5 Critical Mistakes Online Business Owners Make
June 25, 2009
Adapted from Guerrilla Marketing On The Internet by Mitch Meyerson, Jay Conrad Levinson and Mary Eule Scarborough
Mistake #1: Ready, Fire, Aim. Putting up a website with no planning
As any savvy small online business owner knows, it’s hard to get prospects interested enough to visit your website, so the last thing you want to do is disappoint them once they find you. Even worse, these website owners are not only missing golden opportunities, but they’re paying for services that are producing absolutely nothing.
Remember that it’s critically important to carefully plan every aspect of your website’s development – and all of your other Internet marketing efforts – before it goes live, as well as how it will be maintained and updated moving forward. Trust me, the moment you know where you’re going and how you’re going to get there you’ll feel a tremendous weight lifted off of your shoulders. And no matter where you are on the path, you can always move further along as long as you have the foresight to plan effectively first.
Mistake #2: Failing to research competitors and marketplace
It’s a great idea to take a look at the things you love to do most and see if there’s a way to turn those passions into viable products or services, but it’s not enough. If enough other people don’t share your enthusiasm and/or have no desire to purchase your products, you’re sunk. Additionally, it’s important to make sure the marketplace isn’t over saturated with competitors and you can create a unique niche that you can call your own.
And it always helps to check out your competitors – find out what they’re selling and how their websites, services, and prices compare with yours.
Go to Google and type in the same keywords you used in step one, see what you get, and visit several. As you’re looking the over jot down your answers to questions like:
How do their products and services compare with mine?
Are they priced similarly?
Do they have a wider, or narrower, selection?
What types of packages do they offer?
Then look for ways to make your site stand out by continuing to bore down into your niche for products that appeal to the same target market (your target audience size will be smaller, but you’ll attract more qualified prospects) or uncover unfulfilled needs.
Mistake #3: Developing websites that are poorly designed and difficult to navigate.
Online consumer research studies confirm that when visitors land on a website they experience “stay” or “go” moments within the first ten seconds. If it looks unprofessional or hard to use, they leave – and usually won’t be back. In other words, your target audience will judge you, your products and services, and company, in a snap and you’re likely to get only one chance to impress them.
Given this, all website owners should be doing everything they can to ensure that their online visitors are blown over by their website’s look, feel, and navigability. Unfortunately, however, this is often not the case at all. Instead, quite a few shortsighted entrepreneurs underestimate the negative impact of poorly written copy, amateurish design, and convoluted navigation.
Don’t annoy, or worse yet alienate, prospective customers because your cousin’s friend’s aunt’s next-door neighbor’s brother, the carpenter, volunteers to design your website on the cheap.
Mistake #4: Failing to Build Permission-Based Email Marketing Lists
If ask any successful Internet guerrilla marketer this question, “What is the holy grail of online marketing?” they’ll tell you it’s their email list. Regardless of whether they’re selling packaged products, giving away free information, or anything else in between, they will all be focused on obtaining their website’s visitors’ names and email addresses. Why? Because people who “opt in” have essentially given them permission to send them promotional emails and/or other information.
One of the reasons for this is that they erroneously believe that marketing is a “one-shot” transaction, so focus their efforts on making immediate sales, instead of using a sounder, relationship-building model.
Because Internet marketing is a lot like building a personal relationship – it takes time, effort and commitment to develop lasting bonds. In order to accomplish this you’ll need to create a system that leads your prospects down a comfortable and natural path to the first sale and many more after that. So, unless you sell “impulse-buy” products or your target audience is pre-sold before landing on your site – the two exceptions to this rule of thumb – we strongly encourage you to use a “marketing funnel” approach. This solid strategy works because it addresses two fundamental human psyche laws; consumers are more apt to purchase products and services from people and companies they know, like, and trust and it is more effective and less expensive to get more out of existing customers than it is to attract new ones.
Mistake #5: No traffic generation strategy
Many entrepreneurs erroneously believe in that the famous phrase “build it and they will come,” applies to their websites. They’re wrong. If you want to get people to your site, you need to understand the basic laws and contributory principles that govern Internet traffic, and apply them.
Guerrillas understand that great marketing is a methodical and accountable process and there are no secret “tricks” that will effectively drive tons of qualified visitors to your website.
But for now, keep in mind two things:
1. You goal should be to entice the “right” people to your website, not just warm bodies.
2. The “right” people don’t visit your website by happenstance. They’ll get there because you developed a comprehensive plan and executed it using well-thought-out strategies and tactics.
To Download 20 Time Tested strategies to get traffic to your site visit: