10 Digital Marketing Myths and Misconceptions Debunked
As digital marketing strategies rapidly evolve, it’s essential to address the most common myths and misconceptions. Our article brings you helpful tips straight from the experts themselves.
Digital marketing strategies evolve as quickly as the platforms being leveraged by marketing professionals. In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, SMBs and enterprise entities alike have struggled to identify the right mix of paid and organic marketing tactics, social channels, and directory listings that will help them rebound and even recover their financial losses due to business interruptions and closures. Now more than ever, online content channels are flooded with promises of best practices and silver bullet advice promising results or discounting opposing marketing strategies in order to boost their own services.
At UpCity, we’re more interested in pulling back the veil and debunking many of the myths and misconceptions circulating to show business owners and decision-makers the importance of a diversified but also well-balanced marketing strategy in order to effectively outperform the competition. In order to help business owners navigate the complexities of modern marketing, we gathered tips directly from digital marketing experts about the most common digital marketing myths that business owners should know about for 2022.
Myth 1: Marketing Automation Solves All of Your Problems
Streamlining operations often involves integrating software solutions into the workflow, allowing minimal staff to increase productivity through automation tools The problem is often that these solutions oversell their utility and can give business owners a false sense that customer needs are being met. Experts warn against completely relying upon automation in the marketing workflow.
“One of the biggest digital marketing myths I come across is the unfettered devotion to marketing automation and how it can solve any number of problems within the marketing stack. While powerful, marketing automation should still be used in a targeted and thoughtful way beyond just a mechanism to get additional messages out to leads with very little effort. If you’re looking to leverage marketing automation, try to customize your nurture tracks and triggers by audience segment—the type of customer, size of business, or industry type—so that they still get content and messaging that is specific to their needs. You can also consider setting up alerts for new leads that fit your target market profile exactly to pull them from the automation track and reach out directly after learning more about them. Automation is good for increasing efficiency, but be sure you don’t lose the humanity in your messaging.” —Colton De Vos, Marketing Specialist, Resolute Technology Solutions
Myth 2: Only Exact Keyword Matches Will Make Your Website Appear in Google SERPs
Keyword usage in marketing has changed significantly over the years. In the past, keywords were thought to be one of the only factors that would attract the attention of search engines, leading to poorly written and even more poorly designed websites strictly concerned with the volume of keywords on the page rather than the quality of the content. Modern search engine optimization and paid marketing tactics both still rely largely on keyword use, but as the search algorithms have become more complex and search engines more concerned with user intent, that reliance on keywords is very different.
“One of the biggest misconceptions I see from clients is that their websites need exact keyword matches to appear in Google SERPs, especially when they’ve been dealing with a low-quality agency. Since Google began implementing the Hummingbird update in 2013, the company has significantly improved the search engine’s ability to understand a query rather than just simply matching up with keywords. This means keyword stuffing as a strategy is even more unnecessary than it was in the past, and in fact, could negatively impact your search ranking. In recent years, our agency has found much more success when we focus content on comprehensively covering topics rather than focusing on keyword integration.” —Willy Evans, Director of SEO, Digital Division Group
Myth 3: It’s Too Difficult and Requires Too Many Resources to Gather Online Reviews from Customers
Reviews are powerful tools businesses can use to get a read on the needs and expectations of clients, as well as improve overall customer engagement and satisfaction. For small businesses with limited resources or experience, getting a handle on online reviews might be challenging, but it’s absolutely crucial to your business’s success that you do.
“Reviews are often neglected by small businesses because small business marketing teams feel it’s too much work to get reviews from their customers or they’re not aware of the best place to direct customers wanting to leave a review. Your team should make review management part of your process after the sales process by distributing at the very least your organization’s Google Business Profile link and try to automate the review acquisition process.” —Jay Vics, Founder, JVI Mobile Marketing
Myth 4: Blogging Is A Waste of Time and Content Isn’t Essential
While it was a tactic that was increasing in importance pre-COVID, establishing a content marketing strategy that includes blogging carries even more weight in the post-COVID economy given the changing behaviors of consumers online. No longer willing to rely only upon competitive pricing and clever marketing, consumers are increasingly seeking out information about the brands and services they intend to patronize. They want to know about those businesses’ civic outreach efforts, their missions and values, and as much information about the services and products on offer as they can find. Content acts as a window for visitors to your website and social platforms to learn more about your brand and effectively capture the attention of the search algorithms through the use of informative and educational content supported by the necessary keywords relevant to your industry.
“As a small marketing agency, we run into countless misconceptions. We often hear that blogging is a waste of time and online content, in general, isn’t worth the investment or effort. In fact, most small business owners don’t realize that blogging is a great and affordable way to promote your business. Good blog content attracts unsolicited backlinks, improves website dominance in the marketplace, and attracts more leads. Content, in general, is essential and can help educate your audience, ensuring that they make well-informed decisions. Content can also increase online visibility across both search engines and social media channels.” —Ashif Rashid, SEO Expert & Founder, Ace SEO Consulting
Myth 5: Paid Marketing Doesn’t Have As Much Impact as Organic Marketing Methods
Small business owners in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic have embraced any marketing strategy that helps reduce costs while still helping to increase lead generation and sales conversions. As a result, organic marketing methods have grown exponentially in popularity and DIY marketing automation and solutions have easily kept pace with and in some cases surpassed paid marketing channels.
“Many businesses forgo paid digital marketing channels and lean more on organic digital marketing such as SEO, content marketing, and social media marketing because these organic opportunities are seen as free advertising. This cannot be further from the truth. Oftentimes more cost-effective growth is achieved through paid marketing. To maximize the impact of paid ads, small businesses should set up conversion tracking on their website, create paid advertisements, and optimize campaigns to improve conversion rates. Conversion tracking results in improved results and less wasted Ad Spend. Find an agency partner that you trust if you do not know how to do this. Agencies are often more affordable than hiring an internal marketer to set up and run campaigns.” —Evan Holmgren, Founder, Hammerhead
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Myth 6: Print Marketing Is Dead
With as much online discussion as there is regarding digital marketing, one could be forgiven for honestly believing there is no longer value in prioritizing print marketing. While it might not always be the best primary method for brands to promote their goods and services in the digital age, it’s important to remember that print marketing materials such as branded flyers, catalogs, signage, and swag products still circulate and there are other mediums where print marketing could further augment the impact of dynamic marketing campaigns.
“The rising importance of digital marketing has many feeling that print marketing is dead. While it’s true that boring mailer campaigns are old-hat, the reality is there’s so much more to print in 2022! It can be integrated with digital marketing in so many ways, providing a tactile touchpoint for a truly multi-channel brand experience. Print is also extremely powerful for localized, grassroots, and guerilla-style campaigns. Don’t underestimate the power of a well-branded print asset. Take time to revisit your print assets and their designs. Are they updated? Are they on-brand? Keep them fresh and ready for any in-person events you have on the calendar for 2022!” —Cynthia Ord, Marketing Manager, YellowDog
Myth 7: Web 3.0 Doesn’t Have a Place in the Future of Marketing
We can’t stress enough throughout our efforts to educate the marketing and B2B community that technologies and strategies are ever-evolving. We are entering what technology experts consider to be the third generation of the Internet. A more dynamic and interactive landscape supported by artificial intelligence and blockchain technologies, Web 3.0 will need to support much more complex marketing tactics through data acquisition and analytics while ensuring security and the integrity of information. Despite the buzz and hype surrounding the artistic applications of NFTs, marketing professionals can actually utilize the idea of private tokens stored securely on the blockchain as a method for delivering increased value to potential leads and existing customers both.
