Investing in online marketing is critical for businesses that want to grow their customer base – and ultimately their business. But, simply spending on online marketing doesn’t guarantee you results. You have to make sure that not only is your marketing itself effective, but also that you’re not making some of these (unfortunately common) expensive mistakes that can cost you customers.
Are you making any of these expensive online marketing mistakes?
1. Not tracking your online marketing.
Tracking enables you to know which of your marketing tactics are working – and which ones aren’t. Continuing to invest your marketing budget into tactics that don’t work means you probably aren’t reaching the right consumers in the first place. It’s important to track these tactics so you can reach consumers who are actually in your target so you can convert more of them into customers.
2. Driving website visitors to fill out a Web form no one checks.
Do you know where all your website contact forms are going? And if so, how frequently are you checking them? If you’re not sure, or not regularly reviewing leads you get from your website, you are probably investing in an important website feature you’re not taking advantage of – and missing out on converting a lot of potential customers.
3. Paying for a website that’s not optimized.
Simply having a website doesn’t mean it’s helping drive customers to your business. Investing in a website that’s not optimized for search engines and conversions could be costing you twofold. First, it’s likely you’re not even being found when your target consumers are searching for your products or services. And second, those that do find your website can’t contact you if your site doesn’t have easy to find contact information like your phone number or email address.
4. Not targeting your advertising to the right people.
Online advertising has powerful targeting capabilities – but targeting your ads to the wrong people – such as those outside of your geographic area, target age range, or income level – or worse, not targeting your ads at all – is both wasted effort and expense.
5. Paying for search ads that don’t use the right keywords.
Search advertising is pay-per-performance, so you might be paying for clicks on keywords that aren’t really working to drive leads from your website. Not all keywords are created equal, so make sure the ones you are bidding on and using in your text ads help your ads show up when people search for your products and services, so they’re more likely to click your ad and convert.
6. Not bidding on your business name in search ads.
Regardless of whether you “own” your business name in organic search, it’s important to bid on your business name in paid search ads as well. Chances are, your competitors are bidding on your name, and their paid ads might trump your organic ranking on the search engine results page, which could cost you customers.
7. Using misleading advertising, promotions, or pricing.
Consumers are savvy, and one sure way to turn them off is by using misleading pricing, promotions, or advertising. Sure, you might get more clicks on a “too-good-to-be-true” offer, but misleading advertising might cost you customers – and your reputation, too.
8. Not marketing locally.
As a local business, it’s important to make sure your online marketing targets local consumers. Not only is this more cost-effective, but it also cuts down on you filtering though leads that aren’t from your target area.
9. Not following up with prospects who call you.
After all the effort to drive qualified prospects to contact your business through your marketing and business website, this is one of the most costly marketing mistakes. It’s critical to have a system in place that helps (and reminds) you to follow up with people who contact your business. Whether they leave a message or just aren’t ready to buy, not following up with these leads can have a serious impact on your business.
10. Not tracking your marketing through to conversions.
Simply tracking clicks, visits, and number of followers doesn’t tell you much about how effective your online marketing actually is at getting you customers. If you’re not tracking your marketing all the way through to conversions like calls, or emails, you may be investing in marketing that isn’t really working.
11. Not monitoring and managing your reputation.
Is your online reputation costing you customers? If you haven’t checked to see if your online reputation is positive or negative, you could be losing many potential customers due to bad reviews, comments, or other content that’s critical of your business. Do a quick search for your business name to see what shows up – then take steps to improve your reputation.
12. Not claiming and optimizing your Google+ Local page.
Claiming your local listings is an important task for any local business. Google+ Local is even more critical, because your listing there is tied directly to your Google Maps listing, which is one of the top ways that consumers search for local businesses on the go via their mobile devices. If your Google+ Local page is bare-bones or contains incorrect information or negative content about you, chances are it will turn prospects away from contacting you.
13. Not checking your phone number on marketing and directories.
Is your phone number correct on all of your marketing as well as the directories your business is listed in? An outdated – or just plain incorrect – phone number is virtually guaranteed to cost you customers. So make sure to audit (and call to double check)!) your phone number everywhere it appears – whether on a billboard, print ad, or online source.
14. Poor phone call handling.
Is answering the phone effectively a part of your marketing strategy? It should be. Since a majority of local businesses make sales or set appointments via the phone, poor call handling techniques – including rudeness, not providing the right or enough information, or not answering at all – is a huge source of churn for many prospects – who may then find a competitor who has better phone skills.
15. Not shopping your competitors.
How are your competitors marketing their businesses online? What offers and specials do they run? What do their websites look like? How are their online reviews? Not shopping your competitors means you may be out of the loop on what appeals to your target consumers.
16. Not using negative feedback to improve your business.
Nobody wants to see negative things about their business online. But when you do, do you actually take action on the feedback to improve your business? If not, chances are that other customers are experiencing similar issues, meaning once- loyal customers could be turning elsewhere.
17. Waiting too long to contact a lead.
How quickly do you call back a potential customer when they contact you? If your answer is weeks, days, or even hours, it could be costing you. Research shows that the more quickly you contact a lead, the more likely you are to close a deal. And common sense says that the first business to contact a consumer is more likely to win their business.
It’s important to make sure that your marketing investment really works – and that you’re not losing valuable contacts and leads due to poor marketing or business practices. Which of these marketing mistakes might be costing you prospects, sales, and even customers?
Share your thoughts in a comment!