Web Strategies for Small Businesses: Mistakes to Avoid Online

The rise of the Internet has given businesses a new realm in which to interact with and market to customers. However, with every great new innovation comes issues that, if neglected, have the potential to harm a business. Vedran Tomic, in an article for Small Business Trends, outlines five mistakes small businesses should avoid when it comes to marketing on the Internet.

First on the list is failing to understand the basics of Internet marketing. Although Tomic’s article was written in 2010, this remains an issue. Small business owners still wear many hats and, as a result, may not have the time to learn everything there is to know about search engine optimization, pay per click, or conversion rate optimization. This lack of knowledge or understanding may lead a small business to outsource its online marketing efforts. Outsourcing comes with its own set of problems, ranging from something as simple as being overcharged for services to something as severe as being the victim of a down right scam. Tomic believes you can mitigate these potential problems by avoiding Internet marketing businesses “that solicit you without any professional affiliations, [have] no certifications, can not promptly prove their track record, guarantee high organic rankings, will not consider being paid for performance, [have] lots of bad reviews, cannot provide references, and are not members of local business associations such as the BBB or their chamber of commerce.”

Having a subpar website is another mistake many small businesses make. If someone were to list the most important areas businesses need to focus on in order to be successful, undoubtedly good customer service would be near the top of that list. Good customer service is important because, whether it is in person or over the phone, employees tend to be the first interaction your customers have with your business. Therefore, these employees are essentially the face of your business and if that face does not smile, is rude, or unhelpful; customers are not likely to return. A website works in much the same way. It is the digital representation of your business on the Internet and, as such, should be treated as another extension of good customer service. Tomic states that “subpar web design and development can cause credibility issues, low conversion rates, problems with search engines, usability issues, [and] all theses problems can cost a business a lot more than a professionally built site.”

The final piece of advice comes from an article written by Juliana Weiss-Roessler. Using social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, etc. can be a double-edged sword. It is good to maintain a relationship with your customers and engage with them using these social media sites, and it is a seemingly easy way to do so. However, you must be careful of what you say. Too many posts attempting to sell your product or services may end up getting you labeled a spammer. The idea is not to directly sell your services but rather to keep your business in the back of your customers’ minds so that when they need your service they naturally think of you. Post links to articles you believe your customers would like to read, engage them by posting questions, etc. but make sure the content relates in some way to what your business does. Finally, if you decided to have a Facebook business page and post or a Twitter account and Tweet make sure to do it consistently.  As Weiss-Roessler says “you can’t have a website and not answer the email you receive, and it’s just as bad of an idea to start blogging, Tweeting, or posting Facebook messages on your pages and then stop because you’ve lost interest or the time to do it.”


To read Verdan Tomic’s complete article click here

To read Juliana Weiss-Roessler’s complete article click here

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