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Are you making these 6 online marketing mistakes?

In business terms, online marketing is a relatively new discipline.  It therefore stands to reason that, in its adoption, some mistakes will be made. This blog lists some of the common online marketing mistakes companies are making and provides tips on how to prevent or remedy them.

Mistake #1: Traditional marketers can easily transition into online marketing

transition
Traditional marketing and online marketing are very different disciplines. While both attempt to achieve the same objective, their methods and tactics differ drastically. Just because someone has been in marketing for a number of years does not necessarily mean they understand the elements of digital or online marketing. In fact, a traditional mindset can cause havoc in an online environment.

 

How to fix it? Remember that on-line has not completely replaced traditional marketing. Done correctly, the two can complement each other. It may be worth your while to have separate teams for traditional and online. If you are unable to hire properly qualified online staff, you need to get your staff adequately trained and certified. Remember when hiring that SEO is integral to all things marketing and thus a good understanding of SEO is non-negotiable.

Mistake #2: Online Marketing is cheap and easy

It’s a given that online marketing is far more cost-effective than traditional marketing, but that does not mean it is ‘cheap’ – nor is it easy. There is a particular skill set and understanding required to get to grips with how people behave on the web, what your target audience is looking for, how to be on your audience’s radar and how to measure and monitor your efforts. Spend your money wisely and you will reap the rewards.

 

How to fix it? Find out what your company has been spending on traditional marketing in the past. Establish what sort of a budget you have to work with online and prioritise your spend accordingly. Every situation will be unique. Work on a formula that will help you understand how much the acquisition of a lead a) costs your company and b) Is worth to your company. Use all the tools at your disposal to measure your ROI. In upcoming blogs I’ll provide more detail on how you can keep your PPC costs down by optimising your content as well as other strategies for monitoring your online spend.

Mistake #3: Planning is not a pre-requisite

This applies to everything in business – not just marketing. Too many executives fail to appreciate how much planning is required in order to be effective. Any good online campaign requires in-depth keyword research, and understanding of the audience, online competitor research as well as an understanding of what is trending in the marketplace. While access to information is made very easy on the web, it is still time-consuming.

 

How to fix it? ALWAYS build time into your strategy for planning and research and NEVER go into a campaign blind. A myriad tools exist for your research, some of my favourites include: the trusted favourite keyword research tool (Google it because there are a number of different options), Google trends, Moz tools (www.moz.com).

Mistake #4: B2B instead of P2P

Too many businesses write in a robotic, disconnected way because they believe that is correct for business to business communications. You may well be in a business to business environment, but you should be engaging with a person. Please remember that a lot of online communication is person to person and a more individual style of writing is the type of communication that will get you results.

 

How to fix it? Drop the traditional writing styles, forget ego, chuck out the jargon, be sincere and authentic. Whenever you write ask yourself what you are trying to achieve and how you are adding value?

Mistake #5: Guessing

The days of putting up a billboard and guessing the number of impressions based on traffic estimates are long gone. There are a heap of online tools that will completely obliterate any form of guessing games. Don’t guess who your online audience is, cheack your analytics and get the facts.

 

How to fix it? The beauty of online lies in it’s measurability. Measure and monitor in order to constantly improve your presence. Most social media platforms come with their own metrics dashboards. Use Google Analytics. Link your site to the Google Search Console. Do your homework.

Mistake #6: Trying to be original

In a world where billions of daily searches each result in millions of possible results, do you honestly believe that you can be original? You could try, but I’m not convinced it would be worth your time. Give up on trying to be original. I’m by no means giving you a license to plagiarise, but stop trying to come up with that one idea that nobody else has thought of.

 

How to fix it? If you have an idea for a campaign or content type that will benefit your audience, run with it. As long as you are adding value, you can’t really go wrong. If you are being transparent and authentic and honestly trying to add value, chances are that you will.

Web sites and diet pills

In our modern world, we’re all accomplished in our fields of expertise.  As business people we have progressed and climbed up the proverbial corporate ladder by making good decisions and revisiting our company strategies to maintain our focus…haven’t we?

All the great business cliches have been hammered into us every step of the way, but they’ve become white noise and even smart, thinking people have forgotten how to apply common sense to things that matter in their daily lives.

You just have to look at fad diets and how much money is generated year-on-year on the promise that taking a pill will give you the body of the most popular celebrity currently sporting the covers of best-selling magazines.  Really?  Thinking people believe this stuff?  Sadly, yes, the numbers prove it and people continue to fall for the golden promise of results without appropriate action.

It’s no different with web sites, in my opinion.  Executives believe that a web site is the diet pill of the business world.  Just put up a web site and you can consider yourself ‘digital’.  “Build it and they will come” echos from the boardroom.

 

Online Marketing Strategy

 

The reality is that while online marketing is far more cost-effective and has far wider reach than any other form of marketing, it is neither free nor cheap.  It is not a quick solution and it certainly does not happen without planning, effort, focus and tenacity.

Online Marketing is still a very young business discipline, relatively speaking, and many business people are missing out on golden opportunities by not fully embracing it.  While it is not rocket science, it does take a shift in thinking and a move away from the traditional approach.  You have to accept that this is a field of constant flux.  Nobody will ever be ahead of the curve.  You have to dedicate yourself to ongoing change and education.

The rewards, however, are tremendous.  Being able to measure and improve your skills based on real facts and figures are tremendous.

So put in the effort and reap the real rewards – it’s simple really when you do it properly, just stick to the basics and don’t shy away from putting in the required amount of planning.

Think about what you hope to achieve by going digital.  Which channels and social media platforms are best suited to your objectives and target audience? What resources do you have available to you and how much time do you have to launch?  How much money do you have to spend? Will you need to use external resources for specialist areas?

Still thinking?  Not good enough…you really need to write this stuff down.  That helps you to focus better and will stop you from dreaming and rather get you to commit.

 

Online Planning

 

 

And since we’re referencing the diet analogy, don’t forget that if you want to lose weight, you really do want to keep it off.  Likewise, if you’re going to build a site, you need to maintain it. Whatever you do don’t continually change your mind about your strategy.  You need to give your online presence a chance to grow some roots.  While certain aspects will require constant change for obvious reasons, your core strategy, choice of platform and other ‘foundation’ aspects should be solid.