When I started my career in online marketing there weren’t a lot of people to learn from. I learned by research and testing. And you can be sure I made a ton of online marketing mistakes. I want to share some of the mistakes I made with you. And I’m going to show you specific tactics to help you avoid the kind of snags that got in my way.
I developed these tactics over the years through trial and error. But you can apply them immediately to your online marketing and side step the traps that can slow down your progress.
Mistake #1: Marketing To The Wrong Audience
After eight years of running a marketing agency I decided that I wanted to help more entrepreneurs to be better online marketers. So, I created a virtual content marketing course called Blog School. Session One sold out. Session Two sold out. Session Three sold out. It was so exciting and I knew I was really on to something. For Session Four I launched an extended marketing campaign and got ready to sell out Session Four.
It was a total failure! In one month I had over 30 sales conversations and enrolled only two students. I was devastated. But not devastated enough to give up.
So, with my tail between my legs I stopped my marketing and tried to figure out what had gone wrong. One day, while perusing the student roster of the first three (sold out) sessions, I was suddenly struck by this fact: 80% of the students were my current or past clients and…they all had a similar profile. I was so confident in my course that in my marketing had targeted all types of entrepreneurs. And I had been talking to a lot of the wrong people!
So, the first thing I did was to identify the common characteristics of the people who were in Sessions One, Two and Three. I did something I should have done right at the beginning. I created my perfect ideal customer persona. Then I re-launched my marketing campaign and this time, I focused only on attracting those people.
Now Session Four filled up right away. By identifying in detail my ideal customer persona I found the key to successfully marketing my course.
The Takeaway: Identify your ideal customer right now.
Here’s my recommendation: pour over your list of current and past customers. Choose one or two of your favorites; those that immediately saw value in what you offer and were willing (and able) to pay for it.
Then make a list of everything you know about that person; even their personal likes and dislikes. What you are doing is creating your ideal customer persona and from now on, focus all your marketing on attracting them.
One more thing: Focus on your ideal customer persona…but that doesn’t mean you have to say “no” to people who are not a perfect match.
But dedicate your marketing efforts to reaching your perfect ideal customer. You’ll see…they’ll start to find you and you’ll start to find them. Like magic.
Mistake #2: Too Much Social Media Busy Work
I’ll be the first to admit that social media can be infuriating. If you are frustrated by all the changes and roadblocks, you are not alone. Social media is maturing and the major platforms have put revenue models in place that can wreak serious havoc on your well-laid plans.
Time and time again we hear social media gurus say: “All you have to do is to follow my social media marketing formula (blueprint, program, etc.) and your business will be a mammoth success.” I say, what do the gurus mean by success? Are likes and shares considered success? Yes, it feels good to get a lot of likes and shares, but if it doesn’t move the needle on your sales, then why do you do it at all?
The Takeaway: Before you post on social media ask yourself, “What will this do for my business?”
Here’s what I recommend: get inside the head of your ideal customer and figure out what you can post that will fit into your overall business goals and resonate with them. Are you planning a webinar? Then focus on filling it. Are you looking for new customers? Then run some ads on Facebook that are targeted to your ideal clients (Facebook ads are the best way to build your community).
Social media is an incredible tool that can increase your visibility and your sales when it is part of a content marketing strategy that (that includes blogging and email). On its own, it’s just busy work, and that’s something that I don’t have time for (neither do you!)
Mistake #3: Neglecting Your Website
At least once a week I meet a businessperson who has not updated his or her website in years. It’s sad but true. With all that it involves to run a successful business, your website can easily fall to the bottom of the list.
But here’s a fact: your website is the only thing over which you have complete control on the Internet. And it’s the first place that a prospective customer will go when referred to your company. It really should be at the top of your list, right?
I launched a new website a few weeks ago. My previous site was about three years old and it no longer conveyed the message I want to send. Surprisingly it was not a terribly painful process because I had gone through the exercise of identifying my ideal customer persona, it was a lot easier than my previous three sites.
But here’s the best part: I feel like my website speaks for me when I can’t be there. I’m confident that my ideal customer sees that I “get” her. I’m proud of the site and that is a real confidence booster. And I can say I’ve had many more new business inquiries since the new site launched than I’ve had in a long time.
The Takeaway: Give your website a little love.
Don’t make the assumption that nobody goes to your website. There’s no way for you to know if a potential great customer visited your site and bounced off right away because there is nothing there that told her that she is in the right place.
Mistake #4: Not Thinking About Mobile
This mistake can really cost you. Statistics show that 60% to 80% of people use phones to read their emails. That means that when your email comes in, your audience is on the fly and not necessarily sitting at a computer. If it’s hard to read on a phone’s smaller screen
I made this mistake. My email open rate started plummeting and I didn’t know why. Here’s why: I made the assumption that my email service was making sure that my emails were mobile friendly. And I didn’t bother to check my emails on my phone before I sent them out to my list.
Your email subscriber list is one of your most valuable business assets. When people have a bad user experience it’s a bad reflection on your brand. Make sure that you choose an email template that is mobile friendly. And if you’re not sure, contact your service.
The Takeaway: Make sure your emails are easy to read on mobile devices.
My recommendation is to use an email service that offers mobile friendly templates. The most popular ones such as Constant Contact and Mailchimp indicate which templates are mobile friends. If you aren’t sure, contact support and find out.
Mistake #5: Using Content Only Once
I used to think I had to create a brand new blog post every week in order to have an impact. I’d stress out every Wednesday if a blog wasn’t ready on by Thursday morning.
Then I discovered a beautiful thing: evergreen content. . Evergreen content means doesn’t have an expiration date. It can be used over and over again. Slice and dice it, pull out bits of it for social media (super powerful), even republish it from a slightly different perspective. I have so much more time now to focus on growing my business.
The Takeaway: Write evergreen content and use it over and over again.
I can’t stress this enough: you don’t have go crazy creating brand new content every day.
You don’t have to publish a blog every week. (If you’re just getting started then you should plan to write as many blog posts as you can, so that you have an arsenal of content to use later on.) But as soon as you do, you can cut down your blog creation to about 2 times per month. The key is to write evergreen content.
Remember, the strength of your marketing is in connecting to the right people, using the right technology, at the right time and always with your business goals always in mind.
And when you have a great product or service, an intimate knowledge of your ideal customers, and passion in the your message, you have everything it takes to create use the amazing Internet to make your dreams come true.
Every time worry about making online marketing mistakes, take a deep breath and say to yourself: I got this!