“Because it’s a new technology, many think that Web 3.0 is a consumer fad for Bored Ape NFTs. Actually, NFTs can and should be packaged to represent the value your company offers. You can package that value in things like lifetime subscriptions, generous discounts, extended trials, preferred product feedback status, and any other perk or benefit to add value for your customers. You can even create tokens in the lead gen phase to incentivize users to read content, fill out forms, or engage with your company. This is so much more valuable than a Starbucks Gift Card. Then sell, or give away the tokens to early superfans. These early adopters now have a financial incentive to increase the value of their NFT. As NFT owners, they will create a community of like-minded users who will serve as enthusiastic promoters of your offering.
Now, for product growth, you have the utility of your offering, as well as the fact that you’ve created financial growth incentives to bootstrap your company. You can do this now, in 2022, because Web 3.0 is not only for consumers and B2C but can be creatively applied to B2B to power product-led growth. However, remember that it’s best to not stress out your current developers by bringing this up as a new ‘crypto fad’ project. Outsource small, trial projects, such as minting a single NFT, to outside developers or Web 3 agencies.” —Brian Bloomking, Managing Director, The Bloomking Agency
Myth 8: Search Engine Optimization Is No Longer a Viable Marketing Strategy Beyond Managing Your Google Business Profile
This misconception is somewhat complex, and our experts had a lot to say about the interplay between SEO and their Google Business Profile. First, our experts felt the need to debunk the myth that SEO is no longer relevant in modern strategies.
“There’s a power that SEO provides your brand an advantage over other products or services that might be better advertised on social media. Search engine optimization is crucial because when well-executed, it can help boost brand awareness so that your brand can be found on search engines when someone decides to expand their information gathering beyond social media and look up additional information about your company’s offerings or conduct searches for similar products and services from competitors.” —David Wurst, Founder, WebCitz, LLC
Other experts made sure to stress the importance of your Google Business Profile, but that it wasn’t enough to truly rank in SERPs without other SEO efforts to support your brand presence online.
“There’s a growing belief that maintaining a Google Business Profile is sufficient to manage and maintain your brand online. Our agency tries to help clients understand that having a top-ranking position in organic results does not generate the same amount of traffic that it has in the past. This is because of the prominence and placement of Google business listings. As we all know, anything below the fold will get far fewer views or clicks. Google’s own studies, along with many others have proven this. So even holding the number one position for a search term doesn’t have the same power that it has had in the past. A huge portion of internet users will settle on the first things that they see. Which, today, is ads and the local 3 pack. This has caused many small business owners to put less focus on a website and in some cases, skip a website altogether. They feel like all that matters is a Google business listing. But they couldn’t be more wrong.
And SEO is not dead. Different? Yes. But not dead. Besides missed traffic opportunities for various searches, many small business owners don’t realize that your website “talks” to your Google listing and feeds it information. Your website helps Google to understand how relevant your listing is for different searches. A better-optimized website will result in far better visibility for the corresponding business listing. And let’s not forget that Google doesn’t identify all searches as having local intent. So there is still plenty of opportunity for additional website traffic and new customers from good search engine placement and focus on long-tail keywords. With the dominance of Google products in Google search results, having a website and good SEO has never been more important.” —Shea Forbis, Web Designer & SEO Strategist, Carolina Web Pro
The pushback from small businesses and agencies against SEO has largely been based on how much has changed in recent years and how challenging it has been to keep current with the demands of the Google search algorithms.
“Many are starting to believe that SEO is dead and that they should be spending a fortune to hire a digital marketer. We’ve been made to believe that when we think of digital marketing, it should be expensive, and we shouldn’t do any research. The reality is that yes, it can surely be expensive but not to the extent it will break your bank. This all depends on what kind of marketing you want to do for your business. Your digital marketing agency will have different options for your needs, so it’s important to work with your agency to answer these questions.
The challenges with SEO are largely based on the fact that Google has been incorporating AI into their algorithm and people are thinking working on SEO is of no use since AI is taking over. The reality is that this shift to AI-driven search makes SEO even more important than ever. Updates that Google has made can actually help users get better results, but you have to make your own changes in your approach to marketing with intention. Just adding keywords to your webpage is not enough to improve rankings. Content and on-page changes have to be geared towards the evolving needs of your customers and meet their expectations in order for the Google algorithms to prioritize your content over the competition.” —Sameer Duwal, CEO, Duwal Web Design
The bottom line with SEO is that, when properly deployed across your digital assets, it can mean the difference between effective digital marketing campaigns and ineffective campaigns that waste your time and resources.
