A great many digital marketing blogs out there will outline their idea of the best approach to running an SEO campaign that is effective, measurable and affordable; all saying pretty much the same thing. The rhetoric inundates blog-feeds and gets kicked into the corner of inboxes to gather dust, often offering no new insights at all.

The digital world is dynamic, more inconsistent than politics, ever changing and fraught with nuances that may work well for one campaign, while being completely ineffective for another. Because of this, there is no one-size-fits all approach to forming a marketing strategy for digital media.

Perhaps then, the best advice to take is not so much that which outlines the best practices of the industry, but rather those that should be avoided at all costs. In short, perhaps the best advice is that which should never be taken.

To help you with that, here are some principles to be aware of, that often completely undermine the effectiveness of a campaign, doing more damage than good when implemented, or indeed, are enabled by not implementing another, more sound strategy.

Confused? Excellent, that’s a great way to start running a terrible digital campaign; and to help you dig that hole a little deeper, here are some sure-fire ways to lower your campaign’s casket into the Earth before even giving it life.

Plan your Keywords Poorly; or Better Yet, Not at All

Keywords, the terms that your users enter into search engines to find your site, are one of the most important considerations for your digital campaign.  They are directly tied to how easily your content can be accessed, how relevant it is to your users, and also forms the foundation of how to structure your web content, blogs and articles. Because they are so important, they present a wealth of opportunities for you to completely rid your campaign of its effectiveness.

Want to run a terrible campaign? Be sure to approach its foundational phase with as little care as possible; picking out a hodgepodge collection of random, unrelated keywords that are so complicated that only a miracle will have your users searching for them. Better yet, spam your content with as many keywords as you can, that’s right, put them right next to each other until the text becomes unrecognisable; even hide the text that contains them on your website (that will show your users who’s boss) and be sure that they hold no relevance whatsoever to your content and business. Implement this approach, and you will successfully doom your campaign even before it has started.

Want to completely ruin your business and your campaign with keywords? Try bidding for the most ineffective albeit expensive ones possible on Google AdWords, that way you won’t only destroy your campaign, but will spend a heap of money doing it as well.

This way, not only will your search terms be ineffective, but will also lessen the integrity of your website’s ranking. As an added bonus, you will also completely annoy the few users who accidentally stumble on to the ghost-town of your website, ensuring that they never-ever visit it again; and with a little luck, you may even have your site reported for malpractice.

Alternatively, if you actually want your digital marketing campaign to do something for your business, you could always take the time to carefully plan and select each keyword according to your audience’s browsing habits, the needs of your business and industry and the nuances of your location. Approach Google AdWords carefully, finding balance between the competitiveness of keywords and their prices, and be sure to space your keywords effectively within relevant content on your site; and your campaign will have a higher chance of success.

Completely Ignore your Overall Brand Strategy

The best brands are those that follow a cohesive approach in all of their communicative efforts. Steady corporate identities, a consistent tone of voice and a formulated approach to putting your best foot forward every time will make your campaign distinctive, recognisable and consistent.

Customers like this, it builds trust in them; so if you want your campaign to crash and burn, it is important to completely ignore your overall brand strategy when working on the digital one that you have slapped together in a completely unrelated fashion.

Without consistency, you will allow your website to blend seamlessly into a sea of grey-faced others, making it all but impossible for it to strike the interest of your audience, while ensuring that not a spec of loyalty is earned for your brand over its digital channels.

If failure isn’t an outcome you were hoping for, then consistency is key. Your brand is your identity so making it stand out will then have to be a priority. Dress it to impress and make sure that it matches your overall image and approach, enabling it to be instantly recognisable and easy to remember.

Put on Your Black-Hat ; Who Needs Best Practice Anyway?

Search engines, particularly Google, requires marketers to adhere to some fairly strict guidelines when implementing SEO. There are a few tricks and loopholes that marketers sometimes use, and these are always frowned upon by Google who strives to create a web environment that adds value to its users.

These undesirable approaches to tricking SERPs are called black-hat tactics, and while they sometimes result in short-term positive outcomes, they almost always come crumbling down later on in the campaign.

Keyword stuffing, link farming and designing websites that manipulate search-engine ranking algorithms is a great way to get on the wrong side of search engines while simultaneously chasing off your potential clientele.

Better yet, black-hat tactics will almost always put a stain on the reputation of your business (I mean, which customers don’t like being tricked into interacting with your business when they really didn’t want to).

By doing this, you will be able to make a name for yourself as the dodgiest marketer in your field; a widely coveted title if ever I’ve seen one, and if you invest enough time and resources into finding loopholes, you might even be lucky enough to completely kill all traces of trust in your audience and industry.

Alternatively, you could be patient and stick to SEO best practices, watching the strength and trust of your business grow steadily throughout the campaign. Through doing this, you will have far less chance of vexing your audience as well as search-engine giants such as Google, who will view your campaign in a positive light for doing so, and will reward you with positive rankings and low bounce-rates.

Be Utterly Anti-Social

Looking for an excellent way to make sure that no one at all interacts with your brand and digital campaign? Well this is the perfect opportunity for you to completely ignore the marketing prowess and power offered by social media campaigns.

