Online marketing can be a real messy and confusing proposition for any small business owner. So how can you make it work for you? This post will discuss 3 common mistakes small business owners make when marketing their business online, and offer suggestions on how you can approach online marketing differently to get more clients.
Here we go:
Mistake #1: Putting all your content on social media (instead of your own blog)
Look, I get it.
Your challenge is time, and you want to put your content where your audience is right?
Whilst it’s definitely a smart move to share content via popular social channels don’t forget this one important lesson:
OWN YOUR LAND and BUILD YOUR HOUSE.
The digital landscape is made up of four media categories: paid, earned, rented and owned.
The one place where you get customers online i.e. money is exchanged is on owned media. In other words, on your website.
Owned media is where the money’s at!
Social media is rented media. You don’t own Facebook, Linkedin or any of the other channels and if you’re creating content on those platforms then don’t fall under the illusion that it’s yours.
If any of those social channels decide to change the rules, like Instagram did with its recent algorithm change, then you’re putting your business fate in someone else’s hands. Do you really want to do that?
The goal of social media is to bring visitors back to your own website where you can engage with them there.
Pro tip: Publish original content on your blog, and then post & promote via social channels to drive traffic back to your website where the sales happen.
Mistake #2: Jumping to the sale way too soon.
Imagine this scenario…
You and a buddy are hanging out at the beach one beautifully sunny day. You’re feeling relaxed, and are enjoying catching up on the latest goss from your friend.
Then suddenly some random stranger appears out of nowhere, jumps in between you and your mate, and screams “HEY BUY MY STUFF”.
How would that make you feel?
Annoyed? Shocked? P’d off?
So why would you apply the same exact strategy when marketing your business on the social platforms where people are going to CONNECT and not GET SOLD TO?
“But wait, aren’t businesses selling services and products on social media all the time?”
Yes they are, but there’s a difference between those who do it with grace and those who don’t.
Pro tip: Develop and implement a systemised approach to building a relationship by consistently adding value, establishing credibility and developing trust before you make your offer.
Mistake #3: Chasing instead of attracting.
In 2004 I went on an epic 2-month backpacking trip in Europe with a few mates. On one of the nights in London my buddy Tom and I followed a recommendation from another mate and went along to Brick Lane to grab some dinner. Apparently the curries there were amazing.
When we got off the train and walked down the lane we noticed a couple of guys standing outside their restaurants holding signs.
As we walked closer each one took their turn to wave their sign in one hand whilst wave at us with their other hand, and yell at us to come and try their food.
The end result was that Tom and I felt repulsed by the whole ordeal and decided to jump back on the train and go elsewhere. I never did get to sample any of the food in Brick Lane, even until now.
So the lesson here is this:
When you chase, you can actually push your prospects away.
Even when they’re WANTING what you have if you approach them with a DESPERATE energy then they won’t want anything to do with you.
One indication of a broken marketing model is when the business owner has to spend a lot of time and energy chasing prospects.
Successful marketers create systems that are designed to educate and attract.
Say hello to inbound marketing.
“Inbound marketing refers to marketing activities that bring visitors in, rather than marketers having to go out to get prospects’ attention. Inbound marketing earns the attention of customers, makes the company easy to be found, and draws customers to the website by producing interesting content.” (Source: Wikipedia)
What works really well is an inbound marketing strategy combined with a paid social strategy.
This typically looks like an educational content piece (blog post) that is promoted to social audiences via paid advertising (such as facebook ads).
Pro tip: Implement an automated SYSTEM that is designed to attract prospects to your business website and start the relationship building process. Focus on PULL instead of PUSH.
So there you have it, 3 strategic shifts to improve your online marketing and get you clients.