Marketing is absolutely critical in the age of e-commerce. And getting it wrong can be the difference between success and failure. So here are ten online marketing errors that all entrepreneurs should avoid like the plague.
1. Not Standing Out From the Crowd
Standing out from the competition is absolutely essential in modern e-commerce. Establishing an original business idea is one thing, but it is equally important to present it in a distinctive manner. Failure to do so will almost certainly render your business a non–starter from day one, unless you have an absolutely incredible product or service.
2. Failure to Focus
Even the biggest businesses can flounder when they attempt to be all things to all people. A recent example of this was the Windows 8 release, which attempted to deliver Microsoft’s operating system across numerous platforms. It failed, alienating its key audience. Now Microsoft is offering free upgrades to Windows 10 in an attempt to win back the faith of its customers.
Always focus on your key market, and always ensure that clients know exactly what to expect when they buy from you.
3. Poor Strategizing
Very few successful online businesses end up there by accident. The most successful e-commerce and dotcom companies had a clear ethos from day one. Even if their achievements exceeded the aims of the owner, there were always well-defined goals in place.
From email marketing to AdWords campaigns, you should always know exactly who you are marketing to, and when and where is the best place to market your products. Strategy and organization is central to the success of an entrepreneur.
4. Underestimating the Work
Achieving anything tangible in business is a massive commitment. Until you can afford to employ numerous members of staff, you will have to put in a massive workload. Underestimating this, and overestimating what you’re capable of achieving on your own, can scupper your business before it begins. If you want to be a successful entrepreneur, you will be working around the clock, almost certainly seven days a week. Don’t doubt this for one second and don’t be scared of hard work.
5. Not Paying For Quality Advertising
Free promotional opportunities are great. You should definitely take advantage of them. But you should equally certainly set aside a free advertising budget as well. Don’t underestimate the competitiveness of online advertising and e-commerce. If you want to reach as many people as possible, you need to take advantage of services such as Google AdWords.
6. Poor or No SEO Strategy
Many small business owners might not have heard of search engine optimization, which is now commonly referred to as SEO. This is a critical concept on the Internet, and one you should consider before you even set up your website, let alone before it goes live. Researching the keywords and phrases that are most relevant to your business is essential. If you can afford to pay an SEO specialist to assist you with this process and with optimizing the website, you should certainly do so.
7. Weak Social Media Presence
In this day and age, social media is a fantastic commercial platform, and one that is increasingly diverse. Social media encompasses everything from serious, business-oriented sites such as LinkedIn, to photograph-based social platforms such as Instagram. If possible, you should have a social presence on as many social media platforms as possible, and also tie them together to create an absorbing social presence. However, it is also important to understand whether your business is most suited to Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Google+ or any other platform before jumping in at the deep end.
8. Not Managing Online Reputations
A negative online reputation can make or break your business, and it is vital for you to ensure that nothing is contributing towards a negative profile for your enterprise. You can conduct this search yourself quite easily via Google. But there are also companies available who will manage your online reputation and even enhance it for you. There is plenty you can do for yourself to bury undesirable results if you cannot afford such a service. But certainly do not ignore online reputation, as it will play a major role in determining the success of your business.
9. Ignoring Competitors
The great thing about the Internet is that all of the information on your competitors is lying there before you. So make sure you check them out. This can help you stay ahead of the game, and learn from what they are doing well and badly. It might even be worth reaching out to some of your competitors online, as there is no reason that businesses in the same niche cannot collaborate and coexist.
10. Not Engaging with Customers
Finally, clients and customers are obviously the most important people to your business. And the Internet provides you with the opportunity to deliver a personal service to them. Again, social media can play a major role in this. Yet it is surprising how many businesses fail to do this. Don’t be one of them.
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