Online marketing changes and evolves every day, but some principles are likely to remain in the future, even as new techniques and media platforms are added to your online marketing toolbox. When you’re working your way down your marketing funnel, optimizing each step, make sure you don’t make these five common mistakes:
1. Not understanding what your customer is searching for
Building brand awareness with ads requires you to choose the search terms or related content that you want to use to advertise your company. But if you buy ad words that are outdated or not what your customer uses, or put banner ads in a place where your target market doesn’t frequent, you’ll be throwing away your advertising budget.
For instance, let’s say you are a Boston law firm specializing in motorcycle accidents. You could use “personal injury lawyer Boston” as a keyword, but a little testing might show you that potential clients who click that link don’t tend to follow through at the rate you’d expect, perhaps because they are searching for a lawyer for other types of injuries. Some of your potential clients will fall in this net, but you are also paying to attract clicks from those who won’t ultimately need the services you provide. You might have much better success with a strategy of buying “motorcycle lawyer Boston” and related keywords.
2. Competing in a space that’s too crowded
In that same vein, you need to narrow down your niche when it comes to ads and search engine optimization. For instance, if you have a small business that does personalized background checks for job applicants, you want to understand what human resources departments are looking for when they go beyond the computerized background checks. If you’re spinning your wheels trying to land on the same page as the big corporations, you may need to take a step back and evaluate what kind of searches you want to show up on and focus on those.
3. Neglecting content
Too many business owners focus all their marketing efforts on SEO or email marketing when they are not consistent about publishing blog, video, or e-book content. This is the middle of your funnel. It is important for establishing credibility and brand loyalty, converting interest into purchases. Without content, your target customer doesn’t know who you are or even how active your business is. When a potential customer goes onto your site and sees that the latest blog post was published years ago, that reflects upon your business as unreliable, unprofitable, and unpopular. Just like you would outsource anything else you weren’t proficient in it yourself, if you find content falling by the wayside, you should consider what it would take to buy articles in bulk and find room for it in your advertising budget.
4. Not optimizing your conversion rate
If your website design is seriously out of date, you could be leaving money on the table with potential customers taking one look and leaving. The visual experience needs to be clean, but it also needs to load quickly—as many as 40% of users will leave a page that takes over three seconds to load.
Even if your website is modern and fresh, it’s important to continually evaluate whether your design makes it easy for customers to come to your site, find what they want, and make a purchase. Is there a simple, easy-to-follow call to action on your site that directs the customer to each step of the process? Have you optimized other aspects of your site that are likely to turn interested parties into buyers, such as including testimonials, reviews, and other companies you work with? Have you tested the relevant aspects of your interface to see what customers best respond to? Doing all this can help people who want what you offer to take the final step and become your customers.
5. Not measuring your success
If you’re not analyzing how your marketing is going, you won’t know what to do next. You’d be surprised how many business owners just throw some Facebook ads out there and wait for the customers to start rolling in. But without analytics, you won’t know if an uptick is due to organic traffic, seasonal influences, or anything else you’ve done different lately. It’s nearly impossible to measure concepts like brand awareness, but luckily, there are many tools you can use to measure how well a marketing campaign is performing so that adjustments can be made in real time as the campaign rolls out. You’ll never know how well any marketing strategy is working if you don’t measure the results.
You might get caught up in any one of these mistakes, but when you are paying attention to all aspects of your funnel (from awareness to interest to desire to purchase), you’ll get results that outshine your competition.