Make no mistake about it; online marketing is a big deal these days. The advertising and marketing press spend an inordinate amount of time talking about it, so it must be, right? Or maybe not.
Of course, online marketing is important for businesses of any size and from any industry. And, there’s no doubt it has changed the way we do business on a global scale. But, it isn’t the be-all and end-all of marketing, and it has perpetuated a lot of big myths.Today, we’re going to take a look at ten of the most common things you might hear from online marketers – and explain why not all is what it seems.
1.You only need online marketing
Online marketing was supposed to herald the beginning of the end for traditional advertising. TV ads were going to become a thing of the past, and direct mail and telephone call calling would follow them out of the door.
Well, unfortunately for the prophets of online marketing, it hasn’t quite worked out like that. Direct marketing is still as effective as ever – as are making cold calls. And, TV advertising has never enjoyed greater figures than it currently does today. Sure, online marketing has added something brilliant to the mix. But, to suggest it is the only avenue you should pursue is nothing short of barmy.
2.If you build it, they will come
So, you got yourself a website – congratulations! However, it’s not enough to just ‘have’ a website. Just like a garden, it needs tending to and looking after – and a lot of planning beforehand. It doesn’t matter how amazing your business, service, or product is; if you want to attract the right visitors, it takes more than just a website.
First of all, you need a strategy and a reason to have an online home. What is its purpose? Do you want to make more sales, or attract an audience? Maybe you want to show off your knowledge and become an industry authority. Or, maybe you want a little bit of everything.
The point is, don’t just have a website because everyone else has one. Create one that has value and adds to your business goals.
3.You need more traffic
Most businesses see more online visitors as a sure sign of success. And why not? All those SEO and social media strategies must be coming together at last! The trouble is, of course, that not all traffic is equal. And, a good deal of the hits on your website are likely to come from sources other than human. Bots and software programs make up well over half of the traffic on the web – some of it for good purposes, but the vast majority are fraudulent. Because traffic is such a commodity, you can buy and sell it just like any other product.
So, when you call Dave’s Dodgy SEO and tell them you need more traffic, they might just buy bots, send them your way, and charge you a lot of money. Your traffic numbers are up, so you are happy to hand over the cash. But, no one is reading what you’re writing or buying what you are selling. You don’t need more traffic – you need more quality traffic.
Big data can be a useful tool for finding out a lot about your customers. Many big businesses have enjoyed excellent results from using it – so much so, in fact, that everyone seems to be jumping on board the big data train. But, do they know where it’s going? And, is big data the future?
Well, it might well make up some of it – but data can’t tell you everything. Especially when you take into account the sheer volume of unclear data that you base your entire marketing campaign on (see above). All the data in the world won’t give you the creative spark you need to sell a product, or boost a brand name . You might find out where your ideal customer hangs out, but you still have to talk to them in their language, inspire them, and compel them to buy stuff.
5.I can get you rank first on Google
It’s Dodgy Dave again – and this time, he’s back with promises! SEO is a complicated subject to the outsider, and this means there are plenty of firms out there that can take you for a ride – if you let them. If you ever get a promise of a top ranking from an SEO firm, choose another one. It’s a promise no one can make, and even Matt Cutts himself would probably struggle to guarantee a top spot.
Instead of falling into this trap, do some homework on SEO yourself – and every firm you choose to work with. Check out this SEO Outsourcing Guide to get started.
6.There is only Google
One important thing to remember is that there is more than one search engine. Everyone knows about Google – so much so that it has become a verb. And, yes; they are responsible for the vast majority of web searches. But, don’t forget about the others, such as Bing. Facebook and other social media services have their search engines, too. So, when you do choose an SEO company to work with, make sure they know their onions about SEO as a whole, not just for Google. You could miss out on a whole bunch of business if you don’t.
7.Content is King
Content – and content marketing – have both been enormous buzzwords in recent years. And, many people working in content and online marketing will tell you that ‘ content is king .’ Well, it’s certainly important – but there’s no way we would give it a crown. The design of your site is just as important as the words and images that you use. The amount of time it takes to load a page is another big factor that can attract or repel your visitors. User experience and conversion are other massive issues that you can’t afford to leave out. So, go to town on content by all means.
Just be aware that it is part of a package that brings some excellent benefits. It’s certainly not the king, prince – or even a duke.
8.Email is dead
One of the biggest myths about content is that it was going to replace direct selling online, such as emails. According to ‘experts’, people just don’t want to be sold to anymore. They want to look at infographics or watch a video instead. The only problem is, the figures suggest that email is still very much the best way of getting big results with your online marketing. And, that fact doesn’t look like changing much for the foreseeable future.
9.Join the conversation!
Social media has to be one of the biggest disappointments ever for marketers. In the early days, it was going to be revolutionary for brands. It was going to offer the opportunity for free advertising, and it was a total game changer for all businesses. Sadly, it hasn’t lived up to anywhere near what people thought. And, in fact, what some people still think!
In short, some businesses have enjoyed tremendous successes with Facebook, Twitter, and all the rest. In truth, however, they are in the minority. The idea of a free advertising platform was a short-lived one. Unless you have paid ads, your Facebook posts will only be seen by around 1% of your followers. And, those supporters are likely to be existing customers, anyway.
The biggest issue of social media is that it gives you little return on your investment. While many companies are having a great time interacting with people, it’s all well and good. But few are getting anything back regarding sales.
10. People love brands
A final point on the social media branch of online marketing. As we mentioned above, there is a trend of marketers believing that people don’t want to be sold to and that social media is changing the landscape. Instead, people want to engage with your brand and talk about you with their friends. They have personal relationships with brands, now – perhaps even loving them. Of course, a quick check at the research will tell you otherwise. In fact, more than nine in ten consumers would drop you like a hot potato if a better alternative came along tomorrow. So, the next time a social media expert speaks to you about getting social with your fire door making business, think twice about hiring them.
Think about yourself, as an example. When was the last time you felt the need to engage with your favourite brand of peanut butter? When did you last join in on the conversation about the pros and cons of Toilet Duck? If you can answer either of those questions, our guess is that you might well be an online marketer.
OK, so that’s your lot. Check out the rest of our blog for some more tips and advice on the online business world. Until next time!