As a Brisbane business, whether you’re starting up or established, making an error in your digital marketing can have a powerful negative effect on your success both online and ultimately, as a business. The good news is that if you can identify those mistakes and avoid or fix them, you stand an excellent chance of succeeding.
If you managed to visit our live presentation on the subject delivered to the Junior Chamber of Commerce at Little Tokyo Two, you’ll already be well apprised of these important points. If you weren’t able to join us though, here are 9 common mistakes that businesses make when they start their digital marketing campaign – and how to avoid their pitfalls.
To think that you can start implementing online marketing techniques such as SEO or social media without having a clear idea of what your goals are and how you’ll achieve them can be a costly expense. At its core, marketing is about getting your product or business in front of as many eyes as possible, and ignoring or failing to strategically capitalise on a growing space where your business can be seen is throwing unrivaled potential down the drain.
Seriously think about the best strategy to get your business in front of the people you want to attract, and take your ideas and questions to the right digital marketing agency to refine and improve on your plans. It’ll end up paying for itself in the long run.
On the surface, templated websites are an easy and ‘affordable’ solution for a business looking to develop a web presence. But just because it’s easy doesn’t mean that it’ll do you any good. Typically, templated websites have poor load speeds, lend themselves to content duplication which could lead to poor Google rankings, limited functionality and involve leasing your template or site from someone you don’t know.
The better choice is to develop a custom website. This means that your site will be made to suit your needs and your style. A custom site is more secure, and built with the future in mind, allowing you to expand your site as you grow. When you control everything you can properly build it for SEO purposes and to upgrade and update your site over time. Best of all, you own the site and have total control over it.
There is only so much space on a website, and only so much patience a reader has as they scroll through it. Because of this, it’s important that anything you put on your website is there for a reason. Every piece of content from images, text, video, even the colour of the background has to be there for a reason and filling a purpose. Perhaps it’s to set the mood, or to draw the eye toward a link you want your readers to click, but every piece of content has to pull its weight. With such a limited time and space to make an impact you want to make sure that you’ve got the best chance of catching the attention of your audience and turning them from potential customers to buyers.
Use multimedia strategically, it’s a powerful resource if used correctly. Have punchy, relevant, concise text to make your point as quickly and impactfully as possible. Use images or infographics to enhance your points without distracting. Engage with every pixel of screen space you have.
You’ve got a website, excellent. It’s a great step forward, but that’s not all you’re going to need. Even if the web design is world-class, it’s still not a guarantee of success. The web is a highly competitive online market, and trying to compete for attention is a difficult challenge. A website simply thrown into this ocean of content will quickly sink to the bottom if it isn’t cared for. Using good SEO techniques and creating outstanding work consistently to keep your website fresh is crucial to keeping yourself ahead of the competition. Your customer base should inform your decisions on how to work with more than just your website. If you’re a serviced-based business for example, a Google search is one way to be discovered, which is why good web design and SEO techniques are important. If you sell products then social media is a crucial aspect of online activity to harness.
Of course, there is a way to get ahead by using paid search results. This, however, is not a one-stop solution. Paying to appear high on search results puts you at the mercy of advertising platforms. Paid searches are becoming increasingly competitive and costly, as more companies try to get their nose ahead of their competition. Ranking highly with organic searches with thoughtful SEO tactics is key to saving money and being discovered without relying on paid search result where every click on an ad costs you money.
A good example would be hairdressing client we worked with last year. We helped them rank on the first page of Google for over 200 keywords with no ads. If each keyword was a paid result, it would have costed over six thousand dollars a month to run. Paid searches are a good way to get yourself in the door, but if you want lasting results without emptying your pockets into Google’s coffers, organic search ranking should be your top priority.
Social media is growing in popularity rapidly, and is a great opportunity for a business looking to target specific audiences. Services like Facebook can let you advertise to an audience based on their age, location, interests and more in a visual advertisement. This targeted approach allows you to reach the people who would be most interested and receptive to what your business is offering. In addition to the ability to target your audience far more accurately, advertising on social media is often much cheaper, and a more cost-effective way of making yourself known to the people who you want to know you. It also gives you a more human face, allowing you to interact with your audience on a much more personal level, meaning that your business image is no longer that of a faceless company. A great asset as people like to do business with other people, not with a corporation.
Your customers will tell you what they want. Sometimes they’ll do this by writing you a letter or making a phone call. The most honest way they’ll tell you though is with their actions. By using data analysis techniques and tools, you can see what your customers respond to, what they like and what they don’t like.
For beginners, Facebook and Google Analytics both offer statistic analysis of your page and website. You can see what people click on, how long they visit for, and how often. You can track almost every conceivable metric by which you can measure how a website does. Combine this with a heatmap app such as Crazy Egg and see exactly where people look on your page and what the most popular link they click on is with a handy visual guide for a complete picture on how your site is doing.
The use of further testing such as with A/B testing can show what layout, wording, colour scheme or anything else you can think of is most effective and popular can help you zero in on what your customers want to see and how you can cater to that want. Using this data you can improve your website or page beyond its original design to create a user-first, customised experience for your audience.
PR opportunities come in a variety of forms. From appearing on the news, being given a radio spot, or having an interview with the local paper, these are all a chance to get your brand and business to a wide audience on the back of another party’s media reach. By appearing on a medium, whether that’s TV, radio or print, that people trust, that trust and good standing will be attributed to your business as well. Your SEO will improve as you appear in multiple places, and these opportunities are the perfect chance to make your brand and business more human (not to mention through all the link building). They’re a great time to make a personal appearance and tell your story, and to give a human face to your business.
Mobile phones’ portability and ubiquity have made them the major platform that people use to browse the web. Because of this, it’s more important than ever to have a website that is mobile-optimised. Browsing a site designed for desktop on the tiny screen of a mobile phone is a huge disincentive for your audience to deal with you. It’s an unprofessional look that damages your credibility and encourages your viewers to leave.
If you’re looking to expand beyond the garage, embrace Mobilgeddon and get a mobile-friendly site with all the same web design and SEO tactics that would go into your main website.
For all the business owners out there, in Brisbane and beyond, carefully consider these 9 mistakes that others have made and figure out how to address them. A digital marketing plan is just as important as figuring out the ins and outs of running your business itself. You may have the best business in the world, but if your potential customers can’t find you, you’ll have a very difficult time making it a successful one.
Joe Fox is Studio Culture’s Business and Development Director.