The digital world is without a doubt rife with potential for business growth. But companies are struggling to find their footing in this new arena. The options are overwhelming and the mistakes are highly public. Here are a few of the common missteps companies make when bringing their customer experience to life online:

1. Being inauthentic

In 2005 L’Oreal’s advertising agency took the initiative of creating a fake blog to promote a new product line. Complete with a fictional character providing “real-life” thoughts on their products, the blog did little more than infuriate readers who figured out what was going on. Trying to fake it in a space that places a premium on transparency simply won’t cut it, leave the self promotion for a press release.

2. Making it all about you

Digital marketing, particularly social media, is all about timing. In the spirit of joining trending conversations, a UK based online retailer noticed #Aurora was trending on Twitter and snapped up the opportunity to promote their Kim Kardashian inspired Aurora dress. They failed to check what was behind the #Aurora trend and inserted blatant self-promotion into the somber conversation following the shootings in Aurora, Colorado.

3. Failing to add meaningful value to the lives of customers

In 2009 LongHorn steakhouse launched its first mobile app. The app shows a steak on a grill and users can cook it. That’s it. Instead of considering how a restaurant app could potentially add value to its customers – providing information about hours and locations, creating an educational tool about cuts of steak – Longhorne created something that most people will find completely meaningless.

4. Forgetting what matters most to your customers

Zappos is known for its exceptional customer service, which makes its attempts at “rewards” and “interactive experiences” for VIP customers even more confusing. A digital customer experience that fails to include the heart of your brand, the things that customers love most about doing business with you, will likely end up doing far more damage than good.

5. Trivializing what’s happening offline

American Apparel is the current offender in this category. In an attempt to be relevant, American Apparel sent out an email campaign for their “Hurricane Sandy Sale.” In case shoppers were “bored during the storm.” The 20% discount trivialized the very real fear, concern, and anxiety customers were feeling.

While companies think in terms of channels, in the customer’s eyes there is only one company, one brand. This reality makes it important to take a holistic approach to the customer experience. What matters to your customers offline will also matter to them online, and success in either comes from listening closely to them, understanding what drives their engagement with your brand, and always being willing to take action on the feedback they give you.