7 Internet Marketing Mistakes Small Businesses Make

posted in: SEO/Marketing | 16

7 Internet Marketing Mistakes Small Businesses Make Every decision small business owner makes impacts the overall success or failure of the company, from hiring through marketing. Often small business owners are operating in the dark when it comes to building and growing an online presence for their company.

A successful online presence starts with a good understanding of the internet industry, today’s trends and online market.

At the very least you need to avoid the following internet marketing mistakes small business owners make because of the lack of understanding, budget or leadership.

Mistake #1 – Not having a website

People check the internet before making any purchasing decisions – that is the fact in today’s world. Without a website you are simply missing out. Your website is a reflection on you, it is your best advertising tool and the most important part of your internet marketing strategy. A quality website will not only bring in customers but build trust and authority.

Mistake #2 – Having a poor quality website

This may sound like a sales pitch but you need to invest in quality web design/development. Skimp on web design and you might get a poorly coded, unusable and not much of a search search friendly website that not only poorly reflects on your brand but downright costs you money. Only hire a professional designer/developer who understand at least the basics of usabilitySEO & internet marketing principles.

Mistake #3 – Not hosting a blog on your own domain

I’ve recently had a conversation with a small business owner who had a great idea for a new business blog. Unfortunately, she decided to build/host it on someone else platform “for now”, simply because she didn’t want to invest in the design. If you want to be taken seriously, reap SEO benefits from having a blog and have full control, you must host it on your own domain.  Blogger or Posterous is great, just not necessarily for a business blog.

Mistake #4 – Not promoting your website

I see it all the time: you invest in quality web design, get your awesome website up and… wait for customers. It is not that simple. There are billions of websites out there and you have to do more then just exist in order to get noticed. If you haven’t optimized your website for search engines, then do so. Proper on-page SEO is the backbone of a successful online presence. Next, you need to promote your website through the various internet marketing channels: blogging (guest blogging if you don’t have a blog), obtaining quality backlinks from reputable sites, being active on social networks, PR, directory submission, etc.

Mistake #5 – Not running a localized marketing campaign

This is especially important for businesses catering to local customers, but don’t discount the power of localized marketing even you are serving a global clientele (Hello, Google’s localization and personalization). Local marketing starts with localized on page SEO. So many businesses fail to get their business listed in Google Maps, Yahoo & MSN Local – don’t be one of them. Take it one step further and get your website listed with sites offering local search, such as BOTW Local, CitySearch, Localeze, Local.com, Insider Pages, CitySquares or Yelp to name just a few. Also, your business mentions, even those that do not include your URL, matter (they’re called citations).

Mistake #6 – Not investing in social media marketing

Social media is the new way to build your brand and reputation online. It’s a great, low cost marketing tool with a huge potential. With Facebook surpassing Google as the most visited site on the web it’s hard not to notice the change. 2010 is certainly the year of social media and we’ll see social media marketing play a major role in the marketing world this decade. Investing it in now will definitely bring in results down the road.

Mistake #7 – Not monitoring & analyzing results

Not only should you analyze your website traffic but you need monitor & measure your marketing efforts in order to be able to tell what works and what doesn’t. Learning about your website performance will tell you what need to be improved, which parts of your website are most popular and which pages convert customers best. Similarly, when you take the time to learn which marketing tactics are giving you the best ROI you can concentrate on those and not waste time on fruitless efforts you thought were great.

It’s a Wrap

There is no one-size-fits-all approach to internet marketing but there are tried and true methods that will pave the way to online success. Don’t let the mistakes stop you in your tracks!

16 Responses

  1. I agree 100% here. Many freelancers even make these mistakes by not giving much attention to their online presence.

    To take your own internet marketing up a notch, I’d even recommend Skellie’s book The Blog Business Funnel (not affiliate link). I’m working on applying some of the stuff in their now.

  2. It’s impossible to overstate the importance of point two. If you think that a shoddy FrontPage website that your neighbour’s cousin’s postman knocked up will make you any money, you’re wrong.

  3. Many clients that I work with start with website builders such as Yahoo, GoDaddy or Superpages, to name a few. It’s a way to begin when you have a limited budget but it’s not a good model in the long run, from SEO and scalability perspective. Also, the visual/presentation limitations are clearly there.

    It takes an investment to build a profitable website. But when you lose prospective clients because of a badly designed/developed site, then what does that to your bottom line?

  4. This is a wonderful website, it really had a great deal of informaion on the subject.

  5. I agree to this list as well. Actually it’s sometimes easier to grasp the concept when you know what NOT to do 🙂

  6. It’s amazing how quickly we’ve come to expect every company we do business with to have a website. I know I feel uneasy about a business if I can’t easily find their location and hours online.

  7. Over the years I’ve been in business I’ve learned that having a poor quality website is almost like having no website. Your other points are just as important!

  8. Promoting your website is critical. It’s like a business card. Until you put it front of others no one will ever know you exist.

  9. Great points! All of them 🙂
    I wanted to comment on “Not hosting a blog on your own domain” but I just couldn’t leave something out. There are companies out there that do not utilize at all the internet to increase their sales, and that’s a huge drawback for them. But not having a blog hosted on your business site will definatelly become your loosing point in the long run. Still people can’t understand why a blog directly related to your niche could be the best thing you’ve ever done to promote your business.
    Keep it up,

  10. Yes, just a couple of days ago I’ve moved another business from Blogger to WP hosted on their own domain. I love how you can even import all the post so their work thus far is not all lost. Setup was a snap and all the graphic design elements were already created so it really was a fast process.

    Many times business owners are afraid of incurring huge costs initially but often the cost can be really minimal, especially comparing to long-term benefits a blog hosted at your own location brings.

  11. Ooh, as someone who optimizes websites for clients, I’ve seen those who WOULDN’T want to host their own blog on their own domains. I tried explaining to them about branding and risks of the site shutting down, but they wouldn’t listen! Like 9.95 bucks a month is too hefty.

  12. Roth,
    It all stems from business owners not understanding the choices they make because they are not fully informed. It’s part of webmaster’s or designer’s job to steer them in the right direction.

  13. thanx for sharing really i enjoyed helpfull work

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