Many small business owners don’t realize that they can do much to contribute to the online marketing of their websites with little effort or money, or do a lot of damage. Here is a list of the top 10 Internet marketing mistakes made by businesses and how to avoid them.
1. Not having a regularly updated blog.
Content is king when it comes to online marketing. A blog is a standalone website or an area within another website where you can easily make quick posts or lengthy commentaries. You can send posts to your blog even with a smartphone. Once you learn how to run a blog, it really is an easy way to build content on your site and also promote yourself as an expert in your field. A business is missing out on a lot marketing potential without running a blog on their site. If you have a blog you should update it on a regular basis, once a week, 2 or 3 times a month at very least. But nothing turns off visitors and search engine more than blogs with posts that are months or even years old.
2. Ignoring Bing & Yahoo search engines for PPC advertising.
Most businesses focus on Google results. It’s no wonder since it is by far the most popular search engine. Businesses vehemently compete for top positions on Google’s results pages and Pay-Per-Click (PPC) advertising, known as Adwords. However, being the most popular comes also with a price. If you are not careful, you can blow a lot of money on low quality traffic. Bing and Yahoo, on the other hand, are more affordable for advertising and although search traffic is much lower than Google’s, the traffic is generally of high quality. So even if you use Adwords, you should not overlook the marketing potential of Bing and Yahoo. There may be a good percentage of your target audience using those search engines.
3. Not utilizing social media to the full.
Social media is a strong signal for search engines to rank sites, not to mention a great way to connect with new potential customers and stay connected with existing ones. At the very least, you should have a matching Twitter, Facebook, and Linkedin accounts for your business and promote them on your website. Once set up, social media pages are very easy to update. Additionally, search engine rank social media pages well for searches for your company. You should also have social media share buttons on your website so that visitors that like your pages can quickly share your link with their contacts on social media as well as like your pages on Facebook.
4. Not syncing offline and online marketing efforts.
Once you have a website and social media pages, you should use them prominently on all offline marketing material. This includes business cards, brochures, print ads, labels on vehicles and clothes, etc.
5. Poor email skills.
Email is a great way to build and establish relationships. When you write an email to someone, put yourself in the shoes of the reader and ask yourself: How does the email sound to me as the recipient? Is it cold? Does it sound like I am upset? Does it sound professional? Does it sound like an email I would like to receive? It’s true that many times an email must be to the point and at times express displeasure. However, there is no place in business to use curt or vulgar remarks. Additionally, there is no excuse for not having a closing signature such as: “Best Regards”, “Thank you”, “Sincerely”, or similar. Additionally, you should have a link to your website in the signature of all outgoing emails.
6. Sloppy writing.
I remember having bosses that almost thrived on sloppy writing, misspelled words, missing words, incomplete sentences, etc. It was like they were trying to say “I’m so busy that I don’t have time to write correctly.” However, in an online world your writing says a lot about you and your attention to details. Additionally, Google’s algorithm gives priority to pages that have text with correct grammar. So sloppy writing will hurt you online.
7. Plagiarizing content.
This is a definite no-no. Not only can this get you in some hot water, legally speaking, but also search engines like Google will either remove your site from the search results or keep you way way down so no one will ever see your site.
8. Missing happy customer opportunities.
Happy customers can help your business in many ways. One of the best ways is by leaving positive feedback on Google, Yelp, and other review services. So if you have a happy customer, ask them to leave a positive review for your business. Better still, ask to do a case study that you can add to your company site.
9. Failure to maintain cool.
If you get a complaint, whether via email or on social media, the worst you can do is lose your cool and fire back. Anything you write can be used to hurt your reputation by propagating across the Internet. The best way to deal with irate customers is quickly to respond in a tactful way. Find out the problem and offer a solution. At the very least you will encourage the person to calm down and just move on. Responding in kind will only backfire.
This is one of the biggest errors made by small business. They get a new domain name and new website and if they don’t see results in the first few months, throw in the towel and start over or not. The problem is that all the investment goes to waste before it even has a chance to work. Google takes a long time to rank sites that are a year old or less. Instead of throwing in the towel, i.e. quitting, it is best to do a complete site audit (if results are not as expected within a reasonable time) and build on the investment by making the necessary changes. The Web is updated and grows at an organic rate and progress naturally is over a period of time.