“My online marketing isn’t working! I have a website, but I’m not getting any sales (or generating any leads)! What am I doing wrong? I need to drive traffic to my website!”
I hear this all the time. As a small business owner, you know that having a website is important. Furthermore, it’s way more than an online brochure! Regardless of whether the business is B2B or B2C, as I review websites, I see the same mistakes over and over again.
Here are the TOP 12 Mistakes I see small businesses make on their Websites.
- Thinking that if you build it they will come — NOT! Having a website and not blogging or sharing on social media is like having a billboard out in the middle of the ocean. Sure a passing ship may see it, but that’s not going to be enough. Moreover, you need to blog at least 2-3 times a week for the first couple of months especially if your site has been stagnant. It’s all so Google will notice you. Each blog post needs to be shared on all the major social media networks: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and LinkedIn. Yes, Pinterest! It takes the link with it helping with SEO. Once you’ve built some momentum and a following on social media, you can reduce your blogging to once or twice a week. However, check your analytics each month. If you see your monthly web traffic fall, go back to 2-3 times a week. Still, your analytics won’t lie.
- No lead generation strategy – or lead capturing on your website. You need to convert visitors to leads then nurture them into sales. That’s where a good Marketing Automation campaign comes in. First, you need a good Call-to-Action. Something of value to your target market – an ebook, free course, webinar, whitepaper (if your business is more technical) or a coupon. Keep the form short. Ask only for their email address and first name. In addition, you can ask 1 or 2 questions to segment your email list, but no more than that. Once you’ve got their email address, put them in an email drip system. I use MailChimp (affiliate link). They have an affordable, basic automation service and it works great. Think out your email messages strategically to direct your warm lead into a sale. Not everyone who lands on your website is ready to buy right away.
- Not optimizing each post or page for the search engines. The free WordPress plugin, SEO by Yoast is the best SEO plugin out there. It walks you through everything you need to do so your post/page will get noticed by Google. Besides, it helps with “readability”. You need to write for your target market. Remember, you’re the expert, they’re not. Write for the human reader with the search engine in mind.
- Not fully thinking out what you want to accomplish with the website. What are your goals and objectives? Who do you want to reach? Sure, your main objective is to increase sales, nevertheless, your site needs to walk the visitor from the landing on a page or blog article, to where you want them — the conversion. You want to convert a visitor into a warm lead and then you need to nurture that lead into a sale. (See #2 above) Having well-done market and keyword research along with a strategic marketing plan will work as a guide for you website and online marketing efforts.
- Having popups. They are extremely annoying. Don’t you remember that popup windows were blocked in browsers. Now they’ve made them plugins to WordPress so they can’t be blocked by browsers. My greatest pet peeve are the exit ones. I want to bookmark or share the blog post, I move the mouse to do so and the pop-up appears and I have to look for the “x” or “close” button. I don’t even read it. You do want to have a clear call-to-action in the top or right-hand side of the page. More discrete popups are the ones that appear at the bottom corners. They’re visible, but not obstructive. Moreover, think about the first-time visitor. That person clicked on an interesting title and wants to read the article. They don’t know you yet! How can anyone think that the person wants to sign up for a newsletter or get a report.
- Not using analytics. Analytics should be checked monthly. Which sites are driving the most traffic to your site? How long are visitors staying on your site? How many new visitors are you getting compared to returning visitor?
- Having social media follow buttons that either go nowhere or link to your networks and you haven’t posted anything since 2013. If you’re not active in social media, don’t put buttons on your site! What’s more, it makes you look stupid. You need to make it easy for people to follow you and to share your content with their friends. That said, don’t make people hunt for the social media links. Also, label them so people know which is a follow button and which is a share button.
- Using a “website builder” or “drag-and-drop” sites. What makes these sometimes free sites easy to use is the “drag-and-drop” feature. However, that feature creates a lot of code in the background. The search engine doesn’t recognize code. It’s looking for text written for humans and links. All that code is like a brick wall. Also, you’re on their platform. Those platforms are created with proprietary software. That means it will only run on their system. If you want to move it, you can’t.
- Not investing in your own assets. Your own email list, blog, website, video, graphics, etc. On any other platform, whether a free blogging site or social media, you’re just borrowing the space there. You don’t own it. You have to follow their rules and they can change them at any time AND use your content as they wish.
- Not having a blog on your site. WordPress makes it easy to have a static website and a blog all in one. Also, without the blog, you don’t have the fresh content that Google is looking for and you don’t have content to draw people to your site. Google ignores static websites.
- Thinking a website built more than 3 years ago is still OK. It’s not. An outdated website affects your online image and SEO. Besides that, the technology behind it is probably outdated and may make your site vulnerable to hackers and crashes.
- Having a boring “Join our Newsletter List” call-to-action. The visitor is thinking, “What’s in it for me?” Tell them. Give them a freebie – something useful to them – in exchange for their email address.
Believe it or not, when I combine these with others that I’ve seen as well as all the social media ones, there are over 200 common mistakes small businesses are making with their online marketing efforts!
No wonder you’re frustrated!
In conclusion, any mistakes are fixable. Some repairs are simple, some not much. Nonetheless, they you need to address them if you want your online marketing efforts to work. Let me take a look at what you’ve got and I’ll give you a truthful analysis and advise you on what you need to do to make your marketing efforts more effective!