Few businesses or freelancers can operate today without some kind of web presence. But how do you ensure the time you invest in your online activities will pay off in increased sales and a growing reputation?
Trying to run a business today without an online presence is like a supermarket not allowing customers into its aisles. If you want to get on, you need a website and a full range of social media, and you need to use them.
The big question, of course, is how you use them. A bad online presence can be even worse than none and lead very quickly to commercial oblivion.
The 10 biggest mistakes people make with their online strategy
So what are the mistakes you need to avoid? Saija Mahon, founder of Mahon Digital Marketing, identifies the 10 biggest mistakes people make with their online strategy – so you can ensure that you’re not making them too!
1) An impractical website design
Of course you want customers to notice your website, but flashier isn’t always better, and an over-elaborate website can be confusing.
An arresting but simple site is often best, so the customer can see at a glance what you have to offer — and then get with a single click to the shopping cart or contact page.
2) A badly chosen domain name
Your domain name needs to be easy for the customer to remember and to identify with you. Jokey names are best avoided, unless you’re sure that’s the company image you want, while anything too like an existing company could get you into trouble.
3) Not covering all devices
We access the internet from a whole range of devices now — desktop, laptop, tablet, mobile — and one thing we can say for sure is that the range will increase.
A website or social media page doesn’t look the same on a mobile as it does on a desktop, and it’s important to make sure you have versions for all possible devices.
4) Failing to update your site
Setting up a website and then leaving it isn’t going to get it high up the Google rankings. So make sure you add content regularly – whether it’s new products or different images, or just regularly updating a blog that’s part of the site. It all helps.
5) Trying to do too much on social media
There are hundreds of social media sites out there, and trying to maintain a presence on them all would mean you’d have no time to run your business. Research, choose two or three that seem most relevant to your business and concentrate on those.
6) Treating social media as a selling platform
Ultimately it is, of course, but direct advertising isn’t usually the best way to use it. Social media is most powerful when it shows the human face of the company. Make potential customers like you and want to click on the link to your website. That’s when the serious selling starts.
What do you do with spam? Most likely delete it unread and avoid the company that sent it. If you’re sending emails or direct messages on a social networking site, make sure they’re not going to put the customer off.
8) Confusing personal and professional social media
The chances are, you customers want to see you as a human being, but they don’t want to know all about what you got up to at that party on Saturday night.
Even if it was nothing scandalous, posting too much personal content on your business accounts will make you seem unprofessional.
9) Failing to proofread what you write
Whether it’s your website content or a blog article, if it goes online with typos or bad grammar, your customers will notice. A single typo might not lose you a sale or a client, but mistakes tend to create a bad impression.
10) Bad interaction with customers
The customer’s always right, even when they’re wrong. Well, almost always, and it applies just as much in your online dealings as face to face.
More so, in some ways. It’s very easy for anything you put on the internet to end up seen by the world, so you need to make sure the world doesn’t see you being rude to your customers.
Are you making one of these mistakes?
Are you making one of these 10 mistakes? If so, or you’d just like to read more about the topics covered here, you may find these articles helpful:
- Your beginner’s guide to growing your business on Twitter.
- Six quick tips to help you get amazing results from your business Facebook page.
- Five ways you may be throwing away business on social media.
- How to write a blog people will want to read.
- How to write SEO copy for your website.
- 10 common social media mistakes, and how to avoid them.
Saija Mahon is the founder of Mahon Digital Marketing, an international digital media agency that helps growing global businesses to achieve their sales targets.Saija Mahon