We all make internet marketing mistakes and some mistakes are less costly than others but if your online business depends on traffic and sales, these are the mistakes you simply can’t afford to make.
Having been online for over 8 years with several websites to my credit, these are the 6 most critical internet marketing mistakes I’ve made.
I’m never happy about making mistakes but it’s been in fixing them and learning from them that I’ve been able to create a healthy, more thriving internet business — and I want that for you as well
Mistake #1: Not Knowing Your Target Market
You may think you know your target market, and for the most part you probably do, but do you really know their focus and concerns? Knowing those things can make a big difference in how you present your information.
Here’s a simple example. Someone buying a home at age 25 has a much different focus than someone buying a home at 55. That’s because at 25 people are typically looking for kid friendly neighborhoods with good schools, safe streets and playgrounds nearby.
Someone in their 50′s buying a home won’t typically care about those things. They’ll want a quiet neighborhood with no kids and possibly a smaller home. So your marketing focus will naturally take a different tact.
Or think about this, if you were a shoe salesman selling travel shoes you might be focused on promoting comfortable walking shoes, but your target market may be wanting more style or you may have an audience that wants both comfort and style.
In either case you have to know what type of market your business is attracting and market to their needs and desires as well as their concerns and fears.
How do you know who your market is and what they want?
The other side of the coin is that you might know who your target market is and what type of person you want to attract but are you actually attracting them?
That’s where taking simple surveys comes in super handy. When people come to your site, what precisely are they looking for? Survey results will help you know.
Use Surveymonkey.com for this, it’s free and they have super easy setup instructions.
Once you have your survey created, you can direct visitors to a survey page, or ask people on your mailing list to take the survey.
You’ll be amazed at the little tidbits of eye-opening information you can get from a simple survey. It’s definitely information you won’t get on your own.
If you’re just starting out and want a fairly general idea of what people are looking for in your market, forums are a great place to hangout and get ideas. I once hung out at a walking forum and found out that people who walk a lot have problems with their knees. They wanted shoes that would help knee soreness.
That told me that there were lots of people that needed help with finding good shoes for knee problems when walking. In fact the keyword ‘walking knee pain’ gets 4400 searches a month …hmmm, great possibility for a profitable niche, hint, hint
Mistake #2: Not Using Email
People get turned off by email and who can blame them. We all hate getting SPAM and no business wants to be accused of spamming.
But SPAM really isn’t the problem it use to be. Just like there are tools to keep spam out of our in box, there are effective email marketing tools and strategies that can make you an effective email marketer.
Even today, email marketing is still effective. It’s the number one internet marketing strategy that online marketers use. In fact most marketers will tell you it’s the one strategy they value the most. That’s because there are truly some awesome benefits.
Email builds relationships, keeps visitors informed about new products, presents news and ideas you might have, it brings visitors back to your website and it creates interaction.
The bottom line is that if you’re not using email but your competitors are, you’ve lost what might otherwise be a very keen competitive edge.
Mistake #3: No Keyword Research
Keyword research, in particular keyword research and the long tail will tell you exactly what words and phrases people use to search for items and information online. The long tail meaning adding specifics to the basic keyword phrase.
For example, the term ‘womens shoes’ is a basic keyword phrase, but to target exactly what someone might be looking for, the long tail phrase ‘womens wide walking shoes’ is much more specific and zoning in on the request exactly.
If I’m looking for womens wide walking shoes, I’m more likely to click on the page that uses those exact words in the title and description than I would be for a page that merely says ‘women’s walking shoes’.
Your advantage to good keyword research and using the long tail is that most large, well know retail stores won’t bother with targeting the more specific keyword phrases, so if you can know what targeted key phrases people search on, you have a much better chance of grabbing the traffic that the larger sites leave behind.
Using effective keyword research is a solid trick to getting your web pages in front of more potential, focused buyers which gives you a much better chance of making the sale.
Mistake #4: Ignoring Search Engine Optimization
An internet business isn’t like the corner drug store, you can’t choose your location and expect people to see you while driving by.
