Marketing online isn’t just another promotional option, it should be where most of your marketing efforts are geared towards, in fact it is no longer optional for every business. In order for most businesses to not just survive but also thrive, online marketing has become a necessity. There are however multiple pitfalls to avoid when marketing online that unfortunately too many businesses have to learn about the hard way.
In an effort to do our part and keep you ahead of the curve in your marketing efforts, here is a quick list of 10 of the biggest online marketing mistakes and how you can avoid them;
1. Not targeting the correct audience/Targeting everyone
Stop me if you’ve heard this one before.
A company is so caught up in measuring visitor traffic on their website that they endeavour to do any and all things to increase their visitor numbers, forgoing the conversion of visitors into customers.
Often businesses go overboard in their marketing ploys in an attempt to cast a wide net. This usually results in loyal customers getting burnt and the demographic the companies should be targeting not being fully realised.
This shouldn’t need to be said but don’t lose your grip on your target market simply because you haven’t identified and known who you should of been aiming for. Consider the demographics of your current and prospective customers. That’s who you need to be targeting.
According to the “Mobile search & video behaviour analysis” from Millward Brown Digital; 56% of sporting goods searchers on mobile are female, 45% of home improvement searchers on mobile are women and 68% of skin & body care influencers in the past six months were men. What we’re trying to say is, don’t make assumptions about the demographics of your customer base, do the research.
2. Having unreasonable expectations or none whatsoever
Have you ever seen someone start an exercise and diet routine, only to throw in the towel after a week because they weren’t seeing the results? That is how a lot of people view online initiatives. If the results aren’t instantaneous, it must not be working.
This isn’t entirely the individuals fault, there are so many rumours and success stories being passed around regarding businesses seeing unbridled success overnight, you’d be forgiven for buying into the hype and thinking your success is mere moments away.
However this commonly leads to an overestimation in user engagement, which can also muddy expectations. Most people want a "Jack and the Beanstalk" scenario, they view starting an online initiative as throwing some magic beans out the window, resulting in an atmospheric overnight growth. When really they should be prepared for the long haul, planting and caring for their seeds, promoting and investing in online growth.
The flip-side to people having unrealistic expectations in their online initiatives, is the people that have no real goals or agenda in what they’re doing online. If you do not have any long or short term goals clearly mapped out, then your business is aimlessly floating.
Define what you wish to achieve so that you know what you’re aiming for and then make sure that your goals have been clearly communicated with the rest of the marketing team, so that everyone’s efforts can work towards achieving the established objectives.
The solution should be in establishing SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Time Based) goals, that make sense regarding the current performance of your website.
3. Not calculating ROI
On the backend of discussing expectations and goals, if you are blindly putting time and energy into online strategies, how will you truly know what success looks like with no discernible measurement? The answer is, you won’t.
If you do not know how much money you are spending on online marketing/what kind of return you are getting, you will be doomed to make the same mistakes over and over again.
Omitting to calculate the results of marketing can lead to burning cash, through repeat offences of the same ineffective campaigns. Measuring ROI can help you to direct your budget and attention towards which initiatives are working and also help identify what needs to be abandoned or modified.
Calculating your ROI isn’t as difficult as it may seem. The key is to know which metrics you will be following, such as traffic, leads, click-through rates and conversions.
Once they have been identified, take the financial gain from your investment and subtract the cost of your investment. Divide that number by the total cost of your investment and there you have your calculated ROI.
Make sure you determine the ROI of all of your marketing campaigns moving forward. It’s the only way to truly know if your strategy was successful.
4. Not having the right resources
We have never lived in a period in time before that has as much on and offline provisions readily available than we do right now, so why are so many businesses and individuals ignoring this fact and struggling alone in their efforts?
When it comes to online marketing, to use budget or lack thereof as an excuse as to why you have not hired a professional or used tools is a weak standpoint. Yes, some professional services and tools can be dearer than others but with the sheer number of supplies readily available, there is something out there for everyone, no matter what price bracket you fall in.
Whether you have a knowledgeable consultant or external hire in the wings or you have an automated software that can keep you on top of your marketing efforts, you will need an ally to help you navigate the fast paced world of online marketing.
5. Underrating the cost of marketing
Riding off the back of “unreasonable expectations” is the unmitigated presumption of online marketing being little to no cost. This way of thinking is often brought on by a misconstrued outlook on things such as self-managed SEO.
Make no mistake, the expertise required to get results will never be cheap. Spending your time and money on building a website and not spending on marketing is like throwing a party and not telling anyone about it, throwing a party is pointless if no one is going to attend it. Just like a website lacking in marketing forgoes any real need to exist.
Therefore, you should recognise the fact that marketing a website always bears the cost. It is recommended to set up a budget that can cover almost a year’s marketing cost. The amount can vary depending on purpose and objective of the marketing strategies selected, but in most of the cases, the amount of the budget should be around 20% to 50% of the cost of the website.
Bottomline, you need to have a marketing budget, if you don’t, that’s your first mistake. The second mistake people make is not properly allocating the funds from their marketing budget to the specific areas requiring it i.e. customer acquisition, customer retention etc.
You need a well-rounded marketing strategy, and your budget should reflect this plan accordingly. Spending money on multiple avenues and campaigns can help hedge your bets in case certain promotions don’t work as well as you predict.
