Part 1: How to Avoid 10 of the Most Common Internet Marketing Mistakes That Could Seriously Harm Your Businesses

Times have changed. The new frontier for marketing is no longer traditional media of print and television. More and more small businesses are now taking their business online because that is where their customers are.

Although it presents some new challenges, it also has huge advantages for small local businesses because compared to traditional marketing, the barrier to entry online is very small. That is why so many start-up business take this route as it is much more cost-effective and they can easily reach their target audience.

As a business owner, there are many different strategies that you can follow for a successful online marketing campaign depending on your niche, budget, and time frame but there are some fundamentals that you need to follow.

Marketing is all about creativity and figuring out new and exciting ways to get your message across. This is article will help you avoid the most common and typical mistakes people make.

Internet Marketing is constantly evolving but the basic principles of marketing stay the same. The only difference is that the internet has provided such a different channel in which your company can express itself that sometimes requires a whole new learning curve.

There are 10 basic mistakes that all small businesses need to avoid. Some may seem obvious but that doesn’t necessarily mean that people are avoiding them, so let’s start with number 1:

 

Mistake #1: Having no vision and mission

Most major companies have a mission and vision statement. It clearly states the goal of the company. For example, there is this one from Apple Computers “Apple is committed to bringing the best personal computing experience to students, educators, creative professionals and consumers around the world through its innovative hardware, software and Internet offerings.” Apple’s innovations such as the IPhone and IPAD make use of this particular statement as the driving force behind their success.

Even though your small company isn’t nearly the size of Apple, you have to remember that even Apple was just a small operation in Steve Job’s garage at some point in time. It is never too early to have a strong mission and vision statement. Your business needs to have a strong foundation in order to grow.

Perhaps you are wondering what this has to do with your online strategy and marketing. Well if you have got a clear vision of your business from the outset, it sets the right foundation for you to build your business on. If you don’t have this then you will have a very hard time fixing the next 11 mistakes which will only harm your online success.

 

Mistake #2: Not understanding SEO

What is SEO? SEO stands for ‘search engine optimization’ and is a crazy arms race between the website owner and the search engine algorithms. The SEO’s goal is to ensure that you rank highly in the search engines when users search for your particular product or service. It takes a lot of knowledge and expertise to keep up to date with what the search engines are looking for from website owners. So should you just ignore the whole problem and not care about SEO at all? Definitely not. That would be a disaster!

SEO is all about optimizing your website. What does this mean for your website? The SEO will optimize your website so that when the search engine web crawlers come along and search your website they will do so on a perfectly optimized site and reward your by ranking you highly in the search engines so that your potential customers can find you.

So you can see how important SEO is and why your business needs to invest in it. Consider how much more traffic and sales you can generate if you feature on the first page of the search engines on your chosen key word. Googling something is almost second nature and the average person will only take a look at the first few links. So not investing in a SEO expert is a mistake that your business can ill afford.

Mistake #3: Not blogging about your business

You might be thinking, “Well I already have a website so why do I need to blog about my product or service?” It’s a good question and here is the answer why: Blogs are an extension of an individuals or companies influence on-line and can have a huge impact on the success or downfall of a product or brand. Some blogs literally can make and break products because of their reviews. Blogs like Perez Hilton and Huffington Post have made internet celebrities out of their creators so don’t underestimate the power of the blog.

When someone is looking for what’s in and what’s not in fashion they read the fashion blog. When people want to know where the new hot destination is they read a travel blog. If they want to see what the hottest new mobile phone is they read a tech blog. In fact, they probably look at your website first than when they see a product they like they look at the blogs to see the reviews.

So you need to get your voice heard. You need to be the advocate and push the message you want out to everyone. One of the best platforms to tell people about your product is through your blog. In the blog you can become one of the influencers out there.

 

However, make sure you do a few things first: make sure that your blog is hosted on the same site as your domain. That way your visitors will know it is an official blog. If you are blogging about a certain niche like technology for instance, you cannot sound like one big advertisement pushing your products. What you need to do is spend time writing about things that people want to hear about. Your content needs to be informative and engaging.

You also need to interact with your bloggers. So when they comment make sure that you respond to them. That means that you need to respond to both negative and positive comments. This will show potential clients that you care about your product and those who are buying from you.

 

Mistake #4: Not being social enough

Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and Google + are all social networks and are great places to do your marketing. Some businesses who don’t understand the importance of social media feel that Social Networks are a waste of company time. In fact, when they think of social media they are thinking of ways to block it and increase worker productivity. Don’t make the same mistake. What you can do is tap into social media to rapidly expand your internet footprint without spending too much money.

It’s vitally important for your business to invest in good social marketing as they can drive a lot of traffic to your site. Some of the more savvy companies have even started to address their customer service concerns on social media sites.

Creating an online community where people who enjoy your product can come together is also a big win. Creating fan pages, linked in accounts or even tweeting on a regular basis shows that you are connected to your customers and followers and tells them that you are hip and modern company who cares about them.

The best part about social media marketing is that it is mostly free. None of the major social media sites will charge you to create a site even if it is commercial in nature. You can also build your profile quickly with a minimum of investment and even use graphics that you have already created for your website.

Social media marketing needs to be consistent so you either need to invest in staff or outsource the work to get somebody to monitor your social media or do it yourself which can be time consuming if you also run a business offline business too. Once you are involved in social media you cannot really just leave it alone like a static website.

If you do put a member of staff in charge of your social media accounts you will need to ensure that they are up to date with the new developments in the company as this where people will often go looking for news. Consider creating a corporate communications function and depending on the size of your company make it a department or a single person.

Often you have to address concerns on the social media sites and it is also a good place to check on feedback for your company. So learn to use social media to gauge where you are in the market and what people really think about your company.

 

Social media along with mobile marketing is incredibly valuable to your business so it is not something that you can afford to ignore and it will have a significant impact on your company profits.

 

Mistake #5: Not cross promoting with other sites

Once you have built up a reputation for yourself, you should really take a look at into cross posting or guest authoring with another blog with a similar related product. Remember that your reputation is a resource and that cross pollinating ideas is a good way to grow your network and get new customers.

 

Sites that may not be your direct competitor but is in the same industry would be a good target. Also review sites or blogs that might be on your area of expertise might also be a good option. But whatever the case it’s important that you utilize this opportunity as much as possible.

 

One thing that this helps develop is name recognition not only of your product but also of yourself. It lets people know you are an authority in your field and gives them confidence in your and your product. So you should always consider your knowledge as a resource and make sure that you share it with as many people as possible.

 

Another benefit is that you can link back to your site which also increases the relevance and reputation of your site especially if the site that linked to you is older or more established than your website.

 

The downside to this is that you actually have to be a pretty good writer and write about relevant things that will interest your target audience. So you can’t just pump out a 250 word article that just summarizes other articles. Most reputable site wouldn’t take them and those that do will give very little benefit to your marketing strategy. It might even have a negative effect and should be avoided.

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