digital marketing mistakes

The 13 Worst Digital Marketing Mistakes (+How to Fix Them)

When it comes to Digital Marketing, the Internet is full of incredible and easily accessible information that allows us to reach the heart of every Marketing concept. However, this abundant knowledge can easily be a double edged sword as information is often misinterpreted or simply wrong and confusing. Today, we will see some of the worst Digital Marketing mistakes that your business could be committing without realizing it.

But most importantly, how to fix them to get your strategy on the right track without hurting your conversion rates and scaring your leads away.

digital marketing mistakes

1. Spammy pop ups

One of the biggest Digital Marketing mistakes that I often see companies do is flooding their website with annoying pop ups coming out of everywhere.

As a Marketing blogger but also a user, I often stumble across content that I physically can’t see or read because it is covered by banners, ads, and pop ups.

This practice is terribly spammy, and makes me leave immediately without even bothering. I simply feel saturated with all this information and different Call to Actions.

What do to instead:

Having pop ups on your website is definitely not a bad thing. On the contrary, it can be very beneficial for improving your conversion rates and increasing your email list.

However, they might seriously hurt the user experience if all of them show up at the same time. Instead, try to schedule them out with a time difference of 20-30 seconds.

This way, users will not only be able to focus on peacefully consuming your content, but you will also have their undivided attention. And get your message across!

2. Bad Timing

While we are still on the topic of pop ups, another bad practice that I often see companies do is scheduling a pop up during the first seconds of user activity on the website.

Bad timing can be really damaging for user experience. If your pop up appears too soon, the user who is still trying to read your content might get really frustrated and leave. No matter how brilliant your article is.

digital marketing mistakes

After all, your audience has come to your website to look for something in particular – and they will need time to find and process this information before taking any further action.

For example, I often get the pop up of “subscribe to our email list” before I have even read the first paragraph of an article. You can’t really expect your audience to subscribe to your list before they have made up their mind on whether they like your content and want more.

What to do instead

The correct timing may differ depending on your industry and existing audience. According to OptinMonk, a great rule of thumb is to set the pop up timing at about 60% of the average time that users spend on your website.

However, if you don’t have Google Analytics to get these metrics, aim for a delay of at least 30-45 seconds before launching the pop up. This should give users enough time to read and engage with your content.

3. Using clickbait

Next on our list of digital marketing mistakes that could be damaging your brand reputation is the use of clickbait. While many companies do it on purpose to draw more attention to their content, others could be doing it without even realizing.

digital marketing mistakes - clickbait


Clickbait is a form of false advertisement that aims to attract the attention with misleading and deceptive headlines, usually over exaggerated and hyper sensationalized.

The main idea behind it is to spark the curiosity of the audience so they can click on the link or article. However, the actual content rarely matches the “promised” one, and the user ends up feeling deceived by the dishonest title and the brand behind it.

Although clickbait can be an effective tool for driving more traffic to your website, it is rarely effective in the long run. It usually leaves your audience disappointment

What to do instead

Avoiding clickbait doesn’t mean that you can’t have catchy headlines. It means to stay truthful to your content and make sure that it matches what the headline promises to avoid deceiving your users.

For some tips on how to write catchy and viral headlines, you can also check this article from Crazy Egg.

4. Excessive email frequency

From abusing the subject line to leaving out the unsubscribe option or failing personalization, there are many email marketing mistakes that companies commit on a daily basis.

However, one of the biggest digital marketing mistakes that all businesses should be careful about is email frequency. People receive hundreds of emails each week, and sending out way too many will simply add to the oversaturation that they already have.

And the worst part is, you risk losing a subscriber that you worked so hard for.

What to do instead

Setting the right frequency for your email list can be tricky as there could be a lot of difference between industries. However, sending an email just 1 or 2 times per week is generally the golden point for the majority of businesses.

This way, you don’t spam your customers, but you also don’t give them enough time to forget you in between emails. You can also click here to learn more about finding your perfect email frequency.

5. Ignoring customer feedback

customer feedback

There is no doubt that Amazon has completely revolutionized the eCommerce industry, but one of the biggest reasons why is because they cared so much about customer feedback.

In the digital era, information spreads like wildfire, and any company that is ignoring its power is committing one of the biggest digital marketing mistakes possible. You should never, ever ignore customer feedback.

