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Common Marketing Mistakes Small Businesses Make Online

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October 7,2016

By Kristen Gramigna, BluePay

 

Marketing your business online is critical if you want to attract customers — but technology, social media and mobile devices are constantly changing the rules of engagement. Here are a few common marketing mistakes businesses make online — and how to avoid them.

 

A scattershot social media presence.

Social media can be an inexpensive way to stay in touch with customers and show new prospects what your business has to offer. But effective social media marketing requires that you have a strategy for where you’ll post, the audience you intend to reach in each channel, and with what message. Additionally, cutting through the “noise” on social media networks requires consistency and frequency. Research conducted by the experts at Buffer reveals that: 
 

  • Top brands on Pinterest post five times a day.
  • On Twitter and Google Plus, they post at least three times a day.
  • On Facebook, brands need to post at least twice a day in order to realize value from their social media marketing efforts.

 

Don’t make the common mistake of establishing social media profiles unless you have a plan for how you’ll use them consistently to connect with your audience.

 

A clunky checkout process.

Effective marketing is ultimately determined by a business’s ability to turn interested prospects into paying customers. Yet many business websites have an online checkout flow that complicates the payment process so much that customers who would otherwise buy, fail to complete their purchase. Now that mobile devices are owned by more Americans than not, and used to browse and buy online, having a user-friendly checkout is critical to succeeding online. Yet, it’s a challenge many businesses are failing to master. In fact, results from the Pymnts.com Checkout Conversion Index reveal that conversion rates on mobile devices are decreasing over time — and that the problem is as significant for million dollar businesses as it is for small businesses. Counteract this conversion problem by incorporating affordable tools like mobile payments to your online processes; they’re designed to provide customers with a secure and easy-to-navigate payment process, so they can easily make an online purchase from a mobile or desktop device using their credit or debit card.

 

Not tracking customer behavior.

A recent survey conducted by SCORE revealed that fewer than half of business owners track the customer analytics data that could help them understand what messages and promotions attract prospects and cause them not to make a purchase. Whether you rely on Google Analytics or pay for a site analytics app to make sense of online data, there’s no longer an excuse not to track your site’s metrics. These customer behavior details can help you better understand how customers come upon your business using search engines and social media, and how they navigate the various products and pages on your site when deciding whether to purchase, so you can adjust your marketing strategy accordingly.

 

Lack of brand continuity across channels.

Small businesses have to work extra hard to establish a brand identity — but many businesses make the mistake of failing to establish one that’s distinct and consistent across channels. For example, your business name should be reflected in your website’s domain name (or as closely as possible) in your business email address, and in the “handles” you use for your social media networks.

The colors, mood and tone your website reflects through its images, copy and layout should be as recognizable in social media posts as it is in your print marketing materials, signage and packaging. Though maintaining this level of brand continuity may require that you take the time to build a set of brand guidelines that specify which typefaces, imagery and color palette make up your brand identity —especially if you rely on third-party marketing partners — it’s an important step in brand building that many small businesses miss when marketing online.

 

The more you understand about the mistakes small business owners (and your competitors) make when marketing online, the better your chance of success — even if you’re not a marketing expert. 

 

 


 

 

Kristen Gramigna is Chief Marketing Officer at BluePay, a credit card processing firm. She has more than 20 years experience in the bankcard industry in direct sales, sales management and marketing. Follow her on Twitter at @BluePay_CMO.

 

 

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