Digital marketing is a new world to many businesses, and with any new endeavor, there are always going to be new challenges. With skill and direction, digital marketing can help you reach new markets, generate leads, and convert casual visitors into paying customer. But, when done carelessly, your digital marketing efforts can be a whole lot of sound and fury signify nothing.
Unfortunately, for many small to mid-sized businesses just dipping their toes into online marketing, that is exactly what happens. They try a few things, make a few mistakes, don't see the results they were looking for, and abandon the idea. A terrible loss considering just how much you can achieve with digital marketing given a little patience and persistence!
We hate to see that happen. So in the interest of helping more business avoid that sorry fate, here are a few of the most common mistakes new businesses make when just starting out with online marketing.
It's all about you
Digital marketing is different from traditional marketing. When you pay for a 30 second radio spot or a quarter-page ad in the local paper, of course you're going to want it to be all about your business, your product, and how great it is. But, when you advertise online, you need to cool your jets a bit. Space on the internet is limitless, there is no premium on your word count or airtime. Digital marketing is just as much about building credibility and rapport as it is telling people about your products.
Successful digital marketing efforts are all about the customer. What they're into, the challenges they face, and the things they find interesting. You need to address those concerns and ideas first and foremost, and work from there to find a way to relate them to what your business does in a natural, smooth manner. You gotta act casual. This is a tricky needle to thread and requires a deft touch, some businesses will have an easier time with it than others depending on what they do or sell. However, as long as you remember to keep things focused on the customer and spend more time talking about them than you do patting yourself on the back, you'll do fine.
Not maintaining your blog
Does your business have a blog? If it does, great! But, do you update it regularly?
This is the problem many small to mid-sized businesses have when trying to operate their nascent digital marketing efforts. Blogging is an excellent way to organically raise your SEO, generate traffic, establish credibility, and build a connection with your customers. But only if you keep at it.
A blog that is only updated once or twice a year might as well not exist. For a blog to really move the needle and get results, it has to be regularly and consistently updated with fresh content. If you want your digital marketing efforts to succeed, you have to commit to making blogging a real priority and devote some time to it. For a small business, a bi-weekly posting schedule is a good place to start with your sights set on establishing a weekly routine after a few months.
Ignoring social media
You might think that proactive marketing social media accounts are only for large businesses, but you'd be mistaken. Even a modestly maintained social media presence can be a huge boon to your business, steering traffic to your site, increasing your visibility, and providing a direct connection to your potential customers.
You can't underestimate the benefit of simply being on social media. Having an account that can be found by your customers and provide them with a way of getting in contact with you is a major advantage. It can mean the difference between a curious customer asking a question, or just walking away. Between an unsatisfied customer grousing to all of his or her friends about your business, or giving you the opportunity to make things right. Just a basic account that is regularly checked and occasionally updated can returned surprising dividends.
But, that's just the start. An active social media presence that goes out of its way to connect with customers, share interesting tidbits, show off your business's personality, and promote your blogs, releases, and news can be a powerful tool. A way to directly speak to your target demographics without the heavy cost of traditional marketing. Don't sleep on such a great opportunity!
You never spice it up
So you have your blog, your social profiles, and your website. What are you doing with them? The most effective digital marketing efforts know how to mix it up and add a little flair to things. The web is a visual medium, and a few pictures can go a long way when you're trying to get people's attention. Photos, infographics, and other graphic design elements can help your blogs hit harder, your posts reach further, and help you stand out.
Even better, if you have the means and capability, a bit of video can be a huge bonus. Instructional videos, demonstrations, tutorials, and behinds the scenes walk-throughs are some of the most sought after and shared content online. When done well, a simple YouTube video can generate clicks and interests for months or even years after its been posted. This might not be something you'll be able to put together right away, but it is definitely a goal to work towards as your digital marketing efforts mature.
We all make mistakes and no digital marketing push is ever going to go perfectly. But, if you can avoid these common mistakes and learn from the painful lessons of so many before you, you'll be able to see faster, and better, results from your online marketing. Good luck!