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6 common online marketing mistakes and how to avoid them

By Will Stevens - July 31, 2017

If you’ve launched an online business, then you’ll need to market it. There are plenty of ways to do this – from search engine optimisation (SEO) to social media adverts. And there are also plenty of ways to get things wrong.

In this article, we’ll be looking at some common online marketing mistakes, how to avoid them, and what to do instead.

1 Not measuring your marketing

This is one of the most basic online marketing errors there is, but it’s surprisingly common.

The bottom line is; if you’re not measuring your online marketing efforts, then you’re wasting your time and your money.

Why? Well, say for example you spend £1,000 on pay-per-click (PPC) marketing one month and see an increase in sales.

You decide to double your PPC spend the following month. But for some reason, your sales drop back to the level they were before you started spending money on PPC.

What’s happened? Well, if you’re not measuring your marketing results, then you can’t possibly know.

It could be that an article in a local newspaper was the driving factor behind your new sales, and the fact that the increase happened at the same time as you started spending on PPC was just a coincidence.

Unless you’re monitoring how your marketing (and your website as a whole) performs, then you’re never going to understand what’s driving people to your website.

And if you don’t understand that, the chances are you’re going to waste money.

So install Google Analytics on your site, and get to grips with it. You can learn more about using Google  Analytics in this free training course.

2 Untargeted marketing

Who’s going to buy your product or service? If you’ve answered that question with “everyone” then you’re probably going to struggle with your online marketing.

Why? Well, think about how many products or services you’ve brought that were truly suitable for everyone.

Nothing is suitable for everyone, so if you’re just aiming to get as many eyeballs as possible on your website, then your marketing is going to be inefficient at best.

Instead, take some time to work out who’s going to buy your product/service and then work on ways that you can effectively target these people.

This is called persona marketing, and it’s a really effective way of doing things, because it allows you to ensure your marketing is focused on the people who will be most receptive to it.

You can learn more about persona marketing here. It’s a great way to ensure the time and money you spend on marketing is targeted at the people who are most likely to buy from you.

3 Buying links

Have you ever been told that buying links is a shortcut to fantastic SEO results? There are hundreds of sites out there promising just that.

But if you were ever to take them up on their offer, not only would your site’s rankings not improve, but they would probably decrease and your business could be removed from Google altogether.

Why? Well, Google doesn’t like people trying to manipulate its search rankings, and so punishes websites that buy links.

So don’t be tempted by any SEO shortcuts. Doing SEO the right way might take a little while, but it’s worth it in the long run.

4 Putting all your eggs in one basket

Finding a marketing channel that works for you is great. What’s not so great is relying on one channel to generate all your income.

If you rely on just one marketing channel, you’re putting your business at risk. If something happens which means you can no longer attract customers via that channel, then all your revenue will vanish.

Now, having your main marketing channel cut off may sound unlikely, but it does happen.

For example, if you’re relying on Google sending you organic search traffic and you get a Google penalty, then your revenue will evaporate overnight.

If you’re attracting customers through PPC (either via AdWords, or social media ads) then there’s a chance that rivals could start targeting the same audience as you, and outbid you.

So diversify your marketing as much as you can.

It’s also a great idea to build up your own email marketing list. That way, you can attract people who have signed up back to your website without having to rely on a third-party website to generate traffic. You can learn more about getting started with email marketing here.

5 Outsourcing to the wrong people

Not everyone has the skills or the time needed to control every aspect of your business. One of the areas that often gets outsourced is online marketing.

That’s fine, as long as you put it in the hands of someone who knows what they’re doing.

If you outsource to the wrong people, your business and your reputation may suffer.

One of the biggest dangers is outsourcing your SEO to shady practitioners who take your money and then damage your Google search rankings.

Make sure you take the time to check out the credentials of any one you consider contracting to work on your marketing.

You can see our guide to outsourcing SEO in the right way here.

6 Not testing

You’ve got your online marketing the way you like it. There’s regular traffic coming to your site, and it’s converting reasonably well. So that’s that, right?

Wrong. Although the above situation is nice, there’s no such thing as perfect online marketing.

If you’re serious about growing your business, you should always be looking to improve the way you do your marketing, and that means running tests.

The idea behind marketing tests is simple – you take the way you’re currently doing things, change one aspect of it (for example, the colour of the “buy now” button on your sales page) and compare the two to see which works best.

By running tests you’ll be able to identify improvements that will make your marketing more efficient and boost your revenue.

You can learn more about running marketing tests in this free guide.

Summing up

Online marketing is full of pitfalls, and hopefully this guide will help you avoid some of the most common errors. But if you’re still struggling with a particular problem, then get in touch on Twitter @123reg and we’ll do our best to help.