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Six online marketing mistakes that small business owners make every day

By Alexandra Gavril - April 5, 2018

If you’re a small business owner on a shoestring budget, chances are you’ve not hired any or many other professionals to assist you with marketing your business online. So you learn by doing. Sometimes you get great results, other times you make mistakes that lose you precious time and money.

Well, we’re here to help by letting you know the things that other businesses are doing wrong on a daily basis. This way you can learn from others’ mistakes and avoid making them yourself.

Let’s get started!

1. Thinking that having a mobile-friendly site is an option, not a requirement

You can safely assume that if your prospects have access to the internet, they have a smartphone. If they’re using it to check out your site, what will the find? A site that looks and works great on mobile, or a poorly functioning site that looks unprofessional and out of touch?

Here’s the thing: having a website that works on every device is no longer an option. It’s a requirement. Here’s why:

  • Almost 50% of web traffic is now on smartphones and tablets. (StatCounter)
  • 83% of consumers say a seamless experience across all devices is very important. (Salesforce)
  • 61% of users are unlikely to return to a mobile site they had trouble accessing and 40% visit a competitor’s site instead. (MicKinsey & Company)

Bottom line: no matter what business you’re in, whether you’re a plumber or you sell handmade candles, you need a mobile-friendly website. If you don’t have one already and you treat it as an afterthought, not only are you turning away potential customers, but you’re sending them straight to your competitors that provide a better mobile experience.

Read this article for advice on how to develop a mobile-friendly website. If you’re on a tight budget, you can always use our Website Builder platform to create a great mobile website with minimum effort. Find out more about the cool features and functionality that we’ve recently added to the Website Builder to help make your visitors’ experience on your site even more engaging and appealing.

2. Assuming you don’t need to blog

If you don’t need:

  • Your target audience to know you exist
  • More traffic to your site and more prospects finding your business at the top of the search results
  • People thinking you have the answers they’re looking for and the solutions to solve their problems
  • To be better, more helpful or more entertaining than your competitors…

Then, sure, you don’t need to blog.

But if you want all that and more, then not blogging is a huge mistake.

Whether you’re a plumber, an event planner or a web designer, blogging holds the key to growing your business online, so make sure you take advantage.

In these guides you’ll find some great tips and advice on how to get started:

If you want to dig deeper and learn how to use blogging to get prospects to find you online and give you their time and attention, then take our free unlimited access course on blog and content marketing.

3. Focusing too much on acquisition and too little on retention

No business can stay in business without customers. So it’s only normal that when you’re just starting out, you try your hardest and invest most of your budget into marketing your business and attracting more customers to your site.

But as your business starts to grow, if you keep spending your entire budget on customer acquisition, then you’re doing it wrong.

Attracting and enticing customers to buy from you once is great. But turning those customers into repeat customers is what makes a business successful.

Retaining customers is much easier and cheaper than acquiring new ones. Consider these statistics:

  • It costs five times as much to attract a new customer than to keep an existing one.
  • The probability of selling to an existing customer is 60-70%, while the probability to sell to a new prospect is 5-20%.
  • Existing customers are 50% more likely to try new products and spend 31%, when compared to new customers.

So, existing customers are not only likely to shop more frequently but they’ll also spend more money on each transaction compared to new customers.

Bottom line: if you invest so much time and money into attracting prospects, gaining their trust and enticing them to buy from you, why stop selling after just one purchase?

Check out these articles for ideas on how to continue selling to existing customers:

4. Choosing your social media channels for the wrong reasons

It’s not uncommon to hear of business owners choosing a particular social media channel because their friends swear by it or because it’s what their competitors are using. (Not to name names, but the channel in question is almost always Facebook).

The results that two different businesses can have on a single platform can vary wildly, which is why it’s a mistake to select a social media network just because other people have had success with it.

So, how do you know which channel to use for your business?

You need to know who your target audience is and where they’re spending time online. It’s the only way to determine which social media channel to use to effectively reach your prospects.

To help with your decision, read this guide that walks you through the most popular social media platforms and how they’re used.

5. Spamming your customers

You may be spamming your customers without even realising it.

Here’s the thing: spam doesn’t just refer to those annoying emails that you receive in your inbox from some fake email addresses sent by some offshore spammers.

It also refers to some marketing tactics that you might be using such as:

  • Sending emails without explicit consent. Just because someone gave you their email address so they could register for your webinar or free trial, that doesn’t mean you are free to email them anytime you release a product, run a sale or publish a blog post. With the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) coming into force on May 25th, the rules will change and you risk a hefty fine if you email subscribers without getting their explicit consent first. Read more about GDRP and how to prepare.
  • Sending emails every week to subscribers who have only opted to hear from you once a month.
  • Sending the same content to everyone in your list, making your emails irrelevant to all.
  • Never emailing your subscribers helpful, relevant, educational information. Instead, only focusing on sending promotional content they didn’t ask for, nor are they interested in.

So, before sending your next email, ask yourself if 1. you have explicit consent and 2. if your content or offer is:

  • Helpful
  • Informative
  • Interesting
  • Relevant to the subscribers you’re sending it to.

If it’s not relevant to all, then consider segmenting your list into specific groups of customers, which is something you can easily do with our 123 Reg email marketing service.

By targeting specific segments of your customer base, they’ll be more likely to open and read your emails, and take you up on your offer. At the same time, they’ll be less likely to unsubscribe since the content they’re receiving is relevant to them.

6. Not asking for testimonials

If you’re not asking customers for testimonials and enticing them to share their experience with you, you’re missing out on a huge opportunity to increase your visibility online and to grow your revenue.

Users who are considering where to buy a lamp or which plumber to hire often look at online reviews or friends’ recommendations. Unfortunately, few businesses actively motivate their customers to leave feedback. That’s a big mistake considering that a positive review is the most valuable and reliable calling card for any business.

There are lots of simple ways to entice customers to share their experience with your business. This guide will teach you how to collect customers testimonials so you can use them to convince more people to spend their cash on your product or service.

Wrapping up

We all make mistakes. And there are lots of other common online marketing mistakes that you can make.

If you can avoid making them as a result of reading this article, that’s fantastic. But if you’ve already make these mistakes, the important thing is to learn from them and to fix them immediately. Because fixing even one of them can result in more traffic to your site, increased trust in your business and more sales in the future.