Myth #1 – All you need is a great web site.
Well, the place where it starts is with a well-defined service or product offering. If you don't have a clear picture of who you are marketing to and exactly what you're selling them, the best web site in the world won't get you customers. Before you think about building a web site, you should know who your target market is, how to describe your offering, and what specific benefits your services or products provides for your customers.
The content of your site is much more important than the design. But having a professional-looking design is important, and what really makes a quality design is one that follows web usability best practices, contains simple navigation, and is laid out clearly and cleanly. A brilliant design and dazzling graphics won't pay off anywhere near as well as a clear explanation of why a customer should buy your product or work with you. Useful content such as articles, testimonials, and other examples of your skills, knowledge and reputation will go much further to persuade prospective customers than a flash website.
Ask your friends, collaborators and current customers to critique your website. Do they understand what you are offering? Can they see concrete benefits to your target audience? Revise your site based on their feedback.
Myth #2 – You need to be on the first page of Google to be successful.
Google is far and away the most popular search engine on the planet. That’s not in dispute. But Google only has ten spots available on the first page. So, not only is it unrealistic, it’s impossible for everyone to achieve first page status, and even if you do, to stay there!
Does more traffic = increased sales? More traffic to your web site guarantees you is increased bandwidth use by your web host. Before spending money on banner ads, adwords, web directories, or pay-per-click listings to drive more visitors to your site, you need to be sure that the search audience will want to do business with you once they get there. Getting decent search engine placement is only half of the battle. What you do with that traffic is what’s really important. Your landing pages need to be designed to maximise conversions.
The important tip - is you shouldn’t put all of your eggs in Google’s basket. You should strive to have a multi-faceted marketing approach. That means utilising a variety of methods to generate traffic, like blogging, newsletters, social networking, article marketing, forum marketing, online and offline advertising, guest blogging, question and answer sites, etc. The key is to spread your online promotions across many platforms and media; and that means time plus automation software.
Myth #3 – Email marketing is dead.
There's no question that an opt-in email list where potential and existing customer’s have given permission to you to market to them, is a valuable asset. But the quality of names on your list is much more important than the quantity. Acquiring names through giveaways of other people's material, or purchasing them rarely provides qualified buyers truly interested in your products or services.
Always ask your site visitors and people you meet to join your emailing list and offer them something of value in return. A well-written ezine, white-paper, or informative video are all effective give-aways. But, your give-aways should be directly related to the products or services you provide and also serve to increase your business credibility. Names acquired from promotional gimmicks or unknown sources seldom turn into paying customers.
Myth #4 – Content is the secret to sales.
The purpose of content online is to build trust between potential customers and your business. Hype-laden web content may be effective in selling, but it hardly inspires trust. Your online marketing persona should reflect the same professionalism as the work you do with your customers. If writing marketing content and materials isn't your skill, then hire a professional copywriter. But be sure you hire one with experience writing for businesses like yours. The content and words on your web site should inspire feelings of confidence about your abilities, and communicate your reliability and solid qualifications.
The “content is king” mantra seems to have misled people into thinking that ALL you need to do for your marketing effort is to add what you consider to be good content. Content needs to be optimised, content needs to be linkable, content needs to be publicised, content needs to be linked to. Lots of great content remains ignored and unranked as it is passed over for more mediocre but better publicised and linked-to alternatives.
Myth #5 – Just follow the winning formula and you will be successful.
There's only one guaranteed result for online wealth, and that's the business of selling online guaranteed formula’s. There is an infinite number of buyers for every new formula scheme that is invented, but paradoxically, a precious few people actually making money on the web.
Online may be a different medium for marketing than making cold or warm calls, writing letters, or speaking to people in person, but the same proven principles still apply. There is no new winning formula. The secret to finding customers is what it’s always been - build relationships and get people to know, like, and trust you.
If your web site, ezine, and other online-based activities contribute to building long-term, trusting relationships with prospective customers and referral sources, you'll get business on the web. But if you blast your message out to anyone who will listen, aiming for a quick profit, online won't bring you any more business than standing on a street corner with a sign.
- Any online marketing should not be separate from your marketing plan but website message, keywords and Adwords, LinkedIn, Twitter, You tube, social media, Pinterest need to be integrate to provide clarity of message and maximising effect. When done properly, social media marketing is an effective way to increase brand awareness, build links to your website, learn more about your target audience, and enhance your credibility with customers.
- The internet has many saturated niches - that’s because that’s where the customers are. It’s how well you position yourself within a particular niche that will determine your success or failure. It’s all about differentiating yourself from your competitors. You have to clearly explain to people what makes you different and/or better than your competitors. Then, you have to exploit those differences consistently. So, don’t run away from a crowded niche, embrace it.
- Any online marketing campaign needs a good PR campaign to support it.
- Understand the fundamentals of SEO and ensure that they are implemented while your website is being built, particularly if you are doing it yourself. Remember, it’s far more important to write for your visitors and intelligently use your keywords in certain places on the page – sure it’s logical that they should be present in the body text, but search engines will attribute a far higher weight to words mentioned in places like the page titles, image alt tags, headings, bold and italic text etc.
- Measure: conversion rates, segmenting visitor sources, looking at link acquisition rates, keyword $ values and ultimately sales volumes. Not many people will tell you they value visitor numbers over sales.
- Provide lead nurturing via, interactivity and data capture, but make sure you are giving something to gain their permission to market to them.
- Add social button to your site that are appropriate and have a clear purpose for being.
- Ensure that any video is authentic, has a clear purpose, adds value and is entertaining. Otherwise don’t bother.
- Be very clear about your pricing policy, it’s slippery slope from Free - there is often no way up from there to convert a free customer to a paid one.
These are the many things that Online Marketers don’t tell you about. The industry is viewed through very rose tinted glasses. Remember – if it was that easy everyone would be doing it. Running a business is incredibly hard work and it takes time to get results and Online Marketing is no different.
About: Teresa Bassham is the Director of Zenworkz Authentic Marketing, an Australian marketing consultancy, that coaches small and medium professional services businesses.
Teresa is a marketing specialist and researcher with a long career and bachelor qualifications in services marketing, market research, and behavioural performance coaching and leadership development.
More importantly,Teresa loves educating and inspiring small and medium business, and will show you her passion and commitment in delivering results for you and your business.
Are you looking for a marketing coach who you can trust, learn from and be inspired by?