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Common Online Marketing Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

Here’s a quick quiz. For ten points, name the social media platform with the highest ROI in 2021

Time’s ticking. Do you have an answer yet?

If you guessed Facebook, then congratulations. You’re correct. But the question might have made you wonder how up to speed you genuinely are with marketing trends.

The truth is, many businesses get into a routine with their marketing approach. But the creative tactics that drove your sales back in 2019 might catch you off guard in the ever-changing online world in 2022. 

It’s time to master the latest trends. To help, here is our definitive guide to the most common online marketing mistakes. See how many you might be guilty of and find out how to remedy them. 

Mistake: A Scattergun Marketing Approach

Your marketing starts with a clear strategy. Without it, you’ll end up in the frequent trap of continued experimentation, trial, and error, or what’s more commonly known as the disjointed scattergun approach.

So put your marketing ideas and tactics aside and sit down with your creative team to decide on your high-level strategy. That must start by defining your most important goals when running your marketing campaigns.

Those goals need to align with your broader business goals, and they should be measurable.

Once you have those goals, you can tailor specific campaigns throughout the year. Plan these well ahead of time and think strategically about the dates you choose for each campaign.

Will they align with a traditional dip in sales to help boost a quiet period? Will they tie in with a national holiday or a particular calendar date like Mother’s Day?

Or will they align with a superior new product or service you plan to launch? 

Make sure your strategy includes your broader marketing approach and not just the creative aspect.

What marketing tools will you invest in to help support your strategy? How will you review your campaigns to see opportunities for improvement in the future?

Will you need to invest in experts or freelancers to meet some of your marketing goals? Or should you invest in training your team in more specialist marketing knowledge such as SEO or Facebook ads?

Mistake: Targeting the Wrong People

Some business owners secretly dream of going viral.

Maybe that’s an accidentally funny social media post that brings about thousands of new followers. Or perhaps it’s a groundbreaking blog article that turns your website into a go-to destination overnight.

But in reality, anyone who has ever experienced the phenomena of viral marketing will tell you that it’s not what it’s cracked up to be. And here’s why.

Going viral brings thousands of irrelevant visitors to your website. Visitors will like that one piece of content but are not interested in buying from you.

However, this mindset for attracting thousands of visitors persists with many business owners today.

The assumption is that the more people you attract to your business, the more sales you’ll get.

But that isn’t true. We are now in an era where you can reach billions of people online. So it’s more important than ever that you target your marketing to a specific handful of highly targeted people.

So this brings us to a common mistake in marketing, and that’s targeting the wrong people.

Often stemming from trying to reach everyone and anyone, business marketing campaigns fall flat because they don’t resonate with any of them.

Before your next marketing campaign, take the time to review your target audience and ask yourself if it’s as detailed and narrow as it should be. If it’s vague, address it.

Research your ideal customer and find out everything you can about their demographics, internet habits, tastes, interests, and motives. You’ll get a much more targeted and effective marketing promotion this way. 

Mistake: Not Keeping Your Blog Updated

Most of us start with good intentions when it comes to blogging. After all, blogging is great for SEO, and the evidence there is indisputable. Companies that blog get almost twice as many link referrals. 

Even with the compelling link between blogging and search results, many of us make the mistake of dropping our blogging priorities when we’re busy.

We might start with a commitment to publishing a blog post once a week. Still, soon that becomes once a month, and before we know it, a visitor lands on our website and finds we haven’t published any content for over six months.

Imagine the impression that gives to a potential customer.

People read blogs because they are seeking relevant, recent information. When a blog post is out of date, it often means that visitors will click away and find something more suitable.

For your business, that is a marketing disaster. You’ve worked hard to write great content, made all that effort to get the traffic in the first place, only to lose a potential lead immediately by not keeping your blog up to date. 

Thankfully, there’s an easy fix.

Research keyword-rich topics relevant to your target audience, and create a content calendar for the next twelve months.

Estimate the time it takes to write and publish each post, and if you can’t commit the time, outsource it. The benefit you’ll see in traffic and referrals will far outway any investment you make in the content creation. 

Mistake: Spending Disproportionate Time on Social Media

Let’s face it. Social media marketing is undoubtedly one of the plus points of running a business. Browsing your feed, commenting on a few videos, and posting a bit of content is fun. 

Unfortunately, it’s also time-consuming. And if you currently see great results on social media, you might not even notice how much of your day you spend on your favorite platforms.

Have you stopped to consider whether the sales you make from social media justify all the hours you spend on the platform?

It’s a common trap for some business owners. And when you get to that stage of your business, you need to make a step-change in your social media strategy. That’s using social media automation.

Purchasing a modern social media tool that can automate your feed might not be as personally rewarding. Still, it’s the smart way to run your business.

