Every startup business needs an efficient marketing strategy in order to grow. A common problem faced by most small business is the lack of capital to invest in traditional marketing mediums. Traditional marketing is – and has always been – expensive, creating a barrier that can only be surpassed by larger businesses.
Thanks to the internet – which brings in millions of traffic on different websites each day, not to mention social media – small businesses can now afford effective marketing. Marketing your business online, which is called internet marketing or digital marketing, allows you to reach a large audience at a small-business-friendly cost.
Many small businesses utilize internet and digital marketing nowadays. But due to their lack of marketing consultants, experts, and departments, these small businesses are prone to many marketing mistakes.
If you want to make the most out of your online marketing, you should avoid committing these 17 marketing mistakes almost every small business makes:
#1. Not Utilizing SEO
Search engine optimization (SEO) is a must in internet and digital marketing. Many business owners are unaware with what SEO can do. Basically, making your website’s content SEO-friendly would make it rank higher on search engines like Google.
Whenever a user searches for keywords in a search engine like Google, the search engine presents pages of search results with web content related to the searched keywords. You may be wondering why you have a hard time searching for your company on Google, lacking SEO would be the main reason.
SEO would help rank your website higher on search engines. This means an increased website traffic and better conversion rates for your business. Isn’t SEO amazing? The best part is that you can make your website more SEO-friendly yourself – if you don’t have the budget to hire a digital marketing firm.
There are many guides on the internet that could help you understand SEO. Try reading a Beginner’s Guide to SEO to learn about the basics and improve your website traffic all by yourself. SEO isn’t rocket science, dedicate time in learning SEO – it’ll all be worth it!
#2. Thinking A Blog Isn’t Necessary
If your business doesn’t have a blog, it’s missing out on a whole lot of benefits. A blog is absolutely necessary, no matter what your business is. You can attract potential clients to your blog and convert them into paying clients in a matter of minutes – with quality and persuasive content, of course.
Even large corporations like Coca Cola run a blog, a very effective one indeed! These blogs regularly bring in visitors, improve online presence and brand reputation, retain customers, and interact with customers. There are many more things you could do with a blog, and the best part is that it’s affordable even for a small business.
Here’s a list of what you need to create an effective blog:
- Domain name
- Website hosting services
- Blogging platform like WordPress
- Quality written content (must be useful to your readers while still interesting)
#3. No Branding Strategy
Do you think that branding is merely your company’s logo? A common mistake that many business owners commit is failing to develop their brand image. A company’s brand image is your stance, customer’s opinion of you, and what makes you unique from the competition.
Ignoring the whole branding scheme would leave you with a brand that customers wouldn’t understand. This creates value to your business – so think about it. What is your business about?
#4. Avoiding Social Media
Social media is often viewed as a waste of time, especially people who have little to no knowledge in marketing. You may wonder why, most people believe that a great product/service would be sufficient. But many businesses that have great products but are marketed poorly almost always fails – proving that marketing is just as important as the product’s quality.
The best thing about social media is that creating an account is completely free! What do you have to lose aside from time? But you’re actually investing time, not losing it. Social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+ can bring in healthy website traffic and potential clients.
But how do you make the most out of social media? Here are some tips on using social media to boost your company’s revenue:
- Share interesting and useful content on social media
- Interact with your social media followers
- Post consistently and regularly on social media
- Create paid social media advertisements (if you have the budget)
- Join groups and communities related to your line of business
- Respond appropriately on negative feedback
Another important topic we must discuss is keeping your cool on social media. There are times when unhappy customers would post harsh negative feedbacks and reviews about your business. This can really damage your company’s reputation and most of the time it isn’t your company’s fault.
What do you do when this happens?
If you want to protect your company’s reputation, you must never respond inappropriately or show any signs of anger on social media. The best thing to do when this happens is to apologize to your unhappy customer sincerely. Also, offer compensation if needed – this would make other people see you as a company that cares for its customers.
