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Online marketing is an ever-evolving field. New websites, apps, and tools spring up every day. While online marketing is a must for any small business, the fact is that most small businesses aren’t doing a very good job with their online marketing. The chances are that you aren’t doing a great job either – in fact, your online marketing probably sucks.
Offended? Don’t be. Instead, read on to learn about the five biggest reasons your online marketing isn’t getting the job done – and specific steps you can take to remedy the mistakes you’re making.
Reason #1: You’re Not Optimizing Your Website Properly
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is complicated business. You might think that you have done everything you can to optimize your website, but I’m willing to bet that you haven’t. Here are some things you can do to change that:
- Pick the right keywords. A lot of small businesses try to optimize for head keywords. These are short, general keywords, and there tends to be a lot of competition for them. You should be aiming for medium-tail or long-tail keywords.
- Think about keywords in the right way. A keyword isn’t just a word – it’s a question. When a potential customer goes to Google and types in a keyword, he’s looking for information. He’s asking a question, even if he isn’t wording it like one.
- Don’t just include keywords in your content. Make sure to make use of H1 tags, image tags, and any other opportunity you have to use your keywords.
- Don’t overdo it with keywords. You need to use them, but the context in which you use them matters as much as the frequency.
Reason #2: You’re Not Analyzing Your Results
A lot of small businesses put up a website and use social media, but they never bother to look at how their marketing efforts are performing. There’s no excuse not to be reviewing that data. Google Analytics provides detailed information showing how people are getting to your site, whether it’s by clicking an ad, finding you on social media, or doing an organic search. Facebook provides detailed analytics too. Here’s what you should be doing:
- Look at your Google Analytics data to figure out which pages are attracting the most traffic and where people are bouncing (clicking away) from your website.
- Review your Facebook page performance and identify the types of content that get the most views and shares.
- Check the open rates and response rates for marketing emails to determine how well they are engaging customers.
Reason #3: You’re Not Testing and Refining Your Page Based on the Data
Reviewing the data from Google Analytics and other sources is important, but it won’t help you unless you do something with the data you collect. When you have information about how customers are finding your website, when they’re bouncing away from it, and how engaged they are with your email and social media posts, you can use it to improve your marketing campaigns. Here are some suggestions:
- If a page on your website has a high bounce rate, do some A/B testing to see if you can fix the problems customers are having.
- Make sure to test only one element at a time. For example, if you think your call to action is the problem, do a test to see how the old one performs against a new version.
- Revamp your social media strategy to increase customer engagement. If you see that photographs you post are getting a much higher engagement rate than written posts, you can increase the number of photographs you share. The same goes for checking out engagement based on days of the week or times of day.
- Rewrite and split test emails to improve your open and reply rates.
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Reason #4: You’re Not Creating Enough Content
In the early days of the internet, Bill Gates famously declared that “Content is king.” His statement was a remarkably prescient one. Today, creating great content is the core of any successful online marketing strategy – yet many small companies drop the ball on this very important task. You can get back on track by:
- Starting a blog. Blogging is still very popular, and it’s a great way to engage your customers on a regular basis. Each blog post should offer something of value to your customers, whether it’s a product explanation, some practical advice regarding a topic relevant to your industry, or a how-to video.
- Setting up – and sticking to – a social media schedule. Not all of the content you share has to be original. The important thing is that it is (a) relevant to your industry, (b) useful to your customers, and (c) entertaining. To find content, you can follow industry publications and related pages and share their content. Facebook has an automatic scheduling option for businesses, or you can use an online tool to manage all of your social activity at once.
- Set aside money in your budget to create videos. Videos are hugely popular and highly shareable, which makes them a great choice for any business.
Reason #5: You’re Not Engaging Customers
Having a Facebook page is great – as far as it goes. However, if your business is forgetting the “social” in social media, then you’re not getting the most out of your pages. Here are some tips that can help you increase customer engagement and loyalty:
- Make sure to monitor your page and reply to comments on a regular basis. Your comments don’t need to be long – sometimes a quick “Thank you” is fine. Customers like to feel that the brands they follow value their presence, and replying to comments is a good way to demonstrate that you do.
- Don’t overreact to negative comments and complaints. Sometimes customers take to social media to register a complaint about a product or service. Instead of getting defensive, be grateful for the opportunity to turn a customer’s experience around. Reply quickly and professionally. Other people will see the way you respond, and a courteous and useful response can help win you some new customers.
- Give customers a reason to comment. Asking customers to share stories about your product, or asking their opinions about something, is a great way to drive engagement and get customers involved. The more comments you get, the more likely it is that additional people will see your post.
Do these five mistakes sound familiar to you? I’m willing to bet that they do. The good news is that now you know about them, and you’re in the perfect position to revamp your online marketing so that it gets the results you want.