In today's ultra-competitive global economy, businesses can't afford to have any gaps in their online marketing strategy. While many successful companies have gotten with the times and expertly brought their brands online, I have observed many large businesses that are still stuck in the stone age. They have little or no online presence and it is detrimental to their bottom line for a wide variety of reasons. These include privately and publicly held companies worth millions or billions of dollars. There is really no excuse for this in the 2016 economy.
And then there are companies that simply have mediocre online marketing strategies. They have invested in some of the basics but aren't coming close to reaching their full potential. Ironically, many of these lagging companies I've researched supposedly "specialize" in marketing, technology, publishing, social media, analytics, and other areas that they themselves are failing in! It baffles me to observe these businesses because, in spite of their less-than-stellar digital marketing efforts, some of them are still very successful and generate enormous profits. The baffling part isn't necessarily that they do succeed, it's more the fact that they could hire 1-3 additional employees to sufficiently address these matters. For companies worth billions, it usually makes sense to hire a couple of affordable online marketing specialists and in turn enjoy an enormous return on investment.
Overall, I've noticed some trends of common mistakes or overlooked areas that apply to many businesses. From the companies I've analyzed with inadequate online marketing management, here are 5 major areas that I find consistently lacking:
1) Social Media Marketing:
Social Media Marketing is my specialty so I've already gone into this topic in great detail in my articles "Why Your Business Needs Social Media Marketing" Part 1, Part 2, and on SlideShare. I see many inferior social media marketing campaigns daily. On Facebook I see pages with minimal likes, no interaction, infrequent posts, and negative comments posted without any response. Sometimes a post is unprofessional, negative, irrelevant, or mentions a polarizing issue (politics or religion for example). On Twitter I often see lack of interaction, unpolished profiles (no header, fuzzy profile picture, no background, poor profile wording), inconsistent posts, or irrelevant posts. Pinterest and Instagram accounts may be incomplete, ineffective, or non-existent. On LinkedIn I see company pages that aren't optimized at all and haven't been updated in years. Don't get me started on the profiles with selfies as their professional pictures, or their empty summary and experience sections. "Growth Hacking Ninja" is not a real term that should be listed on what is essentially an online resume and portfolio that can be viewed by anyone in the world. The main issue I see on YouTube (besides low views and subscribers), is a lack of response to comments posted, including offensive language and spam. I usually see incomplete, minuscule, or non-existent Google+ profiles and pages as well. I know I've been a bit harsh about Google+ in the past, but it can certainly be a useful platform and most businesses should take advantage of it to cover their bases. On many of these platforms, the following : follower ratios may appear horrendous. Overall, I see a lack of consistency, interaction, professionalism, relevance, focus, and scale when it comes to many businesses and their social media marketing.
A lot of companies aren't monitoring feedback from their visitors, prospects, customers, or former employees. This includes review websites, business complaint sites, social media pages, forums, and more. It's crucial to monitor these pages to accentuate positive reviews and provide exceptional customer service to prevent negative reviews. If a negative review does occur, the situation needs to be rectified immediately. Organizations also shouldn't forget to monitor, correct, remove, or report any of the dozens or hundreds of business directories, aggregation sites, or spam sites that include your company's information. However, if you have an effective online marketing system in place, the overall significance and relevance of many of these inferior sites will be substantially decreased.
3) Employee Support:
Not everyone will agree with me on all of my thoughts on this topic, but I think everyone can agree that many employees have a vested interest in their company's success. If a company becomes more successful, it is more likely that the employees of that company will have greater opportunities and compensation. What I observe daily is a lack of employee online support and alignment. Employees do not link to their company's Facebook page. Employees do not properly link to their employer's LinkedIn company page. Mentions and hashtags are not mentioned in employee Twitter profiles. There are minimal likes, shares, or re-tweets. Employees complain about work in general or their specific company on social media channels. A worst-case scenario could involve a scandal resulting in extremely negative publicity. In summary, lack of employee support or improper online behavior by employees can certainly be detrimental to overall digital marketing efforts.
4) Sales / Monetization:
Why should businesses use online marketing? MONEY! That's the bottom line. Cut expenses, increase revenue. Improve how others view your company and it will improve your BOTTOM LINE! Everything that is published or managed online by a business should be achieving that goal directly or indirectly. But you would be surprised at the number of business websites and social media platforms that aren't generating revenue. Or they are only generating a fraction of the income they could be eliciting. Sure, the website may cover the basics such as general product or service information. But do they allow the purchase of products or services directly from the site? Are gift cards and merchandise available for the visitor to buy to generate income and grow the brand? Are advertising networks enabled to monetize traffic? Is an email newsletter in place to convert prospects or remind current customers to continue buying and sharing their experience? Are you requesting visitor information so that their data can be passed along to the sales team for potential conversion? These are the questions that businesses need to be asking to make sure they aren't missing out on opportunities to leverage their online presence financially.
5) Website Updates:
This is one of the simplest things but you'd be surprised how many companies don't update their main websites. Many companies are not updating their main website design or basic website information including contact information, logos, blogs, or their latest promotions. Many companies also use an outdated website that was designed years ago and it shows (especially when compared with a competitor's state of the art website). The company website is often the first experience a potential customer will have with your business. Make it a positive, dynamic, and user-friendly experience. A business website needs to be constantly evolving and improving to reflect company changes and current market trends. And don't forget that it is almost mandatory these days to have a mobile-friendly website to avoid Google pagerank penalties and negative user experience. And for the record, I understand that this website isn't exactly state-of-the-art, but it's supposed to be frugal, it works well overall, and has made me hundreds or thousands of dollars for every 1 dollar I've invested into it.
Try to keep your business from repeating these same mistakes and reap the benefits! Avoid the Digital Marketing Fail!
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As Always, Best Of Luck In Business To You All!
Owner & Marketing Consultant
HubSpot & HootSuite Certified
Boston / Providence / Worcester
Mike Schiemer Builds Better Business
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