It means you can organize all your social media content at the start of each month, set up some rules that will help you stay engaged with your fans, and set the automation to run.

It will save you time, and you’ll still see excellent results from your effort. Plus, it will be easier to outsource to a social media manager when your business gets too big for you to handle every responsibility yourself. 

Mistake: Thinking Customer Service is Irrelevant to Your Marketing

Traditionally, customer service and marketing sat as two separate departments in organizations. That’s still the case in some businesses.

But customer service has become more of a talking point in recent years. Successful businesses have used innovation in customer service to differentiate themselves from the competition and strengthen their brand.

In other words, it’s not enough to have a customer service department that’s ready and available to serve your customers.

You need to look at ways you can push your customer service to the next level to attract new customers into your business.

Once you’ve got that, you can incorporate that message into your marketing campaigns so that it sits front and center. It must be something people will be aware of before buying from you, not after. 

Here are some ideas on how you can level up your customer service:

  • Introduce a customer loyalty scheme
  • Use bots and other automation tools to keep the customer conversation going
  • Review your online purchase paths and aim for a frictionless experience for customers
  • Create a customer onboarding program
  • Hire a dedicated customer service champion within your marketing team

Think about the types of customers you serve and your competitor profile. That will help you craft an edge in the customer experience you offer. 

Mistake: Failing to Discover New SEO Keywords

Chances are, if you invest in SEO, you’ll already rank for a few preferred keywords.

However, the mistake you make is thinking that once you are ranking, you can sit back and watch the traffic come flooding into your website.

You don’t need to be an SEO guru to know that what is fashionable now might not be so trendy in the future. And that is undoubtedly true concerning keywords.

You must stay focused on the long-term trends of keywords so that you don’t see traffic tail off on a term that is no longer popular with your audience. 

That will shape your content strategy, too. By taking the time to discover new trending keywords in your niche, you can start to create unique content that targets these new words.

It’s a promising avenue for growth and could bring new types of customers into your business. 

Google Trends might be the most obvious place to spot new keywords. But don’t forget about other resources like Pinterest trends, Youtube, and Buzzfeed.

By using various sources, you are more likely to spot trends that haven’t made it onto your competitors’ radars. That will give your business a slight edge in future search optimization efforts. 

Mistake: Running an Old-Fashioned Website

What were we talking about again? Ah, yes, that’s right. Attention spans are on the decline, certainly when browsing websites. 

Is your business website design looking a little old? Past investment in a robust website won’t necessarily mean it is still keeping up with the times, so now’s the time to take an honest look at what you are presenting to your customers.

Websites are the center point of your marketing. Short attention spans mean you need to continually innovate to give your customers a smooth, engaging, and professional experience. 

Start with getting your technology up to date. You should run a fast and fully optimized website and one that works perfectly on mobile devices.

Think about the features you offer. People expect certain features nowadays, like chatbots and smooth checkout processes. They’ll want the best and most flexible one-click payment integrations like Apple Pay. 

Don’t forget about user-centered website design. A good website will be simple, with clear call-to-actions and an obvious path from the homepage to making that initial purchase.

Get a website usability expert to map out all your customers’ most common user journeys and use that to shape your new website design. 

Updating your website is also an excellent time to run a brand awareness campaign. You can tie in your new website launch with an advertising sequence that will entice old customers to visit your new and improved website. 

Mistake: Not Making the Most of Data

There are two under-utilized ways of boosting sales. First, gather more data intelligence on your customer behavior. Second, use that data to optimize your marketing campaigns. 

Start by upgrading your analytics tools. A committed company needs the most sophisticated analytics to help get a complete picture of how effectively they drive and convert traffic.

Make sure those analytics are all-encompassing. Google Analytics will reveal where your traffic is coming from, but what about analytics for each traffic source?

Do you have data on where your social media followers discover you? Are you capturing advanced data on your PPC advertising campaigns? Do an audit of your analytics capability and watch for gaps.

Next, make sure you are focused on conversion data. Traffic patterns are only half the story. You must have a definitive idea of the likelihood of each visitor converting into buyers.

Use the reporting functionality that’s on hand. That’s something where many businesses only scratch the surface. Are you making the same mistake?

Get expert help to create special real-time reports. These should tell you the performance of each new marketing campaign and help you track your buyers.

Where did people hear about your campaign? How much did it cost? And what was your return on investment? 

Don’t forget to keep tracking data after someone has made a purchase.

You’ll want to know how your aftercare service performs. More importantly, you’ll also want to see if you are getting repeat purchases from these new customers.

Mistake: Failing to Refine Your Marketing Copy

Excellent marketing copy is at the heart of every famous and high-profile marketing campaign. Now it’s time to stress-test your copy and discover whether it needs improving. 

