Five Reasons Businesses Fail to Reach Their Digital Marketing Goals

One of the best things about digital marketing is that there’s a tool or technique out there for measuring almost anything. Do you want to find out how many phone calls are attributable to your SEO campaign? We can do that. Or maybe you’d like to compare the ROI of your different channels – from email to PPC to social. We can help with that too. Of course, when you’re measuring your successes, you’ll also be able to see when you aren’t reaching your goals. Sometimes, getting there is just matter of time, but there are a few obstacles we see time and time again which can prevent businesses from reaching their digital marketing goals. Let’s take a look at some of the more common obstacles.


Failure to establish goals at all

This may sound obvious, but you can’t reach a goal if you haven’t set one in the first place. Likewise if you haven’t established goals that are S.M.A.R.T. (Specific, Measureable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely). All too often, we hear from folks who want to increase their web traffic, or increase their sales, but with no clear metrics behind that.  Do you want to increase by 10%? 25%? 100%? When you do want to reach this goal? Next month, next quarter, or next year? What is the impact on your business if you hit or miss these goals? Establishing S.M.A.R.T. goals is the first (and arguably most critical) step in actually reaching your goals.

Failure to measure and adjust goals appropriately

Equally dangerous to missing your goals is the failure to track them on a regular basis and adjust them if needed.  For example, if you want to buy a house at the end of the year, you wouldn’t wait until December 1 to start saving money, and then hope you somehow find it in the last 30 days of the year. Progress towards goals should be established as part of the end goal, and measured at least monthly. If you miss a benchmark one month, adjusting the goal so you have a reasonable end target is critical. Hoping you’ll catch up at the end is a good way to set yourself up for failure.

Risks with the team you’re working with

Whether you work with an in-house or agency team, there is always some risk that the people you’ve hired to help you reach your end goals could be using outdated tactics, not monitoring the data closely enough to make the right decisions, or (worst case scenario) providing you with unrealistic goal targets in order to “close the deal”. There is no fool-proof way to ensure you have the right team in place, but working with them to establish your goals and having them provide insights on what is reasonable is a good starting point, followed by continually measuring progress. For what it’s worth, a good SEO or PPC Analyst will want to work with you on setting goals, as it justifies all the work they do.

Your baby is ugly

We talk about this quite a bit in the office, because it’s a very difficult conversation to have with a client. You can do all the SEO and PPC in the world, but if you have a site that is difficult to use, ugly to look at, or doesn’t drive engagement, you’ll just be generating traffic, and not leads or sales.  Making sure the website is updated and performing well is imperative before spending time and money to get traffic to it.

Bad keyword research

The keyword research you do for SEO and/or PPC can dictate the quality of the campaigns. If we target keywords or phrases that don’t convert, the entire foundation of our efforts is thrown off. Driving traffic is a good metric to look at, but the focus of a digital marketing campaign should be on driving the right traffic – the users that take the actions we want them to take once they are on your site – whether that’s engagement with site content, filling out a contact form, or purchasing products. So once you’ve set your goals, how long does it actually take to get there? That’s a big question, and it’s one we get all the time, so we answered it in our e-book below:

Download our e-book: How Long Does SEO Take?