Have you noticed that using online marketing is no longer optional for most businesses. whether they are offline or online focused, local or global in their scope of operations? This has never been more true than it is right now in 2016!
A majority of shoppers today are quite savy, they will seek out information and look at reviews online before they make any purchase. It is so available and easy, it has become routine.
In that light. they expect that the businesses they want to frequent will maintain an online presence, and in this day and age they will probably seek out alternatives if they don’t find what they expect.
Whether you sell your own products or services, or you sell others’ as an affiliate, you have to pay attention to what is effective in the market to reach your viewers and provide them with information that is useful in providing solutions for their problems or needs.
So with the start of the new year, after all the celebrations are over, and your focus returns to the business at hand, YOUR business, let’s take a look at five online marketing mistakes killing your business that you MUST avoid in 2016 if you want your business to survive and thrive.
MAJOR MISTAKES AND HOW TO FIX
Mistake #1: Remaining ‘Mobile-Unfriendly’
As of 2015, more internet users access the internet and their favorite websites using mobile devices than using desktop or laptop computers.
Pew Research has a post that they update regularly that details the changes in our internet use habits via mobile here that is quite interesting and backs this finding up:
===> MOBILE AND INTERNET USE <====
This sea change has major ramifications for your business and marketing program…
You simply can no longer afford to ignore mobile marketing as a way of getting the word out about your business. Mobile users also spend more time online than people who use computers. They will more likely than not WANT to access your service/product using a mobile device!
Mobile advertising is a concern in this current state of affiars, and thankfully it is still a bargain compared to other options out there, and as we have seen, the reach can be significant. You can use several different tactics, but the important thing is to plan for one/several and take action!
For your supporting web site, this means you need to check to make sure it is accessible and friendly to mobile users. If you have not migrated or added plugins for adding a mobile-adaptive option to you site, you need to fix this immediately.
What I mean by this is that when your site is viewed in ANY device it will automatically adapt to the device. This means that any user, using any device, will have presented an easy-to-use version of your site.
Using such plugins or switching to a mobile friendly theme your site will appear properly on their screens and any necessary changes in formatting will happen automatically so it appears in the best manner for the viewer.
In the old days, not so long ago, it was common for websites to have a separate mobile site, generally indicated by the letter “M” before the site name. That has changed, and ALL sites need to have this capability, or risk lower results when prospects do searches.
This is just one way to address mobile considerations. You likely should actively set up a lead capture capability – remember the swing towards mobile use for surfing and searches, and you can use mobile numbers you collect in your marketing campaigns.
Here is just one example: “Text messages are still inexpensive to send, and they tend to have a far higher open rate (close to 99%) than traditional emails.” Yes, you read that right. SMS’ (short message service) can be a GREAT way for your to engage with your local customers, offer them specials, and get them to visit your business.
Mistake #2: Your “My Business” Page Remains Unclaimed
Did you know that ‘Google My Business’ has replaced ‘Google Local?’ If you haven’t logged in or claimed your page already, you are making a BIG mistake.
This is easily fixed, you can correct this by logging in to your Google+ account, or by creating one for your business if you don’t have one, and then claim it.
Here is a tutorial to help you if you need it:
===> CLAIM YOUR GOOGLE MY BUSINESS SITE <===
This is not the end of the task however. Once you have claimed your page, you should take a few minutes to add in a profile picture, a short description of who you are/your business, and add in a link to your website.
If you are a local business, it would be a good idea to include further basic information about who you are and what you offer…i.e. your menu, the prices, your hours of operation, etc.
While you are there, also check to make sure that your address and phone number are accurate, and since you are going through all this effort, add in important keywords on the site as possible, thereby reaping the SEO benefits.
When you claim your page and do the bit of work mentioned above, you help local customers find you online…and the local Google search ranking boost you get will help as well.
HINT: You should also make a little time to claim your page on other online review sites such as Yelp and Angie’s List. Check to see if there are popular local directories that are in use as well – you likely can do the same on such sites.
Overall, you are taking action to make sure that your presence is noticable and accurate for these various mediums. This cannot help but increase the positive presence you have online or your customers/potential customers.
Mistake #3: You Do Not Respond To Negative Reviews
Since we are discussing mistakes to avoid and online review sites we need to edit/check above, it provides a natural segway to the third mistake on our list…
Did you know that sites like Yelp, Angie’s List, Google My Business, and others, offer an easy way for consumers to leave reviews of local businesses?
And leave them they do…
Why should you care? Here’s why: Recent studies show that an ever larger percentage of consumers – currently it stands at upwards of 80% — will read online reviews prior to making a purchase.
Of course we all love to get positive reviews, and these we can respond to…But what about the negative comments? It is HOW you respond to any negative ones that can really set your business apart from the competition.
If you do NOT track and take action to make every negative review a positive, to show customers that you DO care about them, you are making a HUGE mistake.
So how do we do this?
