Start small, learn as you go and create a community
Online marketing has become a must-do for businesses, yet many companies are making errors that are holding back their growth and giving the edge to their competitors.
Most businesses now have websites and at least a basic social media presence, but they often don’t use these tools effectively, resulting in a poor return on investment and frustration for busy entrepreneurs.
The good news: It’s never been easier to create a web presence with free and low-cost services that require no programming know-how. Easy-to-create social media pages have also made it simpler to get online.
BDC’s team of experts, who advise businesses on all aspects of marketing and sales, identified the following four errors entrepreneurs make when building their online marketing presence.
1. Trying to do it all at once
Many entrepreneurs want to make a big splash with a costly website and a full-fledged social media presence. They watch as their projects get bogged down with a million details and problems while their competitors speed ahead. The result is lost time and money.
You’re better to get a fast start with simple scalable tools. Then, you can make steady progress, building and improving your presence as you learn what works for your business.
2. Focusing too much on design
Many entrepreneurs (and web designers) become entranced by beautiful web design. While it’s important to have an attractive, well-branded site, the words are just as important as the look, if not more so.
Your webpages should clearly and succinctly communicate what your company offers and why you’re the best choice in your category. Besides product descriptions that jump off the page, you want compelling calls to action (e.g., Download now) and your contact information displayed on every page.
3. Failing to create a community
One of the most important goals for your online marketing should be to foster a community with your business at its centre. The best way to do this is by offering value-added content that helps, amuses and challenges your audience. Yet, many companies alienate their audience by constantly pushing hard-sell marketing messages at them.
A better choice is to position yourself as an expert in your field, offering how-to articles, eBooks, infographics and informative videos. Visitors are more likely to share this kind of content with their social media followers and ideally become advocates for your company.
4. Setting it and forgetting it
Lots of businesses get distracted and drop the ball on their online marketing. Their efforts are sporadic and they don’t use analytics tools to track their results and improve over time.
The real beauty of the Internet, Dindayal says, is you get immediate feedback on where your visitors are coming from and how they are navigating your website and reacting to your content.
The data lets you easily test the performance of different site designs, content and promotional campaigns to see what attracts the most visitors, gets shared and leads to the most sign-ups or sales.
A continuous cycle of improvement
The way to make the most of your online investments is to get going, measure your results, make improvements and repeat in a continuous cycle of improvement.