“Many have jumped on the bandwagon celebrating the death of SEO. Search engine optimization is still extremely important. With the serious rise in popularity that social media advertising has seen in recent years, we’ve noticed that many new business owners have flocked to the big platforms to start running ads without creating an optimized website to act as a solid foundation for their business. By creating a powerful website optimized for SEO, you will set your business up for success early on so that when people search for your offers and services they can easily find you organically without you having to pay a dime on paid ads!” —Hunter Ray Barker, Co-Founder, Bullfrog Digital Marketing Agency & SEO Company
Myth 9: Voice Search Should Be Your Top Priority
Leading up to the Pandemic, a number of trends were steadily gaining traction. One of the most intriguing was the assumption that a growing reliance on mobile devices combined with the evolution of voice recognition technology was driving the increasing use of voice search, especially in “near me” local searches. This was one of a handful of marketing trends that continued through the recovery period and into 2022. However, while it’s still trending, marketing professionals warn against fully focusing your efforts on it, especially given how limited budgets and resources might be during this period of recovery.
“For me, there are two main misconceptions that are far too widespread when it comes to digital marketing in 2022. First, the idea that small businesses don’t need to engage in digital marketing is mind-boggling. With that, suggesting that it is a waste of money is even more off base. We understand why this myth is continually perpetuated—small businesses don’t have nearly the time or budget that large companies do for digital marketing. However, now more than ever, it is important that a small business stays relevant in the digital space. They need to apply their marketing budget wisely and roll out smaller, focused marketing campaigns with thought and planning.
Second is the hype surrounding voice searches and their impact on SEO for businesses. While there is no doubt more people are using voice search features, there is still a large segment of the population that prefer a traditional search. The only real impact on SEO is when someone engages a smart speaker and receives a completely vocal response. This is only a fraction of the queries that are voice searches. Most voice searches are treated like a traditional web search, where a person will engage the results on their devices. Therefore, they are still logged with Google Search Console, and SEO should be continued as normal until the trend towards voice is truly embraced.” —Asad Kausar, CEO, Dabaran
Myth 10: Implementing A Strategic Digital Marketing Strategy is a Simple Process and Easy To Budget For
The overwhelming consensus from our community of experts is that digital marketing is an extremely complex and complicated practice with many moving parts that must be considered and measured when budgeting resources, both manpower and fiscal. Much of the challenge revolves around the sheer number of channels and strategies that can be leveraged by your marketing team to attract and convert leads. Many businesses feel that they must fully commit to having a digital marketing presence everywhere possible, not just where it makes sense to dedicate resources.
“There’s a misconception that doing more will net you more results. We often see businesses trying to recoup COVID losses or trying to increase leads by doing more stuff—more tactics. Just doing more isn’t going to get you where you need to be. It’s time to be lean and efficient and above all, strategic in where you’re spending your time and money especially when it comes to marketing. There is a lot of mystery when it comes to all of the various marketing tactics, especially digital tactics. It’s often referred to as dark work. The decision-makers generally don’t have an idea of what the dark work entails so when they see that leads or revenue isn’t moving they assume you can just do more of it. If they don’t have a strategy, that kind of makes sense. If there is a strategy in place then it’s likely not a case of doing more, it’s a case of doing “different.”
We use a simple rule of thumb when deciding what to do or what not to do. Simply ask, “will this get us closer to our vision?” If you don’t know what you’re working towards or what your business should look like 5, 10, or 15 years down the road then you need to define that first. That’s your vision. Then every decision becomes easy. Should you spend a bunch of money on an SEO agency? Maybe. Does it get you closer to your vision? Of all the places you could spend that money is SEO the best place to spend it to get closer to your vision? If you answer yes to both, then it’s a no-brainer. If you can’t answer HOW a digital marketing tactic is going to get you closer to your vision, then you better rethink your choices.” —Michelle Tresemer, Marketing Execution Strategist, Foundations First Marketing
In fact, several of our experts noted the importance of incorporating multiple channels into an overarching strategy in order to benefit fully.