Here’s how: Start by claiming your page(s) on such review sites. Then you must monitor those pages and respond quickly to all reviews, good and bad. If they are bad, follow up and make your corrective action turn that negative into a positive.
You can certainly delegate responsibility for trackig to a third party, even the handling of responses possibly if you are too busy. If you do this, make sure your choice is someone who knows how to respond to negative reviews properly, You do not want to sound defensive or angry to the reviewer, you want to fix their problem.
You must remember that other customers will be able to see your response, this is not some verbal thing that disappears when the moment passes. No, this is something that will be there, forever maybe.
It is not all bad though…Because this is free marketing concept, and designed as an added customer service, you can easily make the most of it. The keys are: Be courteous always, genuinely grateful for the feedback provided, and of course you have to address whatever issues that may have been raised in a timely and respectful manner.
If you are interested in learning more, have a look here:
===> REPUTATION MANAGEMENT <===
Mistake #4: You Do Not Engage With Customers Nor Do You Promote Your Business on Social Media
If you thought that not responding to any negative reviews is important and a mistake, this is yet one more mistake that is a HUGE one. Today people interact on a regular basis using the various social mediums.
It is equally vital therefore, for your business health and wealth, to maintain an active social media presence and engage with your customers on these platforms. You can instantly respond to anything negative, you can build rapport with current and new clients, and do marketing using this organic source of traffic.
Yet, despite statistics pointing to the overwhelming popularity of the varous social media platforms, there are a surprising number of companies that simply are not using them to the business’s best advantage.
Certainly with the increasing number of platforms out there, likely you cannot keep up with them all. So yes, you don’t need to be on every social media site…But picking the right ones to focus on and be active in is essential.
It is a fact that Facebook is still the largest social media site and it is a super platform for businesses who want to market directly to consumers. You should have a presence there.
If your business involves selling to other businesses, marketing, through LinkedIn is essential, it is the gold standard. This platform is considerably smaller than Facebook, yet it is extremely effective and deserving of its top level ranking…You are targeting other businesses, not everyman…
For businesses who sell inspirational products, ones that lend themselves well to photography or similar would be remiss if they ignored the benefits of setting up a Pinterest account. there are lots of people use this medium regularly, and it offers a great way to get your name and products in front of people that are buyers…
OK if all this seems like too much of an effort, I suggest that you minimally monitor some of your competitors on social media, see what they are posting, and if they are successful, emulate their efforts as possible.
I also have posted some articles here on the site that may be helpful for you to read/review, here is one:
===> SOCIAL MEDIA <===
A good way to attack this would be sharing a mix of original content you create and of curated content that your potential or current clients would have an interest in. You can find content by following relevant publications and pages for your business and share such posts.
Mistake #5: You Are Still Not Using Paid Advertising
Although there are so many ways nowadays to market your business online for free, it doesn’t mean you should ignore paid advertising.
Because of the many options on the paid side of online marketing, it can be quite confusing, and may business owners choose to ignore this potential growth opportunity for their business.
As opposed to what you might think, online advertising does not have to be expensive…As a matter of fact, it tends to be relatively inexpensive in lots of cases, and it is flexible – Most offer options allowing you to budget for ads that won’t break the budget.
The first of many options you may want to consider is ‘pay-per-click’ (PPC) advertising . This is offered on the search engines like Google and Bing.
In these instances, you bid on selected keywords. With Google AdWords, you have some tools to help: Their Keyword Finder can find potential keywords that are effective, and will give you an ideas what such keywords will cost per click.
When your have outbid your competitor as far as what you are willing to pay, the ads appear, and you will be billed – the bid you make is based on your analyzing a combination of the keyword’s popularity and your chosen website’s authority.
Chosen ads appear either at the top of a list of search results or on the right margin of the page.
There is more…Social media advertising can be an excellent and affordable choice for paid ads. The cost for these is low, and the payback can be considerable. For instance Facebook offers options that will allow you to attract new visitors to your Facebook page or website.
In addition, you can choose to boost an individual post you may make so it displays to your followers and their friends…Or you may choose to target selected members using demographics that you select so the audience is targeted and your results are better.
Facebook is a good choice because it allows a daily budget to be set, and that can be as low as one dollar. They will provide regular updates via email, and this makes it very easy to track your results.
If you want to drill own even more, you can also choose to use customer psychographics – by this we are taking about things like member interests, their hobbies, perhaps any political affiliations, and many more indicators – when you select your ad campaigns…This results in even more targeted viewers of your ads.
The other social media sites such as Twitter offer similar options, so as you can see, you have lots of choices. Not to get involved right now if you are still not is a mistake. The competition is involved, you can believe that.
I have a useful article here that may provide more information you can use as well if need, please feel free to check it out:
===> How to Use PPC <===
===> How to Use PPC Section 2 <===
Now that we have covered these 5 online mistakes that are killing your business in 2016, it is time that you take action.
When you do, you will see impact of your action within a short period of time. Increased leads and business, and profits will result.
Best of luck to all in this new year! Let’s get busy! Push that “action” button NOW and get busy!