Digital marketing mistakes are typically relegated to tears in empty conference rooms and sobs in bathroom stalls on unused floors. The digital marketing ecosystem is fueled by promises of success; the elusive social proofs and traffic boosts are always right around the metaphorical corner.

Gain thousands of Twitter engagements by following X! Dominate Facebook by applying Y! Earn millions of impressions on Google by trying Z!

But what about failure? What about these digital marketing mistakes? Most of us have failed many, many more times than we’ve succeeded, so I’ve decided to compile a list of losing propositions — a little something that will bring us all together. Below are some of my digital marketing mistakes.


The Keyword Research Kerfuffle

I once worked incredibly hard to complete keyword research for a potential client. I was really excited about this business’s digital footprint, because the potential client had the — well — potential to really grow. The website ranked for tens of thousands of keywords, and the owners reliably published unique and engaging content on their blog. The problem? There were no ranking keywords related to the services the business sold. In order to increase sales, I surmised, the company could focus on creating content that centered around its services. Simple solution, right? Yes! And I was SO EXCITED to talk to this potential client. 

Even though I came to the meeting armed with the website’s ranking keywords, keywords their competitors ranked for, the company’s service-related keywords that they could begin to create content around, and an insane amount of enthusiasm, it was what I DIDN’T bring that broke me. I neglected to include the company’s name as a keyword in any of my reports.

Turns out the business owners were just a tad interested in how their brand ranked across the internet. What they weren’t interested in was an SEO specialist who forgot to research their company’s name.



I was a new hire at a digital marketing firm, and I’d taken over our clients’ AdWords accounts. One local business’s account in particular needed dire attention. I enthusiastically dove right in. I implemented AdWords location targeting coupled with location-specific keyword phrases. I built a brand new bidding strategy from scratch. I completely reconstructed their paid search ads. Their cost per click decreased, and their conversion rate skyrocketed. I was so pleased. I was so proud of myself. And yet…

Out of all the things I did for that AdWords account, there was one thing I hadn’t done. I’d never tested the forms on the landing pages. I assumed that they worked, being as they’d already been part of an active AdWords account for over a year.

Take one guess as to whether or not the forms on the landing pages worked. 

Telling the client what had happened was not fun at all. We had to provide their company free digital marketing services for months after that.


The Pay-Per-Click Catastrophe

This particular catastrophe occurred when I was an in-house digital marketing manager for a company that had both brick-and-mortar stores and an internet presence. We’d received a hot-ticket item much earlier than expected, and when the digital team checked inventory, it looked like there were a number left in the warehouse after the requisite product had been pushed out to our physical stores. 

I quickly created and deployed a Google AdWords campaign promoting the product, and it was immediately successful. My colleagues and I high-fived as we left the building, and I continued checking the Google AdWords stats and remained pleased with the early results. 

The next day wasn’t as amazing, though. It turned out that remaining inventory had been sent to stores in a special shipment AFTER we’d checked the system, and we weren’t able to fulfill ANY of the online orders. So. We wasted money on a useless AdWords campaign, AND we lost customers.


The Marketing Research Mixup

A former boss of mine burst into the office one evening with a website written down on a scrap of paper. “I’m about to close these guys!” he said. “I need research! I’ve got a call with them in an hour!” We scrambled to get our boss research before his call, using the website as a starting point. My colleague and I found out later, through investigatory tactics of our own, that the website we were given was not the website of the prospect our boss spoke with. Our boss never even noticed. Our agency didn’t close the client — but you already knew that, didn’t you?


The Silicon Valley Snafu

Many, many years ago, I worked for a PR firm that represented a tech alliance whose members included nearly every company in Silicon Valley. I was tasked with scheduling a quarterly board meeting, and I didn’t think anything of scheduling this meeting at 9 AM. I lived in North Carolina at the time. Needless to say, there weren’t many Silicon Valley attendees at that particular meeting.


Hey, You… Yes, You. Join the Chorus!

What about you? What types of digital marketing mistakes have you made over the years? And don’t tell me NONE, because I definitely won’t believe you. Bare your soul in the comments below. This is a judgement-free zone… I promise.

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