With a world-wide and targetable audience-base, easy to manage advertising platforms and the ability to have users share your content, social media platforms such as Facebook have been championed as the ideal way to get an audience to interact with a brand. To completely undermine this, all you need to do is ignore social.

For an even more unsuccessful campaign, why not invest time and resources into having a social presence that gets in the face of your audience and completely insults, irritates or spams them? Make your ads unrelatable, utterly boring and lifeless, and be sure to remove any interactive media such as images and videos from them.

To make things worse, you could disallow your users from commenting on your page and interacting with your brand, stop them from sharing your content, or better yet, post content that has nothing to do with your brand, products or services.

Let’s step it up a notch and just be rude to your users in the comments section, especially those who are critical of your business on social platforms… people love being told how wrong they are… right? But if you really want to inspire mistrust in your brand, why not forget bothering to interact with your social-media audience altogether, that’ll do the trick.

A more successful approach would be to be as interactive as possible, putting your best social foot forward on the relevant platforms. To make the most of a good campaign, be sure to select a platform that is right for your field, reaches the right audience, and provides the most effective marketing tools for your business.

Burn Bridges and Buy Backlinks

Competition in the digital marketing space is fierce across all fields, but the marketers who find the most success in their campaigns are those that form beneficial partnerships with related businesses. I speak particularly about backlinks here, an important part of SEO that is often ignored, since picking up the phone for a little outreach is sometimes comparable to a public lashing for some in the digital sphere, who prefer to remain nameless and faceless; hiding behind generic emails in this digital age we live in.

An excellent way to be sure that your SEO falls behind your competitors, is to completely ignore your backlink profile. They add credibility and authority to your site, inspiring trust in your visitors while simultaneously raising your site’s ranking. But in order to create an effective backlink profile, you would need to pick up the phone and actually speak to another human being, potentially a competitor at that.

Why opt for the benefit of a partnership when all you will get from it is an influx of interested visitors, higher quality leads, more traffic, better rankings, active interest, more web presence, better brand recognition and loyalty, more frequent conversions and a follower-base that could keep you afloat for years? I mean is any of that really worth picking up the phone and being nice to another human-being?

Besides, if you want your campaign to fail, it is best to keep yourself and your brand out of the public eye by simply keeping to yourself. Even better, instead of partnering with potential competitors, why not simply start a smear-campaign so that you don’t have to up the quality of your own services? No one will ever notice that you aren’t playing fairly, right?

In this digital age, integration is everything, and that includes how you interact with your competitors. Backlink profiles allow you to leverage off of their success, while allowing them to do the same with yours. Backlinks are one of the oldest and noblest ways of getting your rankings to climb, since they propagate fair competition across all fields, and inspire trust in website visitors. If you want your campaign to stand out against your competitors, link up with them to establish your authority in your industry.

Be Sure to Live Under a Rock

The digital marketing world is in constant flux, with new tools appearing here and there while redundant ones fall away. Because of this, staying on top of industry trends can often seem like a full-time job for marketers. Research is a necessary step, particularly for agencies that need to stay ahead of their competition; whether researching new platforms, tools or marketing products, a digital marketer can never know anything even close to enough.

Though nothing quite helps your campaign stagnate like the entropy of tried and tested formulae. Facebook has a new tool for targeting your audience; who cares? Pinterest now allows marketers to publish buyable pins; not interested. Artificial intelligence can help you understand your target audience all the better; what for? If you truly want your campaign to go nowhere, the best thing you can do in the field of R&D is absolutely nothing.

If you want your campaigns to stop in its tracks, stick to doing things the way you always have, using SEO practices from yester-year; heck, the push into digital was enough of a change for you, so why not just print out fliers and stand on a street-corner hawking them at uninterested passers-by, or better yet, hire a medieval herald to stand on a soap-box announcing your daily specials across a thoroughfare.

The abovementioned approaches to R&D will get you nowhere quickly, eventually causing you to fade into obscurity. If you want any amount of long-term success with your campaign, considerable resources and time must be invested into its research.

Do it Yourself; How Difficult Could it Be?

Build your own website, handle your own SEO, shoot your own videos and get your little cousin to do the graphic work for you. Nothing saves money like doing it yourself, and how difficult can running a digital campaign really be?

It is fair to say that we live in a time where information about anything can be readily accessed thanks to the power of the internet, so who needs professionals anymore? I’ll tell you who, you.

It’s tempting to try and save a buck or two by doing it yourself, but you will find the trouble of learning an entirely new profession to do it a little overwhelming; unless you are already a digital marketing professional, in which case why have you read this far into the article? The world of paid advertising is also somewhat unforgiving. Get your targeting or bidding wrong, and you could end up spending a fortune accidentally and getting no results from it.

An experienced marketer, such as those at Right Click Media, have spent the time and money on learning from these mistakes already, so that you don’t have to. With exceptional experience and an understanding of the finer points of digital advertising, you would be better off using an agency to handle your campaign for you. Contact one of our representatives or visit our website for additional details on how we can assist you.


John Ottolman

John Ottolman

John Ottolman: Keyword whisperer, content creator, researcher and OCD stricken editor. The imprints of keyboard letters have long-since embossed themselves on his finger-tips. Thirsty for knowledge and hungry to share it, he is here to provide insights from the digital industry.

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