What to do instead

Of course, listening to your customers is not exclusively applicable to eCommerce and Internet-based businesses. Whether you are a local shop or a SaaS company, you should constantly be monitoring what others are saying – and how you can use this feedback to improve.

It can not only save your business from taking the wrong direction, but it could also be the key to your competitive advantage. For more information on how to get and manage customer feedback, you can also read my 11 Tips for Brand Reputation Management.

digital marketing mistakes

6. Not tracking your performance

Next on our list of digital marketing mistakes that could seriously be hurting your business growth is not tracking the performance of your Marketing actions.

Whether you are investing in Google Ads, Social Media, SEO or Email Marketing, you need to establish clear and measurable KPIs that will help you understand the profitability of your actions. And of course, your return on investment for each Marketing channel.

Marketing copy - target audience

Let’s imagine that you are spending thousands of dollars on Google Ads to get more people to fill out a form on your website. However, you have absolutely no idea how many conversions are coming from your ads, nor how much a single one costs.

This single mistake could be causing you to throw away thousands of dollars.

What to do instead

Start by establishing Key Performance Metrics for each Marketing channel, both paid and organic. They should be a reflection of your goals and you should use them as a reference for your performance.

For example, some of the most important KPIs for most businesses investing in Google Ads include the number of conversions, and the cost per conversion. After all, if you are selling a product worth 10$ but it costs you 15$ to get a user to purchase it, your numbers will not add up in the end.

cost leadership examples

Of course, conversions are not the only relevant metrics that will need your attention. Others, such as Clickthrough Rate and Conversion rate, can also be a great indicator for the performance of your ads.

For your organic channels like Facebook and LinkedIn, measuring metrics such as likes, shares, and comments is key for evaluating the impact of your content.

For more information on how to select the right KPIs, you might also want to check some of the following articles:

7. Neglecting your website loading speed

Number 7 on our list of digital marketing mistakes is neglecting the loading speed of your website. The time it takes for your website to load is absolutely crucial for the seamless experience of your audience, and ensuring that they will stay for longer.

And of course, the faster – the better. If a user sees that your website takes forever to load, they will simply leave and continue browsing other pages. In fact, more than 40% of users will abandon your site if it takes longer than 3 seconds to load.

digital marketing mistakes - site speed

When it comes to digital marketing mistakes, this one will affect not only your audience but also your own strategy. A slow loading website can have a negative effect on your SEO efforts, and it will be harder for you to position on the first pages for your target keywords.

What to do instead

There are a lot of factors that can affect the loading speed of your website. However, there are no digital marketing mistakes that can’t be fixed, so you can start working on it right now!

The first step is to check the current speed of your website. Luckily, there are a lot of free and paid tools that can help you do just that – personally, I like to use Hubspot’s Website Grader, which is completely free to use.

Another great tool to use is Google’s Page Speed Insights.

Once you have your score, Hubspot (affiliate link) will recommend you further actions depending on the aspects that you need to improve. You can also check their article The 8-Step Guide to Achieving 100% Google Page Speed.

8. Underestimating mobile

One of the most common digital marketing mistakes that many companies make is underestimating the power of mobile usage. According to TechJury, the mobile market share worldwide accounts for 52.1% compared to the desktop market share of 44.2%.

But what’s more, the whopping 51% of internet traffic actually comes from mobile, which is about 4-5% more than desktop (46%). This makes mobile the dominant digital platform that customers use, leaving behind desktop and even tablet (which only accounts for 3% of the traffic).

All these statistics just highlight the importance of having a mobile-friendly website. In fact, companies that are not able to provide a seamless mobile experience are missing on a huge opportunity for increasing their traffic and conversions.

What to do instead

As in our previous point, the first step that you will need to take towards a mobile friendly website is establishing a dignosis. In other words, finding out if your website is mobile friendly, and what is it missing to reach an optimum level of friendliness.

Again, there are various tools that you can use to check your score, such as this test developed by Google, or the previously mentioned Page Speed Insights.

digital marketing mistakes - mobile friendly

Both tools will give you some great and personalized insights on the further actions that you will need to take. You can also check these tips to make your website mobile friendly.

9. Buying social media followers

Undoubtedly, one of the biggest digital marketing mistakes that companies can make while pursuing a bigger following on social media is to purchase followers. 

