds to load, so they leave
  • Looking at your Google Analytics, you target Women, over 40, in Melbourne
  • You have a mobile-friendly website that loads quickly
  • You offer free delivery and monthly payment options which you mention in the ads
  • They click on your ad which loads a product page with red shoes on mobile
  • The price is competitive, you offer things your competitors don’t and you have positive reviews
  • They purchase the shoes which are tracked in Google Analytics, helping get more data for selling red shoes
  • The first few sales don’t make much profit, but over time and with analysis the profit margin increases so you increase the budget

A lot of these issues I’ve discussed should be reviewed before a campaign commences, especially websites and landing pages, but sometimes these things aren’t apparent until the campaign has started running.

But it’s important to remember that whilst it can be an expensive lesson, understanding your customers with data or fixing underlying issues with websites can benefit your business in other ways such as improvements in how Google or Facebook view your website from a quality perspective.

So in summary:

  • Find your audience using GA or your sales data, anything is better than nothing
  • Give them a consistent and high-quality journey from the ad through to purchase
  • Emphasize your businesses value when compared to your competitors, but don’t try to copy them
  • Get reviews from your happy customers to show you are a business to be trusted and always answer negative reviews as rapidly as possible
  • If your conversions drop, check the whole customer journey from ad to sale to make sure something hasn’t broken or
  • Check the bounce rate to make sure that the relevance hasn’t changed

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