Social media has almost the same impact as a blog. You can also attract clients through social media posts while building your brand image easily. Many people spend most of their free time on social media. Make sure to combine this with your other internet marketing strategies.
#5. Neglecting The Whole Marketing Plan
Believe it or not, some businesses commit a big mistake in marketing their business: omitting the whole marketing plan. As insane as it sounds, this is a harsh reality.
Business owners that neglect the whole marketing plan often have their own reasons. A common reason would be thinking that their products is perfect – perfect enough that it doesn’t need marketing to sell. Even the greatest product in the world wouldn’t make you rich if no one knows about it.
#6. Low Quality Content
Content can be easily obtained by writing them yourself or hiring a freelance writer. Sure, you may even use some basic SEO techniques but these won’t be effective if it isn’t quality written content.
These factors determine the quality of your SEO content:
- Inbound links to your content
- Outbound links from the content
- Quality and quantity of social signals that link to your content
- Correct grammar and spelling
- Formatting of the text (organized content with headings, subheadings, bolds, italics, and ordered and numbered lists)
- Easy-to-read format
- Word count of the content (the longer, the better)
#7. Failing To Target Locals
SEO can definitely bring you more website traffic. But if you want a more effective SEO strategy, try targeting locals living within the vicinity of your business. A more specific target audience will allow you to have a higher conversion rate.
Using specific cities and areas would help you target a specific local audience. Don’t ignore this; targeting the right people would help you increase your sales.
#8. Hiding Your Company’s Strategies
Most large corporations tend to hide their company’s strategies to their own clients. This might result in losses amounting in millions if ever their strategies fall in the wrong hands. Even though they aren’t transparent with their strategies, clients still hire these large companies because of their reputation.
But as a small business, you can’t afford to lose any potential client. Hiding your strategies wouldn’t convince your clients that you could help them or that your product is that good – forcing you to explain your strategy in detail in order to get a sale.
You can also use this as an advantage. Why not email all your prospective clients? Never hesitate to offer your services and/or products to clients you have an email contact with.
#9. Not Using YouTube To Your Advantage
Many small businesses run their social media accounts every single day. But there’s another way to increase your website’s traffic – YouTube. YouTube can attract a lot of your target audience since creating an interactive video isn’t impossible, it’s actually easy.
Many companies have succeeded due to the viral videos that they post on YouTube. When your video goes viral, so does your company – you can expect a great increase in your revenue. Companies that have a specific product for sale can also promote their products features in creative and interactive ways. Videos are a very powerful tool in marketing and so is YouTube.
#10. Ignoring Keyword Research
Keywords are effective in increasing SEO of your content, but each keyword has different metrics. Always make sure that the keyword(s) that you’ll be using are actually getting search traffic.
Failing to research on keywords may lead you to use the wrong keywords – making you target a drastically smaller audience that you deserve. Don’t worry; there are different software available that would help you see how often people search for keyword/s.
#11. Failing To Increase Outbound Links To Website
SEO can drastically improve when many inbound links from other websites link to your content. This is a main factor that determines the quality of the content – allowing you to rank higher in search engines like Google.
But you can’t simply spam links to your content through low quality websites. The truth is that this would actually harm your business instead of benefiting it – making you almost invisible on search engines; you wouldn’t want this to happen.
Focus more on quality, not on quantity. Always make sure that outbound links linking to your content would be quality and reliable websites and never ever pay cheap websites to link their content to your website.
#12. Neglecting Affiliate Programs
Startup businesses are usually restricted by their budget and funding. If you want a cheaper way to sell your product/service, you can try out affiliate programs. Affiliate partners would promote or sell your product/service, only for a small commission. Having an affiliate partner that gets a lot of visitors per day would definitely increase you revenue each month.
Affiliate programs can give you a stream of income in your startup business’ early stages. Earning from affiliate programs is reliable since it motivates your affiliate partners to sell your products and services. Consider this option as an additional source of revenue – many businesses already have.
