39 Mind-Boggling Online Marketing Mistakes that Companies Make

web marketingBusinesses of all types do a lot of strange things when it comes to online marketing. Sometimes logic seems to take a back seat.

Online marketers and other corporate executives are often bright folks who actually lead successful businesses. But some of their Internet-related decisions are just mind-boggling.

Here are just some of the ones I’ve encountered over the years – some shared by friends and others I experienced first-hand. Unfortunately, it’s apparent that many of these happen all of the time.

Businesses would avoid a lot of aggravation if executives just turned to some seasoned experts before going down costly paths. You can learn a little by getting a free copy of my new study, “Small Businesses Just Don’t Get SEO.”

What goofy, real-life scenarios do you come across?

1. I’m going to pay $2,500 for one person to attend a 4-day Internet conference in Vegas and I don’t have an implementation plan to use whatever Bob or Mary learn along the way.

2. Bob or Mary took in as many of the 60 sessions as possible and they’re overwhelmed. They don’t know where to begin. I haven’t held them accountable to ask good questions or connect with speakers for some free, post-conference advice.

3. I don’t give my employee the time to dive deeper once he or she returns from a conference.

4. I thought it would be neat to buy a domain about cheap airline tickets, build 15 pages,  and mistakenly expect it to rank No. 1 for airline tickets on major search engines. With my head in the clouds, I completely missed the fact that my domain has the word “cheap” in it and I could leverage that for long tail keyword phrases over time. I should have picked up something like the Ultimate SEO Keyword Selection Guide. It’s FREE.

5. I insisted on putting my phone number at the very bottom of the home page right next to the copyright symbol thinking everyone would look there instead of up high near my logo. I didn’t consider an attractive font that someone could actually see.

6. I wrote 20 short paragraphs and then invited the reader to call my business after the last paragraph. I was thinking someone would read every word. I  should have focused on a catchy keyword-rich page header, subheads, bulleted text, hyperlinked keywords and boldfacing to guide the visitor while using the web site design, navigation and key pages to help them reach my business.

7. I found a sensational $100 Google AdWords coupon and opened an account to get all of that free web site traffic, but now I don’t know what to do or how to set up the campaigns.

8. I decided with all of my expertise to run an Google AdWords program, not realizing  that Google fakes you out and makes it look really simple. I did it anyway, picked out words that I thought people would use. I was wrong.

9. I don’t know the difference between broad, phrase and exact match with pay-per-click, but I paid Google anyway hoping for the best.

10.  I wrote ads and stayed within the character limits, but I didn’t even look at successful examples in my own industry or anywhere else – skipping the numerous case studies offered throughout the Internet.

11. I took all of the paid search visitors to my home page that hasn’t been updated in 14 years  (the web site  my nephew made when he was 14 with that tiny phone number you might miss). And no one called. I’m not sure why.

12. I didn’t look at the account setting defaults, so auto-tagging wasn’t on and I won’t be able to tell what keywords are organic and which are paid in my Google Analytics.

13. I spent $300 with nothing to show for it, feeling ripped off. It never dawned on me that $300 may not be enough and that I should have taken visitors to interior pages that my nephew actually structured better (for some reason he put the phone number higher and on pages that better matched the ad text).

14. I didn’t make custom landing pages because I didn’t know that was possible because I never hired anyone to tell me what’s best to do. I thought custom had to do with custom suits and custom sports cars and people you meet after an international flight.

15. I’m a Fortune 500 executive and I’ll show my bosses how smart I am by giving millions of dollars to Google and Microsoft for paid ads and ignore even the most fundamental SEO practices that could drive thousands of visitors to my web site without needing to pay search engines for them.

16. I won’t write or pay someone to create  industry articles for national publications to share my experience and convey my expertise (and get a quality inbound link along
the way).

17. I’ll pay my team to pay hundreds of dollars to a news release service for a seminar that no journalist will write about, but I won’t pay $90 to get the word out about an how-to industry guide that generates new leads every time someone requests a copy while sharing their name, phone and e-mail address. I won’t do it because it never occurred to my staff to do it and I never wanted to hire a consultant for his or her advice.

18. The online marketer on my staff is expected to be well-versed in SEO, paid search, e-mail marketing, link building, social media, online video production, HTML, web site analytics, and something about QR codes. On top of that, they handle a good portion of business development (read: sales), work closely with clients, write proposals, attend numerous business association events, coordinate all of our seminars, write our newsletter and 8 other essential tasks.

