Internet marketing can be very powerful, but it needs to be done right to be effective. Many Internet marketing rookies -- and even some veterans -- continue to make the same types of mistakes in their online marketing efforts. Here are a few marketing mistakes to watch out for and avoid.
- Making viewers wait. People expect the Internet to be fast. If your server is slow or use graphics that take two minutes to download, you can say goodbye to your potential customers. To market yourself effectively, you need to put your information in front of people quickly. See Three Rules for Building Fast-Loading Web Pages for more information.
- Technical arrogance. Do not assume that everyone has the latest version of a program to view your site. Not everyone has Macromedia's Flash installed, for example. Always have plain HTML and text versions at the ready for these users.
- Not marketing offline. The goal is driving traffic to your site, but no one is online all the time. To successfully market an Internet site, you need market offline, too.
- Not listing your site with search engines It is surprising how many people use search engines constantly but do not bother to get their sites listed on these very same search engines. You should manually list yourself with each search engine to make sure you are listed where you want to be. Since search engines are different, find out how to move up on their listings. For more information about search engine submission and optimization, see the Search Engine Optimization & Marketing section.
- Not remaining timely. Far too many businesses let their Web sites go fallow. You need to stay current if you hope to attract customers. If you’ve got marketing material on your site about a Memorial Day special and it’s June 15th, you’re losing customers.
- Poor partnering. Be very careful with whom you align yourself. Some spammers and spyware companies operate co-registration and affiliate programs that violate the CAN-SPAM act and other rules and regulations. Before you sign an agreement with any third party, investigate your potential partner and be sure they are operating above board.
- Giving users the third degree. If you are trying to interest customers in signing sign up for a newsletter or make a purchase, do not make them jump through hoops or answer a battery of questions. Each question you ask subscribers, beyond name and email address, will cost you 10 to 15 percent of your potential customers.
- Not using viral marketing. Having your customers market for you is very cost effective. From a simple “forward to a friend” link to two for one offers to offline marketing on t-shirts and other accessories that your customers can wear, you can benefit by the use of viral marketing – also known as "word of mouth" marketing in the offline world.
- Not collecting email addresses, To market successfully online, you need people to market to. Take every opportunity to collect email addresses from your visitors to create a permissioned list to continue marketing to your target audience.
- Spamming. Do not succumb to the temptation of spamming. Market via permissioned lists only. If you have any doubts or you are not sure whether or not you are spamming, do not send your mailing. Even one questionable mailing could be enough for you to get labeled a spammer by ISPs, which will make it difficult, if not impossible, for you to do email marketing in the future. Click here to learn more about staying on the right side of spam legislation.
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