#13. Setting Up A Pay-To-Play Method
If you want your startup business to succeed, pay-to-play wouldn’t do. People hate paying for something, especially online software and services. This would make people to move away from your company and look for a similar business offering their service online, for free.
Take note that this not apply with all lines of businesses. Some businesses sell products and you cannot give away your products for free.
But why do people hate the pay-to-play method?
- They have alternatives that are absolutely free
- Your business isn’t familiar to them
- They feel that the product or service isn’t worth it
Sometimes it’s better to offer free value with additional perks that are paid for. Again, this doesn’t apply to all business industries since others would need to sell their products and services to earn revenue.
#14. Allocating Most Of Their Budget On Design
Your company’s logo, website, and online poster ads may seem very important but this only makes up a small portion of your internet marketing strategy. A common mistake that many business owners make is overspending on their website, logo, and online poster ads. Sure, you’ll get stunning visuals but have you ever considered the quality of your website’s content?
Investing less on content wouldn’t bring in potential clients. Your website might even be spammed with keywords – doing more harm than good to your company. Your budget should be allocated equally between web design, good copy and SEO content.
#15. Not Having A Concrete Conversion Strategy
If you’ve tried everything possible to make your website SEO-friendly, but haven’t seen any improvement on your conversion rates – there is a big problem. You may notice a lot of people visiting your website all because of your SEO efforts. But why aren’t they buying from you? Or why aren’t you earning revenue?
All businesses earn revenue in different ways – some earn by selling their products and services, while others earn solely through advertisements. Now that you have attracted potential clients to your website, you need to think a conversion strategy. Advertisements can easily earn you money only by increasing your website visitors. But for product-focused websites – How will you convert each visitor into a paying customer?
You can do the following:
- Write interesting content that has a persuasive paragraph at the end
- Clearly explain your product/service’s benefits
- Strategize where the purchase button is located
- Offer a variety of payment methods
- Strategically price your product/service
- Highly differentiate your product/service from the competition
Always make sure you have a concrete conversion strategy. Otherwise you wouldn’t see an increase to your revenue. No business can afford to ignore a conversion strategy.
#16. Seeking No Help
Business owners would soon realize that digital marketing has a lot of elements. No business owner can do everything himself or herself while also running the business. If you want effective results, you need the help of individuals who specialize in a certain task.
Some of the tasks that need to be done are:
- Content strategy/marketing
- Graphic design
- Link building
- SEO strategy/implementation (on site and off site)
- Social media management
- Ad strategy/management
- And a LOT more
Many business owners commonly ignore hiring experts for each task – mainly because outsourcing these services is costly. But every business needs them and ignoring them would make your website less efficient.
Also, there are agencies that offer teams of experts that can handle multiple tasks for your website. The good thing is that this option is way cheaper than hiring different experts for each task – helping you save money while also creating and keeping an effective marketing strategy.
#17. Being Impatient
Don’t expect all your digital and internet marketing efforts to take effect within a few hours. Most of the time digital marketing will take time to reward you. The goal is to focus more on long term benefits rather than short term ones. Never quit your internet marketing strategy just because you don’t see the results in a few days time.
Internet and digital marketing isn’t a short term strategy – it’s a long term strategy, which others fail to realize. Significant results would only show at least 4-6 months after implementing internet marketing and SEO tactics.
Never Commit These Marketing Mistakes Again
Are you guilty of committing any of these marketing mistakes? So am I! But the important thing is to identify the problem and commit to changing it. Comment and let me know what marketing mistakes resonate most with you and your business!
Now that you know the 17 marketing mistakes almost every business makes online, you can easily avoid them now. Avoid these at all costs for a more efficient and effective internet marketing strategy. In 4-6 months, you’ll see the results of all your internet marketing efforts. Make the most out of your online strategy.
Now go out there and get your online marketing in check to acquire customers!