HomeInternet Presence

Three Popular Online Marketing Strategies That May Be Hurting Your Business

Like Tweet Pin it Share Share Email

The following online marketing strategies may be pretty hot right now. But, they are burning many online business owners, and these people may not even know what hit them.

Online Marketing Strategies for Small BusinessesUnfortunately, online marketing has taken on a life of its own. The minute marketing is paired with the words Internet or social media it is transformed into this awe inspiring entity, and any ensuing discussion is predictably peppered with numerous, way over-used buzzwords like … immersive experience… ideation…. clickability… and, of course… Engagement (with a capital E).

The New Old in Modern Business Marketing

Many business owners today find themselves in a never-ending chase after the shiniest tools, platforms, and hacks, online marketing strategies that promise conversions and sales. Can you relate?

But, by doing so you may be missing a very, very important trend in what it takes to successfully market a business these days. Realize that Internet-based promotion in particular is fast becoming the new cold calling, face-to-face networking, and door-to-door sales.

What’s the common connection? They all involve personal contact in a way that just doesn’t happen with a billboard, a TV commercial, or a newspaper ad, and this contact with current and potential customers, the personalized interaction, is the vital key to success.

Now, there are many people technically talking about relationships and social media, but some how the main points are getting lost in translation. If the goal is to build real relationships and engagement, then things like broadcasting, being every where, and gathering as many emails as possible, just don’t make sense.

That said, here are three popular online marketing strategies that simply won’t generate profitable results for the majority of businesses these days- let alone micro businesses where the resources available for online marketing may be extremely limited.

Strategy #1: There is a formula to updating social media. What do I mean by this? How many times have you heard that you have to update your [Insert Popular Social Media Account Here] x number of times per day; include such and such kinds of updates; and only post during such and such hours? Usually, these proclamations are backed up with a hearty helping of user statistics and impressive engagement and conversion rates.

The problem is that times are changing. The Internet, countless email inboxes, and soon, mobile devices are being saturated with advertisements, offers, and other calls-to-action, so much so that people are both actively and instinctively shutting them out. Don’t bother trying compete with all the noise head on. You’ll have much more to gain by clearly and narrowly defining your target audience, and figuring out how to enter into the conversations that your customers are already having.

Strategy #2: You have to be everywhere. No you don’t!!! ( Unless you’re God, of course). This kind of message goes right up there with the one about needing to post numerous times per week on your blog. Don’t do it. You’ll just end up burning yourself out with little to show for all your efforts.

Instead, the name of the game is focusing where it counts, putting yourself and your message in front of the right people and in the right manner. Where ever you choose to spend your time online, you need to really, fully be there.

So, instead of broadcasting tweets into the twittersphere, look for conversations that are already happening (you can find them by searching for relevant keywords or hashtags via Twitter’s Advanced Search feature), and then just jump right in with a HUMAN response that adds value or connection- not a sales pitch nor canned, cut-and-paste gibberish. Instead of plastering LinkedIn with self-important expressions of your mastery in a given subject, find out which groups your target audience hangs out, and offer some real, no-strings-attached solutions to their problems. Instead of making blog comments to get a link back to your site, seek out sites that have the readership you’re looking for and find ways to engage other commentors.

Strategy #3: One of the most important online conversion goals is capturing emails and building a subscriber list. It’s all in the list? Not today! Get this point very clear: a subscriber list is only as good as the relationships you have with the people in that list. If you are capturing emails, then you have to do what you can to ensure that the people on your list truly want to be there. There are many ways to do this. One option is getting a good auto responder and creating a warm-up sequence of emails that let readers know a little bit about who you are, offer valuable content, and also encourage interaction. You can then separate out those subscribers who are actively giving you a response.

Bottom line: when it comes to promoting your business online, you can’t just go with the flow if you really want to succeed. Any online marketing strategies that aren’t helping you create connections and interactions with your target audience, aren’t helping your business no matter how many ways you slice it.

(Image Source)

Comments (4)

  • Although it makes my job a bit more difficult, I’m happy to hear that success will not come through robot-like automated messaging, but rather, as a result of personalized communication with the purpose of building relationships.

    I believe businesses — which are run by people, of course, but often take on a personality of their own — are still early in a process of transformation in which they are 1) realizing that traditional marketing methods are not as effective as they used to be; 2) being amazed and sometimes overwhelmed with the potential for reaching their market through digital channels; and 3) understanding that the consumer has way more control these days, which is why old marketing methods used with new channels can lead to disaster.

    The bottom line is that the people running businesses must get comfortable stepping from behind their logo and be willing to reveal themselves as people: accountable, responsible and caring human beings who can be trusted, and are willing to earn that trust.

    Doing this on a large scale is not an easy task. There is some strategy involved. But you’re right, the strategies that rely heavily on formulas, schedules and automated methods are too cold and calculating to build what consumers want these days: relationships with human beings. Ironically, they’re seeking them through online conversations on computers. But many businesses are misinterpreting that to mean they can act like robotic response systems.

    As I said, it’s a process and we’re working our way through the transformation. It’s not easy, but I like the direction we’re heading.

    • Hi Debi,

      I definitely agree with you about business owners needing to step out from “behind their logo”…

      But, what I find interesting is that it’s the bigger businesses that would more naturally have this problem- they totally leave out the human side because they have the resources to outsource and diversify their approach to marketing and customer service.

      It should be much more natural for smaller businesses to work on relationships, on personalizing their approach to marketing, and communicating with current customers. What happens instead, though, is that they try to copy what’s “working” for big companies, while neglecting their own strengths and unique qualities.

      Not only is that a lost cause because a small business is dealing with limited resources, but it makes the whole process much more complicated than it needs to be.

      Ultimately, I think all of these changes with online marketing will be extremely beneficial for those small companies that really “get” it and make it past that initial high learning curve.

  • I think you made an excellent point about how important it is to build relationship. That really seems to be the key these days.

    • Building relationships have always been a “key” to success particularly among small businesses. The problem is that over the past few years many small companies kind of lost themselves trying to figure out how to fit social media into their way of doing business, or they’ve done the opposite- ignored social media completely. Both approaches are off.

      Once you look at social media as an extension of what you are already doing, as a way to connect to your customers because that is where they are, then your whole approach will change with it.


Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: