For all the time, money, and discussion that are given to online marketing in companies of all sizes, it can seem a bit baffling that businesses still make basic, critical mistakes when it comes to putting a plan together. These miscues are easier to understand, however, when you consider that they are often the result of more simple (and surprisingly common) mistakes in thinking.
To help you understand what we mean, and why it's important, here are the five biggest reasons businesses make bad online marketing decisions:
Old ideas, or just plain bad advice, can put your business on the wrong foot before your website is even launched. And yet, it isn't unusual to see owners and executives basing their efforts on concepts that were marginally successful a decade ago, or that don't have any real evidence to support them. In our industry, best practices and customer tastes are constantly shifting – it's important to keep up if you want your business website to stand out.
This issue is related to the first one, but it's even more pervasive. Basic psychology tells us that we are more likely to believe what we want to believe, and so it isn't unusual for the online marketing equivalent of a "snake oil salesman" to convince a business that they can get everything they want and need for pennies on the dollar. What they don't mention, of course, is that the results are fleeting or nonexistent, and that following the wrong tactics leaves the business in worse shape than it started.
When your online marketing efforts are targeted and coordinated, it doesn't have to take a long time to produce good results. In fact, many of our clients notice a sizeable increase in new leads within just a few months. When you try to shortcut the process, however, bad things tend to happen. And so, even though you don't have to be overly patient, it pays to give your plan time to develop and work if you're serious about seeing a real effect on the bottom line that lasts more than a few weeks.
In any business or industry, you're going to have people who are going to look for the lowest-cost solution to any problem. That's especially true in a tight or uncertain economy. By cutting your online budget to the bone, however, you're taking away things like creativity, experience, and detail-oriented thinking. That might help you save a bit of money now, but it isn't going to create opportunities for you to generate a positive ROI in the future.
Amazing as it might seem, there are still some businesses that just don't "get it" when it comes to online marketing. In these cases, they either think it doesn't work, or their past failures have taught them that it won't work for them. In either case, they're selling their own potential short, and missing out on cost-effective opportunities to generate new sales opportunities now and in the future.
If you have found yourself on the wrong end of one of these issues, understand that you certainly aren't alone – we deal with companies that have been plagued by bad web marketing decisions for years. The important thing is to recognize what went wrong, and more importantly, to put your business back on the right track.