Navigating the web as a business owner or marketing director can be challenging, and everybody makes mistakes or misses out on opportunities from time-to-time. But when we don’t learn from these “oops” moments, well, that’s the tragedy to avoid. Here are 20 mistakes lots of businesses make on a regular basis. And if you learn to avoid these errors, you can improve your results and get a leg up on the competition.
1. Ignoring Mobile
Back in 2007, websites on mobile were a cute novelty. But that’s an eon ago in internet terms, and whether you expect it or not, 2/3 of your website visitors are likely on mobile. They also now expect a great mobile web experience, so if your site isn’t optimized for mobile, you (and your prospects) are missing out.
2. Holding Out on Discounts
Sure, you worked hard on determining your overhead and production costs, and set your product/service pricing with great care. But “everyday low (or otherwise) prices” don’t always win new customers or retain existing ones. Reward your customers with sales, promotions, loyalty benefits, and coupons. And they’ll reward you back with their loyalty.
3. Not Blogging
Does your website have a blog? If not, you’re missing a great opportunity to share important information, news, and updates about your business, generate new and fresh content for your audience and Google, establish your brand as an expert and thought leader, and create original content to share on social media and other channels. Blogs bring traffic to your site and keep people coming back for more. Of course, to accomplish this the content must be high quality—and it’s ok to use outsourced writers as long as they are consistent with your brand under your supervision. An outside professional writer sharing your inside voice is far better than poor quality content generated entirely in-house.
4. Shunning Social Media
“We don’t use social media so why should our company?” That all-to-often comment misses the point entirely. Where are your customers? If they are on social media, then your brand should be too. Do you have to be on all of them? No—pick the most important, and the ones you can consistently interact with and manage, and do it well.
5. Avoiding the Visual
Think your brand or company doesn’t have anything visual to show customers? Video not for you? Again, who are your customers? How do they consume information? Don’t forget to capitalize on what is visual in your company with video on your website, Facebook, YouTube, etc., and remember that the single most eye-catching element in pictures or video is a human face. Direct-to-camera communication, Facebook or YouTube live sessions, and other video offerings from your brand can be a significant connecting point for customers and prospects alike.
6. Overlooking Data
How much revenue was generated from online marketing efforts in your company this year? What was the gross, and net profit? What was the ROI? What are your top lead sources? If you can’t quickly access that information, you have no way of knowing what channels and tactics are working for you, where you should divert funds, and opportunities that should be considered. Digital marketing is highly measurable, and you should take advantage of it. If the metrics and their meaning aren’t clear to you, consider hiring a digital consultant,fractional CMO, or marketing agency to help you track the most relevant data and decipher them.
7. Using the Shotgun Approach
“More” is not always better, and “all” is really not sustainable. If your marketing is a shotgun approach—“let’s just target them all!”—then it’s guaranteed you’re wasting money. Digital marketing is not only very measurable, but in many arenas highly targetable. Make the effort to know your customers—and your idea customer—and aim for that persona(s). Better qualified traffic is a smaller pool of people, but a higher ROI with plenty of room to grow with those truly interested in and in need of your product or service.
8. Leaving Comments Hanging
When you get comments on that blog you set up (you did, didn’t you?), do you engage in the conversation or just leave them hanging? Comments are evidence no only that you’ve got readers (excluding spam, of course… but you’re monitoring and filtering that out too, right?). So it’s very important to interact with those real-live readers to build and maintain ongoing relationships with them. Plus, as a bonus, it’s great for SEO. Even if you’re not getting a lot of comments on your site, don’t forget to stay on top of comments on your social media pages and profiles. In fact, often people will share articles on social media and keep the conversation going there. They’re still talking about you, but in a different venue. Be part of the conversation.
9. Letting Your Website Be Slow
It’s hard to remember the days of dial-up internet when waiting for a website to load still felt magical because it was faster than anything we’d seen. But today we’d pitch a fit before the squeal of the line finished making its connection. Now, with mobile-first and broadband connections, don’t disappoint your visitors with a slow website. It’s not only a bad user experience (one which could make them leave and find a competitor before your site even finishes loading) but is part of good technical SEO.
If you’re using email marketing to onboard and nurture customers (you are, aren’t you? More on that later), use caution in how much you send. You want to stay in front of your customers but keep it relevant and timely. Keep an eye on open rates and unsubscribes. If customers are ignoring you or removing themselves from your list entirely, reexamine your tactics.
11. Missing Out on Conversions
Is your website bringing in good traffic? Great! But are visitors converting to customers? If your conversion rates are low and bounce or exit rates are high, examine the quality of your landing pages, shopping funnels, and conversion/checkout pages. Also review your site for technical problems such as speed, script errors, and visibility on various screen sizes and browsers.
12. Underestimating Abandoned Shopping Cart Opportunities
Do you think of abandoned shopping carts merely as missed opportunities? Or do you see them as another chance? Track abandoned shopping carts and reach out to potential customers. Reminders, coupon codes, and even surveys can help recapture sales and improve your buying process.
13. Forgetting About SEO
Reports of the death of SEO are highly exaggerated. Remember to stay on top of search engine optimization, algorithm changes, technical needs, and good quality content—or work with a professional who can help.
14. Being Impersonal
If you grew up in an era where business communications were formal and “professional,” it might make you uncomfortable—especially if your business is B2B—to be more personal, and sometimes even casual, with customers and prospects. But ultimately, transactions are person-to-person, and today’s consumers want to interact with real people.
15. Discounting the Value of Email
Email has not gone the way of the dinosaur. In fact, it stands out in a noisy and crowded digital space and often has the highest ROI of any marketing mix. It’s robust, customizable, and can be very powerful with numerous automation strategies. Don’t leave email out of your customer nurturing. In fact, once you’ve acquired customers, email is one of the most powerful approach to retaining them, increasing their loyalty, and providing them benefits for being part of your organization.
16. Using Weak Calls-to-Action
When visitors arrive at your website, what do you want them to do? It should be obvious (call you, fill out a form, make a purchase), and if it isn’t, then go back to the drawing board and create clear calls-to-action.
17. Being a Lone Ranger
It’s tempting in a small business to try to manage all the tasks of marketing, but chances are you got into business in order to meet a need with your product and service, rather than for the sake of marketing, social media management, and all the work that goes into promotions. Recognize your strengths and where you need additional resources and assets, and don’t be afraid to ask for help.
18. Not Setting Measurable Goals
What do you hope to achieve with your digital marketing? If your list contains words like “more” or “lots” or “any,” then it’s time to sit down and put numbers both on where you are now and where you want to be in a certain time. Goals that can’t be measured are goals that will never be achieved.
19. Failing at Customer Service
Great companies can get terrible reputations if customers have a bad experience with your customer service department. Customer service management and representatives must be on the same page with marketing because they are brand ambassadors whether they want to be or not. Choose your team carefully, take good care of them, and empower them to go the extra mile for a happy customer.
20. Treating Your Website Like a “Field of Dreams”
No, if you build a website, traffic doesn’t automatically come. By all means, build a great website, but don’t just leave it there. Promote it, advertise it, and drive traffic to it. If you build it, get it out there to qualified prospects, and bring them home to convert to customers—thenit will be your “Field of Dreams”!
A lot goes into a successful web presence and digital marketing approach. Overwhelmed? Concerned about making marketing mistakes? Check out our free website audit to see where you stand or give us a call to discuss your needs.