While you are setting up your first-ever business website, you probably will read dozens of articles from industry experts explaining just what you should focus on to make your site sell. Consumers certainly turn to the Web for specific information on products and services, and doing your research will help you convince your target consumers that your goods are what they want.
Unfortunately, the Web is a wide place, and you are more than likely to come across quite a bit of advice that sounds good — but isn’t. Here are seven examples of specious tips and tricks that won’t help your business grow online.
1. “Be an Expert”
Five years ago, building an online presence based on your status as “subject expert” was a genius marketing move, but now that the Web is saturated with non-experts claiming in-depth knowledge, most consumers are no longer interested in connecting with so-called experts, despite any niche information they might provide. Tired of being tricked, most consumers instead seek out familiar faces — people like themselves who have similar problems and provide simple solutions. By shaping your brand into the expert mold, you will only drive away your online audience.
2. “Use Social Media”
To be fair, social media is an important step in cultivating an online audience, but most advice-givers are misleading about the power of sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Again, five years ago, social media was new to businesses and consumers alike, and wielding a large social following was impressive and important. Today, most social media sites charge businesses for outreach; organic reach is virtually impossible and bestowed only on a lucky few. Thus, using social media to gain an online reputation is hard and slow — especially if you lack a substantial marketing budget.
3. “Email Is Dead”
Email started gaining popularity in the early ‘90s, but since then, technology has provided dozens of other, less rigid ways to communicate: instant messaging, texting, social media, and more. However, if anything, email is more alive than ever before. Each member of your audience has at least one email address — most probably have two or three — and 91 percent of email users check their inboxes daily.
According to the Direct Marketing Association, email marketing endeavors have an average return on investment of about 4,300 percent. That stat alone should make you reconsider your email strategy.
4. “Keywords Rule”
Search engine optimization (SEO) has been touted as the be-all, end-all of Internet marketing tactics. The mantra goes: Load your content with keywords, and watch the consumers flood in. Unfortunately, SEO just doesn’t work like that. SEO is a building block of good website construction, but it is not nearly as important as creating a fast, intuitive site that your audience wants to visit. Instead of overstuffing your Web pages with obvious keywords, you should focus on finding a valuable web host (like any on Top 10 Best Web Hosting) and a trustworthy designer to build a simple and intuitive site, which will help you in search engine rankings.
5. “Fear Sells”
Well, this isn’t the worst advice you could get; fear does, in fact, sell quite well. Fear-based marketing is the reason so many impractical, unnecessary products, like SUVs and breath fresheners, became so common in our society. However, few people will tell you that it isn’t just fear that encourages consumers to buy — it is any emotion. A number of studies have found that people are much more likely to share and discuss joy-generating stories, which can help you better build your online brand.
6. “Carve a Niche”
The driving belief behind the cult of business niches is that it is much easier to excel when you don’t have any competition. However, dismally few online businesses have something truly new and unique to offer consumers, and trying to make your products and services seem distinctive and one-of-a-kind may scare away consumers who are simply looking for alternative options. Instead of wasting your time trying to carve out a niche that might not exist, you should find out who your audience is and market to them.
7. “Wait It Out”
It is easy to believe that your luck will change eventually and that success will find you. Unfortunately, it isn’t true. Patience is never a virtue in business. Especially online, you will never have time to dally when your consumers’ wants and needs can change in a matter of hours. If your current tactic isn’t working, you must begin experimenting with new ones, or your business will crumble into Internet dust.
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