6. Neglecting mobile users
It still blows my mind, how many businesses have a website that have not been optimised for mobile viewing.
We’ve written countless articles here at Gamify about the ever growing market opportunity that runs parallel with the widely integrated use of mobile devices in everyday lives.
Whoever you’re trying to reach is guaranteed to have a phone and are increasingly more likely to search for you on said phone rather than a PC or Laptop.
Mobile optimisation isn’t just convenient, it’s vital. Bad mobile experiences can turn customers away from your business. In fact, 50% of people said they would use a company less often if they did not have a site that’s mobile friendly, even if they liked the brand.
Not taking care of your website across all device forms sends a negative message to your viewers, one of indifference and neglect. What kind of impression do you want leave with your customers?
In some cases, having a mobile App is both a lot more practical and of a greater customer yield than a standard mobile optimised site. While this may not be reasonable for everyone, some companies can definitely benefit from it. All that being said, your business should always have a mobile optimised site in order to truly be accessible to all of your customers.
7. Lacking in discounts or promotions
You may have information about your business that you feel your customers could greatly benefit from if they were to simply jump on your website but from their perspective there simply is no need, no desire, no reasoning.
One of the best ways to grab and hold the attention of your customers, is by offering discounts and promotions to encourage customer engagement with your brand. Something as simple as a discount offer can help increase traffic to both your store locations and your web page.
Make sure to advertise your sales clearly, promotions can usually help increase your sales. Just remember, offering a discount doesn’t mean that your customers won’t purchase items listed at full price as well, in fact some shoppers feel even more inclined to make additional purchases due to the savings they are making through the provided discount code/coupon.
Coupons also build a stronger relationship with your clients, with 91% of people saying they would revisit a retailer after they redeem a coupon. Discounts are a great way for you to acquire new customers and retain your current clientele.
Gamification Marketing is built firmly on the foundation of connecting psychologically with the user’s human desires and rewarding their achievements, resulting in a change in buyer behaviour. Gamify’s studies have shown that rewards are 7X more likely to be redeemed when they have been earned rather than offered generically at the end of an Ad.
Creating an online experience in which customers can engage with your brand, build positive association and earn rewards for their achievements is a strong plus.
8. Steering clear of social media
If you’re not using social media platforms to market your brand, I’m not sure where to even start with you.
First of all, why? Second to that, it doesn’t matter what your reasoning is, it is wrong (the truth hurts). If you are avoiding social media, you may be allergic to inexpensive opportunities to interact with your customer base and may need to see a doctor about that.
Straight out the gate, creating social media accounts come at no cost. From there, social media advertisements are grossly underpriced right now according to Gary Vaynerchuk, one of the biggest leading voices in modern marketing.
Your customers use these platforms, so you need to use them as well, plain and simple. If you want to be approachable and able to gauge your customer base in a low-key environment, social media is where you need to be.
All this being said, once you create your profiles, DO NOT BUY FOLLOWERS. You might be discouraged if you don’t have tons of users following your page right away. Don’t worry, this will change.
Buying followers does not accomplish anything, you won’t have any additional engagement, you can’t accurately read your brand’s growth and if you get caught out, it will be a huge smudge on your brand’s reputation.
9. Spamming your customers
Here are three things to consider about your previous emails towards customers; are each of your emails Helpful, Educational or Relevant?
If you can’t honestly say that your previous emails hold at least 2 of these 3 listed qualities, chances are you have unknowingly been spamming your customers. This can however be a quick fix.
Relevancy is possibly the most important of the 3 qualities you want in your emails, and how you make sure of this is by creating email segmentation lists. This will help channel specific content to a recipient list that is more than happy to receive it.
This means any subscribers that would not find a particular form of content relevant, will not become frustrated with you dumping unwanted material in their lap. If they’re already a subscriber, this means that they are genuinely interested in some of your content. Don’t make them unsubscribe by sending them emails that they don’t want to see.
An easier way to categorise recipient lists before even getting to backend, lead-flow systems is by simply giving your customers the power to choose, providing newsletter options when they initially sign up to receive content. This comes in the form of asking them how often they want to receive emails, Do they want your monthly newsletter? Or do they want your weekly promotion? Or maybe even Both?
If customers only want to hear from you once a month, make sure you’re not contacting them every day. They will unsubscribe and won’t get any of your future messages.
10. Not using a call-to-action
As we touched on earlier in regards to setting goals and tracking your progress. How do you assume your customers will help you reach these set goals?
Creating a great online advertisement is one thing, following it up with a strong call to action is another. If you wish to have your customers perform an action, there will need to be a prompting motivator on your end in order to get them into gear.
Once again, Gamification Marketing is a strong example for CTAs, creating interactive experiences that require customers to submit their details, visit a website or enter stores in order to redeem their rewards.
If you start using strong CTA methods, you can separate your company from the competition.
If you’ve noted from this article, a few mistakes that your company is currently making, don’t feel deflated, having this acknowledgement is already a positive step towards updating your marketing approach.
Online Marketing is a vast term, with many different faces. Don’t be afraid to dabble in a few different marketing forms, don’t be afraid to make mistakes, just make sure that you are tracking and measuring everything and in-turn learning.
If you are facing problems in promoting your business online, the team at Gamify are more than capable of helping you take positive steps forward in all the aforementioned areas in an affordable and practical manner, contact us today to see how.