There are many ways that small businesses limit the success of online marketing, the most common of which is to assume that marketing online is a sure fire way to drive hordes of targeted prospects through the doors, wallets in hand, ready to hand over their cash cards for your products or services. In an ideal world maybe, but in the real world, it just doesn’t happen.

The 5 Most Damaging Online Marketing Mistakes

Thinking that everyone is interested

Being passionate about your business success is one thing but thinking that everybody else in the entire world feels the same is just naive. Marketing on the internet doesn’t mean that you should go out there and advertise to the world. What it does mean is that the targeted group of ideal users or clients for your business services is bigger because
you can focus on people from outside your locality.

Focus on getting to know exactly who your audience is, what they like, what they dislike, what your product and service means to those people, the benefits it can bring to them and market hard to that select group of people.

Failing to consistently monitor what is being said about your brand online.

Online reputation management is big, consumers have growing access to the internet and that means when a customer is unhappy about a product or service the first thing that they do is jump online and share this bad review with everyone they know. Not only that but the plethora of review sites such as Yell, Thomson, Yelp or Citisearch means that it’s all too easy for consumers to leave disparaging comments about your business online for everyone to see.

People read and trust reviews and that means that if the reputation of your business online is not managed correctly then this could be putting off a lot of customers before you even get the opportunity to speak with them.

Be proactive with your reviews, ask customers for reviews and make sure that the reviews are strategically placed so that potential clients can read them. Use your reputation as a marketing weapon to attract new clients and not drive them away.

Being a dedicated follower of fashion

The online marketing world moves fast and nearly every day, or at least every week, there is a new tool or platform that is touted as the next big thing. Crowds of people scramble to sign up and get started. Don’t feel the need to do the same.

It is difficult enough to master one or two online tools that will allow you to connect with your audience let alone 5 or 6 and when you are a small business owner there are always more pressing things to do then find out when the next Pinterest or Facebook is. Stick with what works for you and your audience, if there is a new social media platform that your audience is using more than others then think about getting a presence there but don’t spread yourself too thinly.

There is no harm in making sure that you own your business name on these new networks so that if you do choose at a later date to get involved you can market with your own name.

Mistaking paid and earned online marketing strategies.

Many small businesses think that online advertising is the same as online marketing. They are not; in fact they are two completely different things.

Advertising online consists of purchasing web ads, banners or Pay-per Click campaigns that drive targeted eyeballs to your products or services almost instantly. Earned online marketing is where you devise structured inbound marketing campaigns designed to entertain, inform and educate targeted clients about your products or services so they become better qualified prospects and clients for your business. More importantly earned media, once you have earned it, cannot be switched off overnight when you stop paying for the privilege.

Consistently failing to be consistent

The internet moves forward at a hundred miles an hour and then some. The efforts that you put in place last week or last month are very rarely good enough to leave alone. All marketing efforts should be tested and tracked so that you know what is working and what is not but also where you need to improve or maximise in order to get that best return on your advertising investment, whether that investment is time, or money.

If your goals are to build an online marketing presence with a thriving online community, then you need to dedicate time each and every day to engage with the community.

The online marketing world is no different to the real world. Heck, it is the real world! Understand the needs of your targeted audience, set goals and objectives as to what you want to achieve from your marketing, dedicate time and resource to attracting and keeping those clients, earn their trust and business and consistently do what is working while eradicating what isn’t.

what online marketing lesson did you learn the hard way? Leave a comment below and let us know!

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