The following is a guest post by Adam Green. His bio is at the end.
If you are trying and failing to market your business successfully, then you are not alone. However, something needs to change if you want to grow your business and get more sales.
It is all too common for business owners to take on their own marketing and not really get anywhere. And unfortunately, they often don’t really understand why they are struggling to build any traffic. Marketing yourself online is hard work and there are plenty of mistakes to be made.
So if you find yourself in this situation, what could be going wrong?
You SEO for Google’s sake
SEO is perhaps the biggest, most tried-at and most failed-at aspect of internet marketing. There are various reasons for this; first, it is hard, and there is a lot of competition for those coveted 10 spots on the home page.
The biggest mistake though is doing SEO to keep Google happy, rather than doing what’s right for your visitors.
Here are some SEO activities which focus on the algorithm:
- Checking your keyword density for each page
- Using keywords to let Google know what your page is about
- Building links to fill up your link profile
- Being careful to use natural looking anchor text
- Writing 400 word articles as fast as you can
Here are some SEO activities which focus on the visitors:
- Using keywords because those are the right words to use
- Making sure your words convey the right message to users
- Building links to spread your brand and gain traffic & credibility
- Using anchor text that benefits the reader and gets clicked on
- Writing content that helps people, regardless of how long it takes
You don’t care enough
Arguably one of the biggest problems with online marketing is that most people don’t care enough about it. If you see it as a chore then you will always find yourself looking for shortcuts.
Marketing is all about people, and if you don’t care, it will show
So if you don’t enjoy the marketing part, try to focus on how passionate you are about your business and what you do. And if you can’t do that, maybe you should try a different career!
If you genuinely enjoy yourself, that will show; you will find that people will want to share your work and get in touch with you.
You’re too self-involved
Are your marketing efforts focused squarely on your business? If so, you’re forgetting an important proverb (slightly edited):
No business is an island!
Your results will depend a lot on your own efforts, but they will also depend on what your competitors are doing. So make sure that you are not overly self-involved, pay attention to what your competition is doing.
Here are some ideas:
- Write a list of your main competitors
- Visit each competitor’s website and take a screenshot
- Analyze how they are doing their SEO
- What do they offer that you don’t?
- Where is their focus?
- Sign up for their newsletter if they have one
Next, set up some Google alerts so that you are notified if their website changes and another alert so that you’re notified if any other websites enter your market place.
These activities will keep you in the loop so that you understand the rest of your market and what is going on and that understanding will help you to make better decisions and have better ideas.
You don’t know what’s working
Of course it’s possible that your marketing has strengths and weaknesses, but if you don’t know which are which, how can you hope to improve upon them? It is amazing for instance how many times we have heard a client say “I think PPC is about break even for us”.
The truth is that they just don’t know, because they aren’t tracking it correctly.
If you want to be successful in your Internet marketing, you need to be able to track your results. And that isn’t just limited to using Analytics and tracking your conversions.
You should also be tracking your brand so that you know when people are talking about you and what they are saying.
You’re spread too thin
Another of the more common problems that we see is people who are just spread too thin. There is a common misconception that you need to be active on every possible platform, but the reality is that overstretching yourself can mean that you fail at the lot.
- Choose 1 or 2 social networks to focus on
- Find time to maintain your blog and website
- Plan your weekly marketing activities
- Focus on the channels which generate traffic
Adam Green works as a digital marketing consultant for Digivate (learn more here). He is a self-confessed technology geek and loves working on the internet and helping small businesses to grow.