Unless you’re spending advertising dollars, you’re at the mercy of the search engines to decide whether or not your site is worthy of visitors.
Frankly, the best search engine optimization starts with creating a website that uses a clean website template, provides easy and clear navigation and avoids excessive flash and java script.
Also because the search engines index web pages as opposed to web sites, it will be important to follow the tips for healthy web page optimization along with using the search engine copywriting strategies for writing copy that not only appeals to the search engines but gets the attention of your human readers.
One mistake that so many internet marketers make it a priority to create copy that appeals strictly the the search engines in the hope of getting high search engine ranking. High rankings is certainly an important piece of the puzzle, but writing copy that appeals to your human reader is equally, if not more, important to the overall success of your traffic and sales.
After all what good does it do to get tons of traffic if the traffic doesn’t convert to sales? Search engine copywriting is about appealing especially well to both the search engines and your human visitors, which is how you’ll achieve the sale you need.
If you’ll be creating a blog, use a good content management systems like WordPress which has built in SEO. WordPress is especially good at taking care of the basics like file structure, functionality and provides good use of title and description tags.
Mistake # 5: Failing to Analyze Your Traffic
Getting traffic to your site is certainly important but keeping it there is another thing altogether.
When trying to keep your traffic on your site and keep them interested, you have to really analyze it. That means knowing where your traffic is coming from (the referring sites), what your traffic is looking for (the keywords), and what they’re looking for once they arrive (the most visited pages).
There are programs that can readily give you this information. One is your stats program that comes with your hosting service. My Hostgator service uses AWstats, a program that gives me information like how long visitors stay on my site, what pages they’re visiting and how often, what browsers sent me the traffic, what URL’s are referring my pages and what key phrases visitors used to find my site.
Hostgator happens to use AWStats which gives me all this information and more. But more recently I’ve been using Google Analytics. It’s super easy to set up and it’s free. I actually use it together with my Awstats program for getting a really good glimpse of my site’s activity.
I suggest making it a habit once a month to review your stats. Do a compare and contrast to previous months. This information will help you make decisions about how to improve your web pages and know what information to add for increasing traffic.
Without analyzing what goes on with your site and your site pages, it’s a lot harder to improve your return on investment, increase conversions, and increase profits.
Mistake #6: Not Using Social Media
All the buzz lately has been around social media and internet businesses have felt the pressure to hop on board.
In the beginning I was overwhelmed with the social media choices and I got burned out quickly with trying to make use of them all, but it’s a mistake to try using them all.
The 3 most popular social media sites are YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook. After a few months of going crazy with the social marketing maze, I’ve narrowed it down to simply Twitter and Facebook. My time is better spent and I’m a lot more efficient using them.
On Facebook, create a fan page where you can post your store specials, YouTube videos, comment on blog posts, etc., and people who become a “fan” will get instant access to every update you make, keeping you in touch continuously.
Twitter is a micro-blog platform that is perfect for posting blog posts, quick tips, invitations to special events, and for keeping an eye on what people are saying about your brand. Using Twitter productively can be a big boost to sales and traffic.
But beware, social marketing should not be used for sales pitches. You can’t be pushy on Twitter or Facebook, you’ll lose visitors and followers quickly. Social marketing and networking is about building relationships first. People don’t simply buy from just anyone, they need to feel a sense of trust and confidence in who they give their money to.
Use social marketing to build those relationships, make trusted contacts, build your brand and generate interest. Once you’ve established those things, the sales will just come naturally.
The Biggest Mistake of All!
Don’t become one of those people that expects instant traffic to your website. Successful internet marketing is a continuous effort using the internet marketing strategies that work for you.
Getting listed in Google is a great start, but it’s just that, a start. Your next step is to be consistent with your marketing efforts. In fact the more you promote, the more traffic you’ll see and over time your site will become more self-sustaining requiring less work to maintain. Gotta love that!
So stay with it and don’t be afraid to make mistakes. That’s how you will learn what works for your business and what doesn’t.