Five online marketing mistakes small businesses make every single day

online marketing, Digital trends and small business

When it comes to online marketing, going the DIY route is a smart decision for many small-business owners to test offers quickly, without the expense of an agency. However, easy access to social media marketing platforms, lack of time after a day “on the tools” and lack of planning can result in significant budgets being sucked down the drain, fast.

To help avoid that pain, here are five pitfalls to steer clear of so that your customer base can grow, your brand can flourish and your revenue can roll in.

1. Not knowing the numbers

To estimate a marketing budget, work back from the revenue you need. Look at your average order value and take into account either your website’s conversion rate (for eCommerce) or the sales team’s close rate (for lead generation). Extrapolate the number of site visits or sales calls needed to reach your revenue target.

Then, run tests in the digital marketing platform to ascertain the cost per click, cost per add to cart and cost per sale or lead. If the numbers are not viable, look at whether the offer needs to be stronger (which will bring down the costs at each step of the funnel) or whether the targeting needs to be changed.

2. Focusing on themselves instead of the customer

When you deliver a quality product or service it’s easy to want to pour all the features out in one conversation. The reality is that nobody cares what you do or what you’re selling … but they do care about what’s in it for them. So, make it all about them. And not just in the ads, but also on the “About” page of your website, your legal policies down in that tiny font in the footer, and on every order update. An easy rule of thumb? Think “you” when writing instead of “I” or “we”.

3. Leading with features instead of benefits

Us humans like to think we’re logical, but the reality is that most of us buy on emotion and justify that purchase with logic. So go with the flow. Start by talking about the benefits they will receive once their problem is solved. Once they’ve shown interest in those benefits, you can get down to the features.

4. Not tracking customer behaviour

Don’t spend a cent on ads until you’re sure that you have installed tracking correctly. When you know how many people triggered the tracking event for every step of the process, you can improve on weak links. Since Apple’s iOS update is causing some delayed (and estimated) attribution, it’s helpful to focus on the on-platform metrics (whether that’s Facebook or another) and move people to email or Messenger marketing as soon as you can. For instance, with a decent email platform you can monitor who clicks on each campaign, and see exactly how much revenue that campaign created.

5. Turning it all off in tough times

When a business has no prospects entering its ecosystem, there is no growth. It’s smart to keep the pipe flowing, when an offer isn’t working, change it instead of turning everything off. When economic conditions are tough, remember that other people will pull out and that makes digital advertising cheaper because there’s less competition for the space. Take advantage of the bargain prices and use it to expand when others are contracting.

While online marketing can appear to be volatile and made up of thousands of moving parts, if small business owners make a clear plan and bring a strong offer to the right people, they stand a high chance of success.