Three Common Online Marketing Mistakes That Small Businesses Should Avoid

Online Marketing Mistakes Small Businesses MakeAs customers increasingly and seamlessly integrate online activities into their lifestyle, it has become vital for small businesses to maximize online visibility.

However, given the multitude of ‘expert’ advice out there and the ongoing pace of evolution (behavioral and technological), it can be quite challenging to develop a coherent online strategy; that is the right fit for challenges and goals unique to your small business.

Here are three common web marketing mistakes to avoid or learn from:

1) The SEO quickfix

You have probably seen emails from companies promising to increase visibility of your site via on-page and off page methods.

A small business would derive more value if, instead, they worked with those that can explain and coach you on SEO best practices.

SEO (search engine optimization) is not enormously complicated and anyone you hire should be able to help you understand how your business can incorporate SEO methodology into your regular online activities. Basic keyword analysis, title tags, link building etc. are tactics that you should be able to pick up relatively easily.

Failure to develop better understanding of the SEO process may mean that you will be paying for open ended tasks, simply because SEO is an ongoing process without any real end date.

Your grasp of SEO concepts, in fact, could add tremendous value to the work of any external resource you hire to do these tasks for you. This will also help the stake holders arrive at informed opinions on the value that a dedicated external or internal resource, can bring to bear, on the SEO efforts of your organization.

2) All that glitters is blog and the one-trick pony

Another common mistake businesses make, is to hire a blogger (who usually runs a popular blog) and expect the blogger (who probably also has a sizable Twitter and Facebook following) to be the ‘social media expert’ and even ‘online marketing expert’ for the business.

Variations to this including hiring twitter ‘experts’ with massive following and klout in the hope that they can transfer their social cred to your business.

While these methods may provide some immediate gains in visibility, they are most probably unsustainable in the long term. It is not uncommon to see blogger flit their services between competing brands, one month to the next.

Similarly, relying on irrelevant metrics (which often depend heavily on one kind of social platform and/or content marketing) can be detrimental to your web strategy, simply because those metrics may be inconsequential in helping you connect with your customers (and/or niche). Why? Read Tom Webster’s informative marketing blog‘s attempt to understand one of these foggy metrics.

A better option is to work with a team that can help you implement a longer term, consistently sustainable online content marketing strategy with a multi-pronged, cohesive approach that includes (among other tactics) social media marketing.

Your content creation and online marketing efforts should take inherent organizational strengths into consideration.

Your most popular content could well be the FAQ’s regularly updated by your customer service team. The social popularity of this content along with its SEO benefits may alone be enough to give you better online visibility than your competitors. Maybe these FAQ’s can be reformatted into media content like video and distributed on platforms like Youtube thus using video to further consolidate your SEO lead.

It could also work the other way; where your in-house resources are better suited for Youtube videos; use the platform to engage with your customers and invite leads to continue the conversation on other preferred platforms (Facebook page, blog etc).

Text based blog content may not be what works for your business and your customers. The heavy dependence by search engines on text based content is already giving way to other indicators including social popularity, location, image recognition, video etc.; The likely future of SEO?

What you can be sure of today is, it is important to understand (using analytics and measurement options) which media and content connects best with your customer and figure out if you can match resources towards these high yield content creation and marketing efforts.

3) Web designers and developers are online marketing experts.

It is increasingly common to see small businesses depend on web and blog designers for marketing strategies.

As you can understand from the previous points, simply installing a SEO plugin is not an SEO strategy that will guarantee visibility or results. At best, it is a rudimentary requirement. So are the Facebook and Twitter buttons that any bargain priced blog designer promises to install for you.

After covering these basics, you have to consistently work on your online charisma.

A simple truth: Think content

The basic fact is that both your audience and search engines will find your business online IF you are able to position your VALUE proposition in the content you provide.

There are multiple customer touch-points and internal departments that can be integrated into your online marketing activities.

The ability to understand the symbiosis between analytics, paid and organic traffic, email campaigns, SEO, social media best practices, content creation tools/options etc. and how all these relate to your unique business case, is vital to forming a coherent web marketing strategy.

To maximize benefits to your small business, it may be best to work with an individual or team that

  • Understands and demonstrates experience in how all these tactics and platforms work together; Identify areas with potential to maximize ROI on the effort.
  • Shows understanding of a wide variety of content creation tools, platforms and methods (text, video, design, technology etc.) so your content marketing strategies can leverage unique business strengths. This flexibility can save you the expense of outsourcing content creation.
  • Explains how your business can minimize the impacts of any weaknesses and work with you to address these shortcomings

thus, helping you create an online marketing strategy that is customized to your business needs and maximizes available resources.

Have you thought about creating a coherent online marketing strategy for your small business? What are the challenges that you commonly face or anticipate?

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Written by Jacob Varghese (13 Posts)

I help my clients with digital strategies that grow their business. My digital marketing campaigns leverage appropriate technology choices, targeted communication methodologies and metrics driven marketing tactics (SEO, SEM, Social media outreach etc) to amplify brand/product messages, build brand/product-centric communities, establish partner relations and accelerate customer acquisition.


  • http://www.buraq-technologies.com/ ambreen11

    These tips are small but gives a huge benefit if being acted upon. The problem is that there’s so many internet marketing “experts” out there, that it’s hard to know who’s telling the truth and who’s full of crap. You see, one can’t become an internet marketing expert just by using Twitter or Facebook. You actually have to know how marketing works, and why people buy. Keep updating!

    • http://twitter.com/jacobvar Jacob Varghese

      Yes the term Internet Marketing ‘expert’ is indeed overused. I wrote a couple of posts recently on a methodological approach to Internet marketing here: http://www.brandbyte.com/blogb…
      Thanks for your comment.

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