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The 5 Costliest Errors of Online Marketing for Small Businesses

Online marketing is a great way for small businesses to find new customers and to build their brand. It’s also an easy way to waste time and money on marketing campaigns that make little or no money. Just ask the business owner who spent $10k on professional website development but seeing no traffic and no conversions.

As an online marketing company, we’ve witnessed some of the costliest mistakes made by small business owners. Thankfully, all of them make the same basic mistakes. So once you know these common mistakes, you can adroitly navigate the minefield of online marketing without having your marketing budget blown to smithereens...

Error #1: Building without Promoting

 “If you build it, they will come.”

There was a day when this was true. It was the most glorious truth in online marketing. Today, the truth is a little more “Zen:”

“If you build it, it will be built.”

Building a website is like building a storefront out in the middle of the woods, hundreds of miles from civilization. No matter how much money you invest in the structure and design, you won’t get traffic unless you invest in attracting traffic. So if you want traffic and sales, you’ll need to invest in your website after it’s been built.

Remember this when you hire a web design company and don’t blow your entire online marketing budget on web design.

Error #2: Giving up too Soon

The internet used to be the land of instant marketing gratification. Today, it’s way too competitive.

Even if you invest in traffic and content or PPC marketing, you probably won’t see results right away. Even PPC campaigns needs to be optimized before they become profitable. Of course, most small business owners are afraid of dumping money into things which don’t produce results, and with good reason.

But you should never let impatience sabotage your long term marketing success. It takes time to build a successful online presence; just as it took you time to build a successful offline presence. So don’t pull the plug too early when you don’t see instant results.

Error #3: Not Building a Social Presence

If you’re not building a social presence, you’re already slipping into the black hole. Social Media is taking over the internet marketplace and overshadowing traditional SEO (link building etc). A social presence isn’t just building a company Facebook page, a Twitter account and a Youtube channel either. Those are simply online properties (much like the store out in the woods).

Social presence is having followers who are engaged in conversations with you, your company and your content. Have a look at your Facebook page, your Twitter account, your list of Youtube subscribers, your online reviews and your presence in forums related to your niche.

Are people talking about your brand, your product or your service? If they’re not, it’s time to get them talking because Social Media marketing is only going to get bigger and more influential in the online marketplace.

Error #4: Not Being Consistent

Trends come and go on the internet. Many small business owners hear about these trends and respond at random, trying a few things here, a few things there…but with no overarching strategy, no bigger picture.

When they don’t see instant results, they quit and move on to something else or go back to what was working before. This can burn up time, money and energy and it can keep your business stuck. Before building a new company page on a social media site, redesigning your website or taking a stab at a new online marketing channel, ask yourself what your overall strategy is.

How will this new campaign fit into that strategy?

Will it be a campaign to collect leads, to make sales or to generate repeat business and referrals?

A strategy will protect you from the “bright shiny object” syndrome that lures so many small businesses into the tumultuous sea of online marketing errors. It will also help you decide what trends to follow and which to ignore and encourage consistency.

Error #5: Focusing on Income but Not Equity

Income is great, it keeps you in business. But income doesn’t create growth.

Equity creates growth.

Equity is anything which helps your company attract new business and to bring in profits on a continuous basis. How do you know if you’re building equity? Just look at what happens to your blood pressure when business gets slow (around Christmas or summer time depending on your industry).

If it goes up, you’re focusing too much on income and not enough on equity. Some examples of online equity are:

1.Positive reviews on influential review sites. This helps you make new sales and get higher search engine rankings.

2.Virtual Infrastructure. Custom built software applications which allow you to virtualize your IT infrastructure and which you can “rent” out to other business owners in your niche.

3.Real Estate. Authoritative websites and social media pages which have lots of rich content, good social interaction and high search engine rankings.  

How many of these are you using to create equity and growth for your business? If the answer is any less than three, you’re missing a lot of opportunity, and it’s time to make some adjustments.

So how many of these five errors are holding your business back? Even if you’ve overcome four out of five, it only takes one to make a dent in your online marketing success. Why not call us for a free consultation? You’ve got nothing to lose by talking to an expert, but you’ve got a lot to lose by doing nothing. 

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