You’re Doing It Wrong: 9 Ways You’re Probably Messing Up Your Online Marketing

Online marketing is the future for most small businesses.

It’s integral to get the word out to as many people as possible for as low a cost as possible.

Doing that through the internet is your best option.

But why isn’t it working for many small businesses?

The answer is simple: they’re doing something wrong.

Let’s look at the 9 most common ways small businesses mess up their online marketing.

Online Marketing Isn’t Limited To These Mistakes

Truth be told, there are a lot more than 9 mistakes in online marketing.

Many of them are more advanced and less common, though.

Sure, it’s possible a company might be doing none of these but have some major mistake that’s less common.

However, I’m not sure a ton of information about a mistake that few businesses make would help.

These 9 mistakes are common, though.

Learning what they are and what to do about them is worth your time.

Selling Instead Of Educating

Small business owners everywhere are in constant sales mode.

Most of us have to close a sale every chance we get to stay in business.

But when it comes to online marketing, that tactic simply doesn’t work.

We live in a world with DVRs and streaming TV where people will pay extra to not have to sit through a commercial.

They avoid being sold to whenever they can.

If your online marketing tactic is “sell, sell, sell,” you’ll lose your audience.

Losing your audience is the opposite of the result you’re looking for.

Marketing is about drawing people in.

The best way to do that online is through education.

Your marketing content should focus on providing your audience with information about what you do and what you offer.

It should teach them about the ways they can do something about the pain points your services address.

When you focus on educating your audience, you build trust.

And trust is what will eventually lead to them becoming your customer.

Even if they don’t become your customer, they’ll have good things to say about your company.

Ultimately, educating your audience turns them into brand evangelists.

These people are the ones who bring you word-of-mouth referrals, which are the best kinds of new clients.

They’re easier to close and spend more over the long term.

That’s what creates the kind of growth marketing is supposed to provide.

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Inconsistency

For most small business owners, time is precious.

When you decide to take on your own marketing, you discover how time-consuming it is.

And that tends to lead to a big problem.

Consistently finding the time is difficult.

Most of us start out strong, offering marketing content on social media daily and blogs weekly.

Our online marketing game is strong.

But as the pressure builds to produce content, we start to slack.

The consistency goes out the window.

It hurts our engagement.

People stop seeing our content.

They never get the chance to like and trust our company.

Which is what hurts us the most.

By our inability to invest consistent time, we inevitably free more time for ourselves as we fail to earn new leads.

It’s important to find ways to stay consistent with our marketing content.

If you can’t afford the time, it might be worth it to afford an agency.

It sounds scary and expensive, but it might be worth it to gain additional leads and sales.

Should an agency not be in the budget, you’ll have to consider how to find more time.

Additional, new leads are far too important to your business not to find ways to earn them.

Consistency is going to lead to the growth you need.

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Using The Wrong Social Channels Or None At All

Social media is a key bit of modern marketing.

It’s the gateway to the internet for most people, more than search engines now.

Most people start there to get their news, entertainment, and find out what their family and friends are up to.

And to enjoy memes.

The mistake comes when small business owners don’t take advantage of the social channels that support their brand.

They place their brand on Facebook when they sell to children, or they focus on Snapchat as an industrial B2B business.

Or, worse, they don’t use social media.

A sentiment that their customers aren’t on social media.

This failure can kill your marketing efforts.

Your audience is on many social channels.

For starters, everyone needs a Facebook page.

Regardless of who you sell to.

You also ought to make an effort on Instagram, as the platform’s popularity makes it incredibly valuable.

Then discover the platforms your audience is using.

B2B companies should be on LinkedIn creating daily content.

Those who sell to children and young teens should be on TikTok.

I think you’re getting the point.

Social media can’t be ignored, and it has to be done right.

Without it, you can kiss great results and new leads goodbye.

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Not Making Video Content

Video is a huge benefit to online marketing.

It can increase conversions by 80% in some cases.

And it needs to be a major part of your online marketing.

But most small business owners aren’t making it.

That’s a huge mistake.

There are a ton of reasons they don’t.

Mostly, like the problem with consistency, it takes time.

You also might be concerned with quality, since you’re not likely a professional videographer or editor.

With concerns like this, most simply bow out of video production.

To remove it from your strategy, however, is an online marketing mistake you ought not to make.

Video content is engaging, with millions of videos consumed on YouTube every day.

No form of content connects with more people, either, as video caters to audio and visual learners.

When you can capture your audience’s attention quickly through video, they’re more likely to stick around for more of the content.

Your message is getting through better.

Producing a video is much easier than you’d imagine, as well.

While most perceive it to require fancy cameras and expensive equipment, nearly everyone has a complete studio in their pocket.

I’m talking about your cell phone.

Unless you have something manufactured pre-2017, your phone should contain all the right features to make great videos possible.

With a great source of natural light, like a window, you have everything you need to make your videos awesome.

Then you can start earning the attention your brand needs to grow.

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Lack Of Marketing Automation

I think I’ve mentioned the limited time you have as a small business owner.

With so many elements to online marketing, you can’t possibly handle them all.

However, what if there were a way to get some of it done without having to be in front of your computer to make it happen?

What if it could happen even when you were asleep?