If you don’t enjoy the luxury of employing a professional copywriter, here’s one way you can improve your marketing copy. Run a small ad campaign and A/B test two different headlines to see which brings the best conversions.

You can also try the same approach with your landing pages and sub-headlines.

If you are on a tight budget, try testing different promotional messages on your social media feed. It’s not as scientific in approach as split testing, but it will still provide you with some valuable data. 

Good marketing copy should be short, simple, and full of action words. It must help you get your message across to your audience without confusion or misinterpretation. 

Don’t rule out investing in a professional copywriter if you want to improve your marketing campaigns.

A good headline can transform the click-through rate of an ad, so the investment in professional copy may quickly be absorbed by cheaper clicks in your advertising. 

Mistake: Not Diversifying Your Marketing

Are you in a comfort zone with your marketing? Do you tend to spend most of your time on your favorite social media platform or spend all your marketing budget on SEO?

This tactic might have worked in the past. Still, in 2022, the intelligent approach is to diversify your marketing efforts and cushion your business against external forces that could negatively impact your marketing.

SEO is an excellent example of a narrow marketing approach that can potentially hurt your business.

Should Google release an algorithm that downgrades your ranking, your traffic could drop overnight.

If Google only represents 20% of your traffic, this isn’t a problem. But if 80% of your customers come from organic Google listings, your business is left exposed. 

Instead, push your business to try new things. That might mean new traffic sources, such as the up-and-coming TikTok ads. Or it might mean diversifying with different marketing methods, such as referrals, affiliate marketing, or podcasts.

Be bold with your plan of action. Research new, trending marketing methods and give them a try, even if you only allocate a tiny portion of your marketing budget.

You might not see results immediately, but you will be laying the foundation for future growth in some of these newer marketing avenues.

That will help protect your business in the future. It will potentially enable it to proliferate, too, if you happen to land on a hot and trending marketing platform before your competitors discover it. 

Mistake: Fearing the Sales Pitch

Your marketing might be clever, engaging, and great for your brand image. But it still needs to help you win sales, and some businesses are too subtle in their approach to selling, fearing that it could put off their audience.

That’s not the case. Good selling doesn’t have to be pushy, but it must be robust and consistent. Are you actively getting your sales pitch in front of your customer leads

Suppose you pitch to customers over the phone or Zoom. In that case, practice and rehearse your script with different staff members. Identify specific areas where you can improve it. 

Perhaps you sell via email, either directly in one-to-one emails or in a broadcast, using an email responder.

In this case, test different call-to-actions in your emails and monitor your autoresponder analytics to identify the emails that get the best response rate from your audience.

Don’t be too timid about your sales emails. If you have a time-limited launch, it’s common practice to send more than one email on the final day of your promotion, including an email 1 hour before the deadline.

You’ll see an uptick in your conversion rates by adding new sales-focused emails.

Remember to add more call-to-actions on your website that help sell your product or service.

Be big and bold in your design so that customers can see your offer. Add an upsell to your checkout sequence or a cross-sell on some of your more popular products.

Craft promotions that use tried-and-tested sales tactics, including time-limited bonuses, one-off discounts, and limited edition product lines. 

These are all examples of a more sales-focused marketing approach that will get you results without making your brand appear too aggressive. 

Mistake: You’ve Forgotten the Value of Testimonials

Testimonials have come a long way since the old days of a single quote from a happy customer. Is that the style of your current testimonials page? If so, it could be time for a revamp.

Think about including some detailed customer case studies, with data and metrics showcasing a before-and-after scenario. These carry more weight than mere quotes.

Make sure you invite customers to add reviews after they’ve purchased a product. Most review sites won’t let you insist on them.

Still, you can always add a reminder in your aftercare email and point customers in the right direction.

Think about investing in advanced technology and apps that give your visitors real-time social proof.

These are often in the form of a popup on the sales page, giving the name and location of someone who has recently made a purchase.  

Don’t miss out on the power of social media to boost your testimonials too. If you run a Facebook group, ask your fans to write comments about their experience with your product or service.

Or get fans to comment on social media below an image of your product. You could even tie this in with a competition, inviting past customers to share their thoughts. 

Lastly, add a video to your testimonials. A customer’s video sharing their experience is worth as much as dozens of written reviews. 

Online Marketing Mistakes to Fix in 2022

It’s time to revamp your current online marketing strategy. You’re probably making some of these online marketing mistakes.

Still, with a few simple upgrades, you can make dramatic improvements to your next online promotion. 

Why not start this year’s marketing transformation by adding our managed outbound engine service to your marketing strategy?

You can take the initial step by booking a call with one of our experts. We can share our recommendations on how our cutting-edge marketing packages can help you take your promotional efforts to the next level. 

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