Introduction: Common Online Marketing Mistakes
Online marketing is a must for any small business, whether you own a restaurant, a corner grocery store, boutique clothing shop, art studio or specialty manufacturer. A website coupled with social media represents two low-cost or no-cost ways to add to your loyal customer base while improving customer engagement.
How you go about your online marketing is up to you. The only limit is your imagination. You can upload videos that show off your wares, place codes in Facebook posts for discounts and have live chat sessions so your staff can communicate with potential customers.
Even though online marketing sounds like a lot of fun, avoid these mistakes when you start your push for more customers through your website and social media.
Skimping on Keywords
You must take into account search engine optimization (SEO) for every blog, web page and Facebook post. This means researching keywords that make it easier for consumers to find your website. WordPress has several free analytics tools, and Google AdSense also has free tools to examine what keywords have the highest probabilities of success.
Consider an example of your boutique’s selection of dresses. In your blog post, you write about the common dresses you have, but a Google search comes up with millions of posts about dresses. Narrow down the type of dress, add tags to the end of the blog post, link the blog post to product descriptions with the dresses and then use the same keywords in your social media posts announcing your blog. The keywords combined with the links create more web traffic to your site, and they capture the attention of Google’s search engine.
Unclear Campaign Goals
You send out an email blast to 1,000 people on your carefully curated email list. You write a quick, 150-word message to them, but the intention of the email is unclear or there’s too much information in the single email.
Make your intentions known from the subject line of the email or from the very start of your marketing content. If the content is about a newsletter sign-up, that should be in the first sentence or the first paragraph. The call to action should also serve as the mission of the campaign, whether this is a button on the web page or the final paragraph of your blog post. Make it clear what your customers get from your particular marketing campaign.
Using the Wrong Platform
Different tools have different purposes, and you have to use them properly. You don’t want to use your blog to post daily updates about your business, nor do you want to post a 500-word blog to Facebook for your fans to read. Instead, social media should point to your website, and your website should have social media buttons for interaction.
Post links to your blog and other relevant web pages on Twitter and Facebook with a short post about why this benefits your customers. Social media is great for quick updates, whereas blogs are more in-depth and occur once or twice per week. Depending on your business, don’t forget video content every few weeks or once a month as a way to interact with customers in another type of media.
Failing to Measure Success
You have to measure your levels of success every day you own your business. KPIs are the tools you need to create a business strategy for the next week, month, year and beyond. If you don’t measure your data, you might make a huge marketing mistake by creating a campaign that wastes money and doesn’t bring in a lot of customers.
Learn to measure leads, conversions and clicks per page. Google Analytics contains great tools, for free, that help you determine what types of marketing worked well for your website. Learn to use Google Analytics and you help your own cause. Otherwise, there are plenty of companies that offer their proprietary products or software as a service for a fee.
No Social Media Response
Social media is a great way to post quick updates, but it’s also an effective customer service tool. Learn to respond to feedback across all social media channels as quickly as possible. Customers expect a response within a few hours of posting a question or comment. If you don’t respond in kind, consumers may move on to another company without giving your small business a second thought.
Set up alerts every time someone interacts with your social media pages. This includes “the big four” of Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube. If there is a problem with a product or service and someone posts it to social media, respond promptly with a solution.
Paying for Followers
Paying for followers through ads or special “follow back” programs can actually backfire. These followers rarely interact with your social media, and Google’s search engine may actually penalize your ranking if you have followers you gained through a paid service.
Instead, go for what’s called organic followers. These are people who found your website and social media naturally or through your marketing techniques. These customers want to follow your social media and website willingly, so they generate organic traffic due to their interactions with your small business.
You have a lot of factors to consider when it comes to online marketing and your small business. Although some online campaigns are better than none, research what methods work best for you and avoid these mistakes before spending your hard-earned money on specific campaigns. Knowing is half the battle, so go into your next marketing push armed with the information you need to succeed.