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7 classic online marketing mistakes and how to avoid them

Online marketing, digital marketing, internet marketing – what ever we call it, can be a truly effective marketing tactic that offers businesses of any size a number of great opportunities to grow. And with the pressure on costs, it is vital that any business ensures that their marketing budget is well spent, and digital marketing can be extremely cost effective.

What exactly is Internet Marketing? Its just for techies – creative website designers – developers – right?

Wrong – there are technical aspects of it, but it is important for all businesses to include digital in their mindset because whatever commercial activity we take these days, much of it ends up on line whether we like it or not.

Internet marketing is a catch all that includes social media marketing, SEO (search engine optimisation), SEM (search engine marketing), internet advertising (banner advertising and pay per click) and content marketing through blogs. Each one of these tactics can be highly effective because they are really easy to implement  - but they really kick in when part of an integrated strategy.

However there are some pitfalls, and this article is intended to share these and provoke further thought.

1. Not having a plan

Build a solid marketing plan for the yearIt’s an often repeated that, if you fail to plan, you plan to fail. This may be trite but it is true. You need to plan your marketing activity and, if you aren’t good at it, get someone who is, or at least get something – ANYTHING – down on PAPER.  It can be as simple as a calendar of activities on an excel spreadsheet, (you can find a simple marketing plan here to download), but do make a marketing plan and stick to it.  Your digital marketing will form an integral part of that plan

2. Failing to use tactical variety.

Have multiple marketing tools at your disposalAll marketing is more effective and internet marketing is no different.  Digital marketing tactics work much better when implemented as part of a range of complementary activities.

Using a variety of digital marketing tactics both widens your audience and, where you have a degree of brand recognition, you will benefit from multiple exposures of your message, through different channels to the same audience.

3  Failing to track or measure online marketing effectiveness.

Measure Marketing Effectiveness for on-line successPay per click advertising can be a cost-effective way of building traffic to your website.  It can also increase sales if executed correctly. Google Adwords is the service most people use for pay per click, and the interface has a lot of really useful marketing tools to track and measure the projected success of the ads and keywords before you commit any budget to a campaign.

However, there are many ways of wasting your digital advertising budget if you don’t get it right.   I cover the topic of the do’s and don’t of pay per click advertising in a separate blog here.

Its crucial to track the campaign closely from the start and fine tune copy, keywords and landing pages to ensure the greatest success.

4. Sending your customers to the wrong place.

Plan a clear destination on the websiteIf you had a shop and you put an add in the newspaper advertising your products, you would not invite them to visit the shop without putting the specific address in the ad.

It never ceases to amaze us when we see digital ads promoting a specific product that then takes the prospect to the home page of the website.  This is the equivalent of giving a customer the town your shop is located in but not the street address. You have just spent money getting the prospect to click – make it easy for him to take action – don’t just abandon him on the home page and leave him guessing what to do next.

5.  Failing to account for mobile.

Tablets and Smartphones are now a crucial part of the internet marketing landscapeTablets and smartphones are now the hottest technology products on the market, but its scary how important these products are. Authorities now forecast smartphone and tablet users will overtake computer users in 2014. That means that consumer experience of Internet activity will come from mobile devices rather than via traditional desktop or notebook PCs. And this trend will only continue.

It goes without saying that if your website is not optimised for mobile you are shutting yourself out of half the future market over the next couple of years. If a prospect cannot access your site when they want it or when they do they have a poor user experience, they simply won’t come back. Instead, your prospect will find a site that does work on their Smartphone and you have just lost a customer..

6. Not being fully committed to Social Media

Social Media marketing - Commitment is crucical to ongoing successMany businesses lack the commitment to making social media work for them.  Its true that FaceBook is not for every business but, Twitter and Linked In  can be.  All of these, plus the new kids on the b lock such as Pinterest, can be great to build traffic.  But if you don’t keep posting regularly or fail to actually interact with those people who have made the effort to follow you, your social strategy will be a pointless waste of time.  Find more on effective Social Media marketing strategy here.

7. Failing to monitor social signals

Social Marketing - social signals and reputationIts now not only the world of the hand held device but its also the age of social media – ignore it and its effect on your product and brand reputation at your peril.

Online review sites and user generated content is putting massive power in the hands of the consumer and not knowing what customers are saying about you online is putting future business at risk.

There are a number of tools available for monitoring your on-line presence, use them to fine tune your message and authority on line.  Here’s a great link,  to a blog that details the best, but Yasni, Klout, and Google’s “Me on the Web” are all sites you should visit.

 

So there we have it, 7 great ways we see businesses messing up digital marketing activity!
Written by Matthew Simmons

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