“People often think that digital marketing is only about online ads when it actually encompasses a lot more than that. Did you know that email marketing, SEO, and content marketing are all forms of digital marketing? Social media is often seen as the be-all and end-all of digital marketing when in reality it’s just one part of the puzzle. A successful digital marketing strategy will make use of a variety of channels, including email, SEO, and paid traffic.” —Mark Voorhees, Production Specialist, Fusion Marketing
However, while a multi-channel approach is necessary, it’s not necessary, nor cost-effective, to dedicate the resources necessary to be active everywhere.
“Many business owners think that it’s necessary to be present on every social channel. If you are only able to keep up with 1 or 2 platforms, then only use those platforms. Having a ton of profiles on platforms you don’t use can make your business look stale to those who find you there. People believe they need to be present everywhere possible, but if you’re not able to effectively reach an audience there, it’s a waste of your marketing budget and time. Better to focus your efforts on channels you know can make an impact in. Learn your target audience demographics for each social platform, and decide on how to focus your efforts from there.” —Curtis Bickler, Director, Expert Media Design
Similarly, it’s extremely important for business owners to understand that the overall marketing strategy must include the time and resources necessary to show results. Too often businesses implement a digital marketing strategy, only to cancel it quickly when there aren’t immediate results.
“Many business owners think that when they start marketing their products or services they will begin to see results immediately. While this can be true, many marketing strategies are meant to pay off over time. This is also one of the many reasons why small business owners are hesitant to start marketing. However, without any form of marketing, your business will not grow to its fullest potential and give you the results you are hoping to see. While there are many marketing strategies that work, not all of them will provide you with instant results or a return on your investment. Overall, marketing is meant to bring you results over time. The longer your campaign runs and the maintenance is kept up regularly, you can see amazing results which will, in turn, bring your business more revenue.” —Adam Hundley, Founder, HTX Marketing Group
Don’t Be Misled By Marketing Myths: Be Strategic In Your 2022 Marketing Efforts For Your Brand’s Success
One of the most impactful quotes we gathered in this survey reveals the universal importance of taking a strategic approach to digital marketing.
“Some people simply don’t recognize the importance of digital marketing for businesses of all sizes, from all industries. Just because you have an SMB with a tighter budget doesn’t mean a digital strategy will be any less effective. After all, there isn’t one particular type of person who uses the internet, which is what you also may be thinking. It’s almost certain that consumers who would be interested in what you do are hanging out on social media or looking things up in the SERPs. The fact of the matter is that your products and services aren’t going to sell themselves, so you should be actively presenting them online. Doing your research is a critical aspect of marketing. In order to get the most out of any strategy, you need to know where, who, and how you should be targeting your content. This can help you make wise business decisions that you may not have otherwise.” —Megan Marshall, Customer Success Coordinator & Content Specialist, WEBii
Want to learn more about how you should move forward in 2022 with your digital marketing strategy? Educate yourself with our comprehensive and educational content on our marketing hub. If you’re not looking to go at it alone and want to secure the services of a B2B marketing services provider, you can check out the UpCity marketplace directory to find an agency with the skills and background necessary to support your organization’s immediate and long-term marketing goals.
About the author
David J. Brin
David is the Managing Partner for the Code Ninjas franchise responsible for the Baton Rouge, LA market, where he facilitates the education of youth in programming, game design, and STEM education fundamentals. A lifelong learner, David combines a passion for strong business practices and solid marketing strategies honed throughout his 20-year career in the food and beverage industry with his desire to share those best practices with other business owners as a contracted copywriter for Gartner. When he's not helping his daughter build her digital art-focused social media brand, he's creating content focused on digital marketing trends, B2B best practices, and IT and cybersecurity managed services.