Six Common Internet Marketing Mistakes—and How to Fix Them
The field of Internet Marketing is rapidly changing.
So, like mine, I’m sure your to-do list is never ending! Thus, spending hours each week reading up on the latest trends is a task that probably doesn’t even make your top 20.
So let me help!
Here are some of the most common mistakes that I see small business owners make as they pursue Internet marketing.
1) Un-authentic customer testimonials—or none at all.
If your website doesn’t feature customer testimonials, you’re missing out on sales you otherwise would have made. Testimonials are an essential element of any site, but all testimonials WEREN’T created equal. If your testimonials are short and robotic, your customers will smell them from a mile away. They’ll assume that either you created the testimonial for yourself, or that you bribed someone else to write a glowing review. Your testimonials must be authentic and believable. If you can include contact information and a picture of the individual, do so! Effective testimonials will dramatically improve your conversion rate because they give the shopper a sense of confidence and security knowing that “other people love this product!”
So how do you get a great testimonial? You ask! I have never found a happy client that wasn’t willing to give a testimonial. Now, they may have a hard time finding the time to write it- so, another strategy is to write it for them and they can edit and approve.
2) A confusing value proposition.
As I have written before, you have a matter of seconds to capture the attention of a visitor to your website. If a visitor can’t tell what you do or what you are offering by quickly scanning your home page, they are not going to stick around. From the headline you choose to the graphics that make up your home page and other landing pages, it is important that every element of each page is designed to clearly convey your value proposition.
3) Poor stock photography
An effective website is made up of compelling content – which means more than just text. Content includes videos, podcasts, and of course, photos. In many cases, these photos aren’t of you, your employees, or your workplace—they’re stock photos. Now, in principle, stock photos can be effective… but nine times out of ten, they look “fake” and out of place. And that’s a very bad message to send to potential customers.
Your customers want to know that the people on your website work for your company. Invest in professional photography and replace the stock photos on your website with great pictures of yourself and your team. Your customers want to know that they are doing business with real people—so let them get to know you!
4) Bad copy
As a non-lawyer, how much fun is it for you to read the pages of legalese at the end of a contract? Have you ever taken the time to read the entire iTunes Terms & Conditions agreement, just for fun? Of course not, because nobody in their right mind enjoys reading a wall of text that seems written deliberately to confuse them.
Yet, that is exactly what many business owners do on their own website! Remember that your customers and prospects are not experts in your industry. They don’t have the faintest clue about the technical details of your operation—nor are they interested in finding out. When you write the copy for your website, write for your audience, not for yourself! Describe your products and services clearly, and in a way that reflects the benefits they provide. Give your website visitors a reason to purchase from you—don’t give them a headache.
5) An inconsistent social media presence.
I know, I know—you’ve heard me talking about the value of social media plenty by now. (And to your credit, many of you have listened to me!) But as social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter explode in popularity and business owners begin to get involved, they make a critical mistake: they are inconsistent. They post infrequently, often only two or three times per month, and they make no effort to engage their audience. And unfortunately that approach just won’t work. Social media is a place to build relationships and broadcast your brand—but neither of those objectives can be met if you are inconsistent. Your audience needs to hear from you regularly, several times a week ideally.
Now, that may sound unrealistic to some of you, and that’s okay, you don’t personally have to spend time each day on Twitter—but if you can’t, you need to hire a professional or create a system which ensures that someone on your team is consistently interacting with your audience.
One final thought—social media can be fun! I’ve built and nurtured so many great relationships through social media, and been exposed to people I likely never would have met without it. Whether you’re a sports fan, an American Idol enthusiast, or a devoted shoe-shopper like me (BTW, for the women who are reading this… my wedding shoes with those beloved “red soles” DID come in and they are fabulous!), I can promise you that you’ll find an interesting community to participate in.
6) Email marketing without a strategy.
What’s your email marketing strategy? Or better yet, do you have one?
Sadly, that’s the case I see the majority of the time- businesses don’t have one. Their approach is basically to send out an email blast to their entire database whenever they feel like it. Not a very affective approach.
So how do you develop one? The first step is to determine your objective. What are you hoping to accomplish? For many businesses, email marketing is a way to strengthen relationships with current and former clients. For others the goal is to promote specific products and services with the direct objective of making sales. Defining your objective allows you to create a plan that will meet your needs.
The other major mistake I see with email marketing is creating content that isn’t interesting or valuable to the audience. If your audience isn’t interested in the emails you are sending, you may as well be a spammer. Work to create content that is useful and valuable, and you’ll be able to keep your audience engaged.
So there you have it! If you can cut out these six mistakes, you’ll be way ahead of the internet marketing curve. Of course, as always, feel free to contact me with any questions. In the meantime, remember to stay true to your brand and your message… and of course, have fun!