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Home > FREE Marketing Tips > Online Marketing Mistakes

Four Critical Online Marketing Mistakes To Avoid

Here are the critical mistakes in Online marketing which you can use as examples of what not to do in your Online marketing plan.

I have also included easy steps to get your Online marketing plan back on the track to success.

MISTAKE #1 - An Ineffective Website

Your Website is a marketing tool which should have a purpose in the process of selling your product or service. 99% percent of the Websites currently on the Internet do not have an effective sales function. Most sites are full of dazzling graphics or "eye candy" which try to wow you with the way they look, instead of offering you the information you need to make an informed decision.

Your site should be designed to either make a sale now or in the future by moving the browser towards making a purchasing decision.

Here are five simple ways to make your site more effective:

  1. A Professional "Look & Feel" - Based on a recent Stanford University survey addressing specific credibility issues of Websites, 46.1% said the Design Look ("Look & Feel") was the most important. This means that your Website should look as professional as possible and convey that you are a viable and trustworthy company. This alone will increase your Website sales.

  2. Include a powerful headline to catch the browser's eye.

  3. Use copy that explains the benefits of your product or service from the browser's point of view.

  4. Build credibility with testimonials.

  5. Include a "Call To Action."

Example Of A Call To Action:

Either buy your product or request more information about the product... respond... do something.

MISTAKE #2 - Ineffective / Inefficient Advertising

The typical consumer is exposed an average of nearly 3,000 marketing messages per day! Americans are so bombarded by advertising that they have learned, by necessity, to tune a majority of it out. This means that advertising just does not work like it did in the past.

The situation on the Internet is no different. There is an enormous amount of e-mail, banners and Websites all competing for the browser's attention. Most company's advertising dollars end up being wasted.

So how does one advertise profitably on the Internet?

Develop mutually beneficial relationships where you simultaneously teach your potential customers about your company while learning their needs.

How do you do this?

With E-Mail:

E-Mail is a marketer's dream come true. It's the Internet's "killer app." E-mail is nearly free, it's fast and it can be sent multiple times for no increase in cost. E-mail enables you to keep in touch with potential customers, educate them and build relationships with them.

The most successful way to use e-mail in your marketing plan is with a method coined “Permission Marketing” by Seth Godin. With permission marketing, you build a list of people to whom you send your e-mail messages. To accomplish this, you simply *ask permission* to send people more information about your product. You educate them, and give them incentives and reasons to buy your product as well as “spreading the word” to their friends and family about your product. Your e-mail list can be used in a variety of ways including a newsletter, a discussion list for exchanging information on a certain topic, and the classic direct sales list, which you use to make sales offers.

NOTE: Be sure not to abuse the power that e-mail gives you in your marketing campaign. You should only send e-mail messages to people who have specifically requested or "opted-in" to be on your mailing list or newsletter.

With Advertising:

The primary methods of advertising on the Internet are the banner, the button, and e-mail ads. These methods invite the browser to "click" on a banner or link that pulls up a site. The percentage of browsers who actually "click" is usually very low. If a browser does "click", statistics show that sometimes over ninety percent (90%) "turn around" after viewing just one page of the site.

To make your advertising campaign more profitable and effective, you can use the following techniques:

  1. Internet advertising is a buyer's market. For example: It is likely that you will not have to pay the full price quoted for advertising on Websites and online e-zines. In many instances, the price of the advertising can be negotiated.

  2. As previously discussed, it is ineffective to send a browser to your site via a banner. A more effective method is to offer the browser something in return for visiting your site. A good example of this would be to offer a free sample. In order to receive the sample, the browser will have to submit name and e-mail address. This list will enable you to educate the browser about your product or service, converting the browser to a customer.

You may be saying: "What if they don't want to join our promotion or newsletter?" Well, if they're not willing to sign up for your promotion, then they're probably only looking for a free handout and are not really interested in what you have to offer in the first place. People who are not interested in what you have to offer are people that you will not want on your list anyway.

Example: Let's say you're in the consulting business and you want to gain more clients. Offer a free class or consultation in an advertisement, but in order to receive this "freebie" they have to sign up for your newsletter.

These two simple techniques of first negotiating a lower advertising rate, and then, educating a prospective buyer with e-mail will greatly increase the effectiveness of your advertising campaign.

MISTAKE #3 - Incorrect Promotions / Publicity

The Internet is the greatest communications tool ever invented. It offers you an inexpensive, fast medium for transferring a large amount of information. The Internet's technology can deliver text, sound, pictures, video, financial transactions and software.

A big mistake many companies make is not promoting properly. You have to network, promote and use publicity on the Internet, but you must be careful and respect its culture and intolerance toward blatant ads. This is where most people get into trouble on the Internet.

How Do You Promote Successfully?

The best way to do this is to change from an advertising frame of mind to a publicity frame of mind:

  • Instead of mass promotions, profile the exact types of people you wish to reach, find the sites they visit, and partner with those site owners to endorse your product. For more information read the Business 2.0 article titled: "Web Ads That Work... Really. Smart companies plot their own strategy and get business--not just traffic."

  • Instead of pitching a new product to the media, pitch a newsworthy story idea, or event.

  • Instead of purchasing banner advertising at the influential Websites that serve your target market, use an affiliate program offer these Websites a healthy percentage of profits for the extra sales they generate by endorsing your product.

MISTAKE #4 - No Follow-Up

Having repeat customers is crucial to the success of any business. However, with online marketing, this obvious fact is almost always overlooked. With so much talk about "getting hits" or "generating traffic" to a Website, very little attention has been focused on bringing customers back for repeat visits or purchases. This is a big mistake.

There are many easy ways to bring people back and increase the number of purchases as well as increase your company's profits.

This is called "the back end." The "back end" is usually the most profitable asset that a company has since the expense of gaining a customer or new visitor, "the front end", has already been spent.

Following up is the key to getting those repeat visits and sales. Here are a few follow-up techniques…

  • Use a mailing list and follow up.
  • Use a Newsletter to educate your list of clients and prospects.
  • Have special promotions listed on your site and announced in your newsletter.

These are just a few of the many techniques you can use for building an effective back end sales system.

If you keep these four (4) critical mistakes to avoid in mind as you market on the Internet you will be on the right track to success.

Article by Matt Hockin, Owner of Interactive Marketing. Call 541.280.3363 for a free orientation on how to increase your sales and profitability with sales and marketing systems optimized for your small to medium-sized business.

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