entrepreneurship, online marketing

Seven Deadly Sins of Online Marketing

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Internet Marketing entails planning, brainstorming, and research — and then, weeks and months of followup, tracking, and analysis.  Your competition has turned the heat up online.  So, it’s time to roll up your sleeves and get to it!

We see too many firms commit the same sins, so here are ways for you to avoid them.

Sin #1

Not setting realistic goals, or not setting goals at all

Few firms have any idea as to what a Website can really do for their business. What are your expectations – for today? for next year? Will your site enhance your business operations?  Will it generate revenue for your business? The most important question is “Do you have the resources, in personnel, budgets, time, to grow this business?  If you can’t answer the questions, then you shouldn’t have one at all.

To avoid committing sin #1,

·        Understand your goals before you begin

·        Expect to work twice as hard, and for everything to take twice as long

Sin #2

Spending your budget only on site development

If you don’t have a significant annual marketing budget expect to wait much longer for results!

Too many companies are building amazing sites with every feature – including registration, customer tracking and personalization. Then they wait for people to find them and use their site.  You need a proactive approach to getting the flow of traffic from your audience online to your site.

To avoid committing sin #2,

·        split your budget equally between development and marketing

·        set a six-month to one-year Marketing Plan

Sin #3

Not doing enough Marketing

The elements of a Web marketing campaign require advanced planning. Marketing strategies are heavily based on the technologies incorporated on the site.

70% of sites are not even using meta tags. Of the other 30%, many sites are launched with the Programmer’s rendition of the company’s keywords. You must

Another part of this sin is considering search engine placement as the sole promotion of your site. You really have little control over this process and shouldn’t dwell on it.

To avoid committing Sin#3, you should:

·    build the marketing elements into your site (include researched meta tags, keyword-loaded pages and effective page titles)

·    build separate HTML pages for your key sections

·    check your search engine position monthly or quarterly

·    not avoid the labor-intensive work needed to get strong marketing results

Sin #4

Not waiting long enough for Marketing results to take effect

Most companies have a hard time creating, and maintaining, a long-term vision. They are unwilling to incorporate strategic linking and online partnerships that may take longer to show financial returns.

Companies expect fast returns, with minimal work. Grassroots, or guerrilla, marketing (especially linking and email) is 70% more effective in the long run than any other method, but it commands a long range plan.

To avoid committing sin #4,

·        put an extensive Link Program into place and spend time monitoring your links monthly

·        create a monthly Email Program to opt-in users

Sin #5

Branding without selling, selling without branding

Too many online commerce site owners are buying only per-click advertising.  On the surface, this seems like a safe way to bring in measurable visits.  But since in the CPM model of media buying the cost is fixed and the variable is the performance of the creative, the cost is directly related to the response rate.

Your campaign should contain elements of branding, direct response and e-commerce.  The focus should be on customer acquisition and ROI, rather than rates paid for visitors.

Many companies (or their media buyers) put all their advertising dollars into the most-visited Websites. This, too, is limiting, and completely misses the advantage of niche audience dynamics.

To avoid committing sin #5,

·    you must have a dual strategy of building brand recognition and stimulating action

·    test more, and be flexible to try a more varied marketing program

Sin#6

Not using direct mail and other traditional advertising programs offline

The traditional advertising world (using everything from billboards, bus ads, radio, television, print ads, postcards, and flyers) can draw traffic to the Web. Press releases sent out to trade publications can be incredibly effective. Many online companies are using newspaper ads, billboards, and radio to publicize their Websites.

To avoid committing sin #6,

·        don’t think of your online and offline efforts as independent of each other

·        track everything directly to your sales, traffic or responses

·        market to existing customers in their shipping packages for future purchases online

Sin #7

Lack of tracking and analysis

Many site owners are not consistently evaluating the sources that are sending site traffic.  Your site traffic reports contain data to analyze your traffic and where it is coming from.   You need to track the results in order to identify potential online partners, identify sites on which to advertise, and calculate the ROI effectiveness of your promotional efforts to conversion.

You should track specific ad or online campaigns, track email distribution response, and track banner campaign through individual bridge pages.

Another myth is that everything online is measurable.  The technology for calculable responses just isn’t available yet. There is still no industry standard on how to measure impressions. There is no tracking system for links, or print campaigns.

To avoid committing sin #7,

·        use your reports to follow up with sites already sending you traffic, and create a monthly manual marketing analysis system

·        extrapolate the results and apply them to your next plans

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