The three biggest causes of digital marketing failure

Posted by Deb Croucher | July 6, 2021

We hear it all the time

“Digital Marketing doesn’t work. I know it doesn’t work because I have spent $10k, $30k… or even $100k and got absolutely nothing back. It’s a waste of time and money.”

But of course, behind the strong statement is frustration.

The frustrated business owner knows that everyone is spending more and more of their time on phones and laptops, and that the online space is crowded by like-minded businesses that all want to be seen.

They know they simply have to be online. And yet their digital campaigns keep failing… and they keep burning through cash.

Get it right and it works

Done right, digital marketing delivers spectacular results in terms of quality leads and business growth. At Brilliant Digital, we have many clients across multiple sectors getting massive returns on their digital marketing investment.

So why are some businesses getting results while others scream in frustration?

Here are the three most common reasons that digital marketing fails.

1. Paying money to send traffic to a useless website

In our experience, this is by far the most common mistake companies make. They pay for Google Ads or social media ads or telesales or a ‘social media person’ to send traffic to an ineffective website. Basically… leading your target market to a dead end.

A useless website fails to connect with the visitor. It fails to build trust. It fails to communicate your real value to the people you want to reach.

The visitor goes back to Google to look for your competitor. And the advertising dollar is money down the drain.

A useless website is easy to spot (and there are a lot of them around).

Here are a few clues:

It’s full of boring content about the history of the business, boring bios about the team and lists of services and products using technical terms. The language is old fashioned and long-winded. Instead of focusing on the client, videos instead focus on the company and how wonderful they are. Images are the same stock photos everyone uses.

Nowhere does the useless website concentrate on the customer. Nowhere does it mention the transformative benefits of the product or service offering. Strong social proof in the form of detailed case studies and success stories are noted by their absence.

Sending traffic to a useless website just burns money.

STOP doing it.

Do yourself a favour. Keep advertising and marketing dollars in your pocket until you are 100% sure your website effectively converts traffic to qualified leads.

2. Failing to have an effective strategy

The next most common mistake is trying to market without a clear strategic approach. The classic is to do a bit of this and a bit of that, measure nothing and burn through a lot of cash.

“I’ve tried Google Ads,” they tell us. “I’ve done video. We do Facebook and LinkedIn. We’re getting someone on board to do Twitter.”

“STOP!” we say. “Just stop!”

Doing random things here and there will send you broke. Truly. It won’t work and you’ll just burn cash.


To get results and a return on your investment, you need to find a digital marketing strategist who can help you develop an effective strategy and make sure everyone in the team sticks to it.

An effective strategy will deliver you a digital marketing machine that brings you sustained organic growth.

The diagram shows how to use strategic marketing to drive traffic to an effective website using strong SEO, digital advertising, YouTube, social media and direct targeting. Once the traffic has been on the website, keep re-marketing to the visitors using channels like Google, social media, YouTube and email.

And of course, you must measure everything. Measure which channels deliver the best return, measure the quality of the leads. Ditch what’s not working and do more of what is delivering.

3. Hiring a team with inadequate skills and knowledge

To get digital marketing to deliver educated, qualified leads and a return on investment requires a skilled team with specialist knowledge. These are some of the key skills you need for success:

Digital Marketing Strategist

This person has a proven track record of working with many businesses to identify the value proposition, communicate the value to the target market and then put the resultant marketing material in front of the right prospects.

Their work has delivered a measured return on investment for many clients. The digital marketing strategist must also consider which – if any – digital software solutions like ERP integrations and custom apps are best to use for increased business and marketing efficiency.

Digital Content Writer
A skilled copywriter with a proven track record of writing digital content that converts website visitors into warm, qualified leads. Ideally someone with a track record in and enthusiasm for your industry… and importantly, someone who knows how to successfully weave through strategically thought out keywords for SEO purposes.

Digital Designer
A person who knows digital design and how people use websites, inside out. Someone with a track record of working with your target market and who understands that it’s content and not design that leads the project.

Website Programmer
An experienced programmer who writes beautiful code, following the Google Guide to Search Engine Optimisation. Someone who creates websites that work and are easy to use (both for the end user and the content manager).

Search Engine Optimisation Specialist
An ethical specialist who knows that content and user experience are the answer (not keyword tweaking). They should also be able to analyse all of your performance data for you.

Digital Advertising Specialist
A specialist who knows the various platforms inside out and knows how to get the very best return on investment and optimise campaigns based on results. They must understand what kinds of digital content on which platforms work best for which markets. They should have a track record of success in your industry.

Social Media Specialist
Choose a social media expert who has experience building a community of useful followers around individuals and brands, and who understands the importance of driving those followers to an effective website.


Well... you've come to the right place.

Simply put, we know how to turn your digital marketing failure into digital marketing brilliance… we’ve done it many times before.

If you bring your failed marketing plan to us, we follow a multi-layered, proven process to turn things around.

First, we assess the damage.

We’ll ask you to put all your cards on the table. Because of our years in the game, deep industry knowledge and the high level of expertise in our digital marketing team, we can assess what you’ve been doing and tell you why your efforts have failed. It might be a case of spotting a few broken links in the chain, or identifying the entire strategy as flawed. Whatever the case might be, we’re here to look at things holistically and spot the gremlins.

Then, we truly listen.

Through asking the right questions, we get truly useful answers. Taking into account why you feel your digital marketing has failed, we’ll ask you questions about what you initially set out to achieve through your marketing efforts. We’ll also discuss your goals, company values, business direction and your fears. We’ve learned throughout the years that by not truly understanding our clients and their businesses inside out, working on their digital marketing will be taking stabs in the dark.

Next, we consult.

Our team of digital marketing experts will go away for a while and put our thinking caps on. Our meaningful digital strategy consultancy phase means we’ll talk through your options in achieving digital marketing success. We’ll show you what has worked for other businesses like yours, show you useful stats and put forward our recommended mix of marketing solutions that will catapult your business growth to new heights.

And then… we get to work.

As soon as you give us the green light, we roll up our sleeves and get to work. We stick to the digital marketing strategy we have designed specifically for your business and we gather our experts in content creation, SEO, website design, advertising, social media and integrated software solutions to set you on the path to digital marketing success.

Not sure where to start in addressing your digital marketing failure? Start by contacting us. We’d be more than happy to help.


It’s time to see sustained results

Are you ready? We aren’t your standard digital solutions agency. We avoid hype and noise. Instead, we build long-term partnerships with successful businesses delivering genuine expertise, best-fit solutions and sustained results. Contact us to start the conversation.

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      Brilliant Digital
      177 Victoria St,
      Smithfield, NSW, 2164

      Sydney based with clients Australia wide

      02 9939 5223