Mention online marketing to any business owner and they are sure to have an opinion, ranging from knowing how to do it, not knowing a thing and everything in between. Online marketing is not all that different from any other type of marketing if you think about it, all that is different is the tool. The way you approach it and go about it isn’t all that different. You need to understand who your audience is (best customer) and what problems and issues they are facing, you need to have a good understanding of the products and services you have. You then need to know how to explain to your audience why your products and services will solve their problems, help them achieve their goals and why you are the one to buy from.
Let’s look at some of the most common online marketing mistakes that I see.
Not Being Yourself
If you’ve been to as many business events as I have, you will have met people that pretend to be something or someone they aren’t, you come away thinking that person is full of themselves and completely fake, and it’s certainly not someone you want to do business with. The exact same thing holds true online, don’t try and be someone different online that you are offline. Don’t try to be clever and recreate your brand for the different social media platforms.
You should utilize the same images, keep the same colors and utilize the same profile information no matter where you are online. Tweak it and adapt it to each platform but keep it so that your visitors, customers can easily know who you are, no matter where they connect with you.
Watch What Your Competitors Do
Although you don’t want to copy your competitors, watching what they are doing will help you to stay ahead of the game. For instance it might inform you of new changes in your industry that you weren’t aware of, new products, new services, and new customer service initiatives.
Look at it like this, if you go look at what the leaders in your industry are doing, take the best from each of them, adapt this and make it your own your business will get better.
Not Having a Goal
You cannot hope to achieve anything if you don’t know what it is you hope to achieve. This means that every type of marketing activity, whether it’s content marketing, pay-per-click advertising, or social media marketing, having a goal to reach will help you know whether or not you’ve accomplished it. You can’t measure success if you don’t know what to measure, it also helps you know how to move forward.
Not Having a Domain Name
This still amazes me, you not only need your own domain name you also need your own email address @yourdomain if you want to be taken seriously online. You can easily set up your own email address with your webhost provider, sometimes at no additional charge.
Not Having Diverse and Regularly Updated Content
Way too many businesses expect to feature well within the search engines, attract customers and generate leads and sales from a website that contains at best a few dozen pages that never change and are rarely updated. If this is your online marketing strategy it’s never going to work even if you used pay-per-click advertising.
Every business needs to have a website, complete with a blog and it needs to know how to use that effectively. It’s no longer good enough to simply put up the odd 500 word blog post and expect to get a loyal following of fans. Today you have to be active online in all forms of content marketing and you have to be seen to be active online in the eyes of your target customers. Remember every one of your target customers learns differently, and it’s your job to educate them in the way they learn best, turning them into fans in the process.
Not Having an Email List
The money is in the list is an old online marketeers saying and it still holds true today, and even though almost every business owner will have heard this a large proportion still don’t understand the importance of building an email list.
Look at it like this, if you don’t have an email list you are expecting your target customers to come to your website and go, wow we need to contact this company straight away. In real life it seldom works out that way, people visit websites for just a few minutes if you are lucky and then they are gone, most never to return again especially if you aren’t actively using content marketing. An email list gives you a second, third and as many chances as you want to convert the people that sign up to become customers, you do this by demonstrating the value your business offers, solving their problems and closing the sale, all within the email marketing messages you can send because you have an email list.
Not Having Well-Written Content
Gone are the days when you could almost throw anything up online and expect it to be successful when it comes to content marketing. Your content now needs to be original, focused, well planned and it needs to have a purpose if it’s going to speak to your audience and get them to do something.
Focusing on Feature over Benefits
Way to many businesses love to discuss the features of their products and services instead of the benefits your audience can get from using your products and services. All marketing messages, even your about us page, needs to be focused on the needs of your clients and not your own. This can be difficult to understand and comprehend at times, but it’s imperative to do so, if you want to convert website visitors into customers.
Don’t make these mistakes with your online marketing. If you really want to be successful at online marketing, learn from those who have gone before you, and do not try to reinvent the wheel, leave that to others and instead concentrate on doing what is proven to work.