19. I want more visitors to come to my restaurant web site, but I don’t want to deal with them if they make it into the restaurant. I like to be behind the scenes. I want to hire a general manager to deal with the new customers. However, I can’t afford to hire the general manager because I don’t have the extra customers. They aren’t finding my place because I won’t spend money to get them here. I don’t know what to do.

20. I have a new service that no one knows about. In fact, I couldn’t begin to tell you what keywords someone might use to find it because they don’t know its value or that the service even exists. I didn’t take the time to pay someone to help me think through this dilemma and help me develop a strategy. For example, I didn’t think about using keywords people might use for a traditional service, using my well-designed web page to explain how my new service compares or why it’s better. I didn’t realize I could test out keywords with paid search and specific landing pages with compelling calls to action to see how people respond. I didn’t know it was possible to introduce a new keyword phrase and promote it through social media, groups within LinkedIn, through my blog (if I had one), my web site, news releases, online videos and more.

21. I don’t mind having  a blog, but I don’t want to write anything. I’d rather not react to industry trends, talk about new technology advances, offer personal insights about how businesses can manage more effectively, explain how to save money, provide tips on how to avoid regulatory penalties or explain what I’ve done through the years to solve major business problems. I’d rather not comment on other popular blogs to showcase my expertise and encourage people to visit my web site.

22. I’d like to pay $250 a month and be No. 1 for any keyword I choose through SEO. Someone told me  that’s my expectations are just a  “tad” high.

online marketing service23.  I prefer to overwhelm my left-hand navigation with many choices that satisfy all of the things that interest me to the dismay of new visitors and prospects who leave quickly because they don’t know how to use my web site.

24. I’m going to sell products online, but I won’t include real testimonials or invest in third-party validation seals that could assure a visitor that they’re about to do business with a trusted web site.

25. I don’t want to offer free shipping because I don’t know how to establish products and pricing at levels that would allow for margins that could accommodate free shipping that my competitors manage to promote.

26. I’ll pay $40,000 and accept all of the lost productivity for an annual trade show (flight, booth, shipping, lodging, food, and more) to get 68 leads. But I won’t pay $20,000 for an online marketing program to generate hundreds of leads.

27. I require people to log-in first before they can begin to buy something through my online store. I’d rather not get their full attention and interest in a product before asking them for contact and shipping information.

28. I just got done making a beautiful site that has a sensational design with awesome colors that complement each other. And it doesn’t have a single word in regular text so search engines  won’t have anything to find and I won’t appear on search engines until I own up a poor choice in a designer who led me astray. No one told me that Flash animation could greatly inhibit a web site’s ability to get indexed. No one suggested that Flash be used sparingly to explain a product or service.

29. I made my own web site and my home title says “Home.” Since I’m not in the real estate market, that won’t even begin to help me in any way.

30. I just took three hours to write 225 keyword phrases for the keyword meta tag on each of my 5 main pages only to find out that it was a waste of time. An online marketing firm sales rep set me straight.

31. My designer  made page headers that really look sharp. But since they’re not in text, my rankings will suffer on search engines that read text, not images.

32. I offer online psychics for a fee, but I can’t predict when I’ll be No. 1 on Google.

33. I sell adult toys, novelties, massage oil and clothes, but I don’t want to be found for popular anatomical or profane-based keywords – just “romantic gifts” and that sort of thing. Apparently, I just have high standards.

34. I have a lead-generation site with very little original content and few inbound links, but I want to be on the first page of Google for “insurance.” It didn’t dawn on me that I should find a particular niche and exploit that rather than take on the most competitive aspect of a giant  industry.

35. Through a series of several dynamic menus, I decided to present deep levels of navigation off any page – forcing visitors to encounter all aspects of my web site at every turn. I later discovered that usability and natural rankings would improve significantly after I finally paid someone to fix my poorly conceived web site.

online marketing mistakes36. I didn’t want to pay for search engine optimization because I wouldn’t be able to handle the extra sales that would put a strain on my operations and quality standards that needed attention. Over the next year, my sales fell off anyway and I laid off over 20% of my workforce because I couldn’t land enough new business.

37. I argued with my search engine optimization provider about the need for very broad keyword phrases like “interior doors,” “power tools,” and “employee management,” not realizing my conversions would be higher with long tail phrases that would have ranked higher  in the first place.

38. I picked a content management system for my large company only to find out later that the page title, page header and navigation were so closely aligned that they all had to have the same words with no flexibility in the page header words or page title.

39. I overstuffed my response forms with so many fields and questions – including 15 checkboxes for how someone found the web site – that I discouraged people from filling out the forms (over-zealous, pre-qualification sure has a price).

Questions? Contact me today at World Synergy at 440.349.4940 ext. 635. Let’s get you squared away.