But although this practice is especially tempting for businesses that are just starting out with their social media channels, it can actually be quite damaging. After all, the number of followers doesn’t mean anything if it’s not backed up by engagement.

Just think about it – how are you going to look like if you have 10,000 followers and not a single like on your posts? Or nobody ever clicks? Not to mention the fact that you will probably not sell much to false followers or simply bots.

What to do instead

Just be patient – organic growth takes time, but it will be worth it. By publishing valuable content that resonates with your audience, your increase in following will be inevitable! And you will notice the difference in the long run.

Purchasing followers or using tools such as Twiends is absolutely useless in the long run.

10. Purchasing email lists

While we are still on the topic of investing in useless and harmful shortcuts, next on our list of digital marketing mistakes is buying email lists that don’t belong to you.

digital marketing mistakes - buying email lists

This practice is not only ilegal and doesn’t comply with regulations such as the GDPR in the European Union, but can also be highly inefficient.

Just think about it! It is already difficult enough to get people who proactively subscribe to your email list to open and engage with your emails. Now imagine what will happen if you seek for engagement from people who didn’t even know you existed in the first place.

What to do instead

Just don’t purchase email lists! It is not worth it, seriously. 🙂

11. Outdated designs & visuals

Our list of digital marketing mistakes continues with something that I have noticed a lot in companies that have been around for years in their industry, but are just starting with their online marketing strategy.

And that is, using outdated visuals for their website and Marketing materials. As UI/UX design is advancing and styles are changing, users are expecting to see certain designs and graphics that adequately reflect modern standards.

Of course, this doesn’t mean that all visuals should look the same. However, it is important to keep in mind that Digital Marketing materials are not only made to be creative – they are made to be effective and generate a higher number of conversions.

So, the reason why certain designs are dominating over others is because they have high-converting elements that make them effective for businesses.

What to do instead

The good news is, you have some awesome tools available at your fingertips even if you can’t afford to hire graphic designers. For example, Canva has hundreds of awesome templates for practically every type of Marketing material.

digital marketing mistakes - outdated designs

You can use the 100% free version to design ads for Google and Social media, organic posts, flyers, and everything else that comes to your mind.

Or, you could upgrade to Canva Pro (affiliate link) for just €11.99 per month, and enjoy awesome animations, branded materials, transparent background, and millions of free photos and videos.

12. Too many ads on website

Although not many companies enable third-party ads on their own website, one of the most common digital marketing mistakes that small businesses and bloggers make is ruining user experience with too many ads. 

While ads are a key monetization method for many websites, having too many can often have the opposite effect and affect your monetization efforts negatively.

digital marketing mistakes - too many ads

Splashing them all across the site will most likely scare your audience away, and they will end up seeing less ads. Which, as a consequence, will earn you less money.

What to do instead

Instead of incorporating too many ads on both sides of the screen and sprinkling them randomly inside the articles, focus only on a couple of key areas. Give users enough space so they can consume your content without getting annoyed or distracted.

For example, you can only reserve one side of the screen, and focus your ads there. If you want to include in-article ads, place them with enough content paragraphs between them. It could be at the beginning and/or the end of the article.

You can also consult this article from Google on the best practices for ad placement.

13. Not having a blog for your website

As Bill Gates said in the far 1996, “Content is king” – and this phrase is not only true to this day, but also becomes more and more relevant as time goes by. In the digital era, practically everything revolves around content.

For this reason, one of worst digital marketing mistakes that a company can make if they want to establish a solid Marketing strategy is not creating a blog for their website.


Blogs are an incredible tool for driving traffic to your website. They not only allow you to reach the first pages of Google and get right in front of your audience, but they help you establish your brand as reliable and trustworthy.

In fact, Marketers who are prioritizing blogging are 13 times more likely to see a positive ROI.

What to do instead

Well, it might sound obvious, but all it takes to “fix” this mistake is to go ahead and create your blog today. Of course, creating the blog itself really doesn’t take much time – what’s important is to write in it consistently. 

And, if you want to discover some tips to become an excellent blogger, you might want to check some of my articles:

And that was all from me, folks! As always, thank you for taking the time to read my article on the biggest digital marketing mistakes, and I hope to see you in the next one!

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