All to often, marketing takes a backseat to all the other day to day tasks that have to get done for the ship to stay afloat. It’s not that marketing isn’t important—it obviously is—but there are only so many hours in the day. Therefore, when deciding to market your business, it’s really scary to think about all the mistakes you might make along the way. While we don’t believe fear should stop you from acting, we do believe it’s at least a bit helpful to be aware of some of the common mistakes one makes when first embarking down the marketing path. So, here are 5 of them:
1) Not Having a Plan
When you think of what it means to market your business online, what comes to mind? The first thing is probably a website; then social media, like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and others; blogs, ads, directories… The list goes on and on.
Without a plan, it’s plain to see how messy things can get. And if you’re anything like me, when there are that many options, not having a plan makes the whole thing seem completely unrealistic. Not to mention how easily it can feel like a waste of time. After all, no one can make use of all of those online marketing channels themselves, so how do you know if you’ve picked the right ones or if you’re spending time on all the wrong social networks and sharing all the wrong content?
2) Believing There’s a Simple Solution
Businesses get calls every day from marketing companies who claim to have the secret to online success. For $300 a month, your business can start getting all the leads you’ve always been wanting.
Sound too good to be true? Well, that’s because it probably is.
Think about it… What could a marketing company possibly do for you for $300 that would actually generate leads? I honestly can’t think of anything that would actually work, unless a company was using every penny of the $300 and not using any of it for overhead. And even so, $300 on Google is nothing. Most of the least expensive ads have a cost per click price of around $2. The average conversion rate for ads (the rate at which one who clicks actually makes a call or submits a form) is 2.7%, meaning that at 150 clicks, you’re likely to generate around 4 phone calls or form submissions. And now it’s a question of whether or not they are qualified leads.
But the reality is that for $300, a marketing company that is advertising for you on Google is spending at least 30% of that on overhead and outsourcing your Google AdWords account setup to someone overseas who performs the same setup for everyone.
Unfortunately, in auditing many businesses over the years, I’ve seen this all too many times.
The fact of the matter is, online marketing has completely changed the game. People no longer want to be screamed at to buy your product. Now that all the information they could ever need is at their fingertips, when they are curious about a solution to their problem, they usually do some research on the internet. And the things they click on are the things they consider the most helpful in terms of educating them about their problem, the solution options, etc. While you may not be a candidate for traditional inbound marketing, there are definitely aspects of inbound marketing that you can apply to your business in order to begin generating leads. And contrary to what the snake oil salesman on the phone is telling you, there isn’t an easy way to do it.
That probably sounds a bit negative… It’s not meant to be. And it’s not meant to make you feel like marketing your business online is impossible to do yourself. It just takes time.
3) Thinking Design isn’t Important
On the one hand, it’s super easy to obsess over design. Chances are it’s not the fact that the buttons on your website are hunter green instead of forrest green that you’re not generating leads. On the other hand, knowing which color buttons perform better is possible with something called A/B testing, where one single variable is changed in order to test out which is more effective.
And unless you’ve been living under a rock (Where did that term come from? And who is flat enough to live there?), you are aware of the importance of websites that look beautiful on mobile devices and are easy to use.
In case you’re not convinced about how important good mobile design is, consider this: Over 80% of internet users own a smartphone, and about 50% of those users start their mobile research with a search engine. Because Google is going to begin prioritizing websites that have good mobile experiences, you better start taking design seriously—especially mobile website design, which is best-accomplished with responsive web design.
4) Not Making Use of an Email List
There are countless reasons to leverage your email list, but we can keep it fairly simple for now:
- Nurture potential clients
- Increase lifetime value of clients
- Delight clients and turn them into brand evangelists
Nurture Potential Clients
If you are fortunate enough to get the email address of someone who is early on in the buyer’s journey, you have the opportunity to send them valuable information via email. Be it links to helpful blog posts on your website, videos on your YouTube channel, or links to landing pages to download an ebook you’ve written on the subject matter they’re interested in, to pass up this opportunity is a great way to leave a lot of money on the table.
Increase Lifetime Value of Clients
How many times have you gotten an email from a company you purchased something from in the past and it led to your purchasing something again? If you think about it, you’ll realize it’s probably happened quite a bit. And all it takes is a well-timed email with a strong subject line, and viola! Next thing you know you’ve opened up the email and you’re calling to schedule an appointment or you’re ordering that product for yourself or a friend.
Delight Clients & Turn Them into Brand Evangelists
Making a customer happy by providing a good experience the first time they buy something or experience your service is fantastic. But who says that has to the end of the relationship? Closely related to the previous point regarding increasing the lifetime value of your clients, delighting them even after they’ve spent money with you is a way to get them to essentially work for you—becoming the type of person that champions your business by spreading the word. Send them interesting emails with information you know they’ll appreciate. These emails shouldn’t be sales emails; they should be pure value. For example, if you own a Plastic Surgery practice, you might send your past breast implant patients information on the hottest bras of the year or a list of 10 things everyone should be wearing to the beach this coming summer.
5) Not Blogging
If you aren’t blogging, you’re missing out on a huge opportunity to attract potential customers. If you remember the second mistake on this list, you’ll recall that it had to do with thinking there’s an easy solution to online marketing. When we said there wasn’t, what we meant was that you’ll have to do some work on your own (or hire someone to do it for you). A great place to start is with a blog.
Blogging allows you to publish helpful, valuable content that you can share across your social media channels, reaching those who might be interested in what you have to offer. Done well, blogging also increases the likelihood your website will be found in Google Search.
Think of it like this: When you type something into Google Search, what are you doing? You are essentially asking Google a question. For example, let’s say you type in ‘tummy tuck recovery.’ You are asking Google, “what is it like to recover from a tummy tuck procedure?” Because Google is in the business of answering people’s questions—and they do it better than all of the other search engines, which is why they dominate search—they will return the search results they believe to be the best. Which is why it’s important to create awesome blog content that answers people’s questions. If you do, Google could show yours as one of the first page results, especially if you have good SEO.