Marketing automation can help you do the most routine, mundane parts of your online marketing so you can put your efforts elsewhere.

Automation is a simple premise.

When your website visitors perform certain actions, they trigger a response in your CRM system.

Those responses may vary from tagging their lead profile with new information to triggering a series of emails to send in timed succession.

Every automated action is designed to help you turn that lead into a client.

But think about it; you can’t be there 24 hours a day to add tags to your leads’ profiles, can you?

No, that would be silly.

And what about the idea of paying a team to do it (it would take at least three people without overtime)?

An expense that doesn’t make sense.

Not when you can add software to your system that will handle it for you.

By backing your online marketing with software that improves your odds at a sale, you can simplify the process of growing your business.

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No Blog

If I haven’t made clear that blogs are important to online marketing yet, I’ll say it outright.

Blogs are imperative to your online marketing.

They’re responsible for your SEO, website traffic, lead nurturing, and the trust you build with your audience.

As one of three formats of long-form content, blogs are the only one that can’t be optional.

In some form, you need to produce one.

Many small business owners, however, still don’t understand the purpose of a blog.

Writings like this are often thought to be akin to an online diary.

Something only teenagers participate in.

However, blogs have been a part of mainstream culture for years now, whether you realize it or not.

It’s likely you read at least one blog article every day, using them to educate and inform yourself.

But you don’t call them “blog articles”.

You call them “the news”.

News media sites are all blogs.

Most of them run on platforms like the ones you might use if you had a blog platform included on your site.

If you’re reading them, so is your target audience.

To get their attention, you need to produce regular blog articles.

Somewhere between weekly and daily, produce a blog article that educates your audience on any one aspect of your industry, your company, your products, or the pain points you address.

By delivering the information your audience is looking for, you attract them to your company.

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Haven’t Started Podcasting

Podcasts are a great medium to attract attention.

They’re relatively low competition, they’re easy for an audience to consume without restrictions, and they allow you to create micro content from them much easier.

What do I mean?

Let’s address all three.

To start, most small businesses aren’t podcasting yet, but they’re learning how to.

That means the competition in that space isn’t high, especially among a single given industry.

With 73 million Americans listening to podcasts, that makes a huge opportunity to reach them.

Which brings me to the next point.

Your audience is nearly unrestricted in listening to your podcast.

Because audio content can be consumed while the listener performs other activities, that makes more time for them to consume your content.

Most consume at least 80% of the podcast, and over many complete it entirely.

Their trust in your brand skyrockets.

But what about the microcontent?

As you record your podcast, you have a chance to make interesting video content.

Record yourself recording your podcast and cut the clips together, then post the resulting video on YouTube.

Once you’ve done that, expand on the content you covered in your podcast in written form and publish it as your blog.

Now you have three long-form content formats covered.

From there, break down those long-form formats into bits and pieces appropriate for the different media channels you’ll be sharing to.

Link them back to your podcast, video, and blog articles as it makes sense.

Sit back and watch the traffic and leads roll in.

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Don’t Engage Your Audience

Comments and other forms of audience engagement are your friends.

They’re additional ways that you can build relationships with your audience.

You can get valuable feedback there.

But it’s the opportunity to engage back that serves your brand most.

The problem is that many small business owners fail to respond to audience feedback and commentary.

Hundreds to thousands of comments go ignored, which isn’t good for reputation.

Audiences don’t want to be ignored if they’ve taken the time to give you feedback.

People want to know they’re being heard.

Rationally, the only way to handle that is to respond to them.

Engage with your audience whenever they take the time to comment on your content.

Show them you value what they have to say and that you’re always listening for their thoughts.

Build relationships through real conversation.

Those relationships and the trust that comes with them are what build your brand’s reputation the most.

And it’s a reputation that earns clients.

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Failure To Market At All

If you’re not aware that marketing is essential to survival as a small business, I want to correct that now.

Failure to market your brand and company is a failure to earn new customers.

Without new customers, you can’t grow, and anything that isn’t growing is dying.

Your business’ life and death depend on marketing it, especially online.

However, when many small businesses can’t find the time and don’t want to spend the money, they find themselves cutting marketing.

This fatal mistake will assure that your brand doesn’t survive.

No matter what, you must find a way to keep your marketing alive.

Find the time or get comfortable with a marketing budget line.

These aren’t an expense.

Marketing is an investment – a major one – into the future and growth of your brand.

Hard work and great customer service aren’t enough on their own.

While they are essential, they won’t go far if people don’t know your company exists.

That’s what marketing’s number one purpose is.

To make your target market aware of your brand and products.

Coupled with great educational content, your brand builds a reputation that people love.

When people love your reputation, that’s when they become your clients, and your company grows.

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Don’t Make Foolish Online Marketing Mistakes

The only foolish mistake is one you know how to avoid.

Now that you thoroughly understand these online marketing mistakes, you need to avoid them.

Building your business requires you bring in new customers, and hitting these points the right way will make all the difference.

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About the author:

Michael McNew
Web developer, marketing innovator, technology enthusiast, and founder of Visceral Concepts, Michael McNew has developed a passion for delivering value to small business, turning his creativity towards image and reputation building for small business owners.