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Customer Experience

Are you making these common online marketing mistakes?

Sara Howard
Smarter Writer

As a business owner and writer, Sara Howard has first-hand experience in marketing, cash flow management and technology

Sara Howard
Smarter Writer

As a business owner and writer, Sara Howard has first-hand experience in marketing, cash flow management and technology

Highlights
  • Sharing user-generated content and proving interesting non-product focused information can boost consumer trust.
  • Free marketing apps can give your materials a professional look that engages consumers.
  • Understand Australian anti-spam laws and ensure your email marketing campaigns include unsubscribe links.

We’re in the middle of a digital marketing revolution, with an array of digital tools and technologies available to small businesses. But, as with any tool, it’s how you use it that really matters.

Today’s marketing technology increasingly empowers small businesses to manage their own digital, social media and email campaigns. But if you’re a specialist in your business field – and that specialisation isn’t marketing – it’s easy to make mistakes that risk alienating your customers.

Man rubbing his eyes while working on a laptop 	Take advantage of today’s marketing technology to avoid mistakes that could alienate your customers.

Here are five common online marketing mistakes that could impact your customer experience – and how you can fix them.

1. Not understanding your customer

First, work out where your customers are online. According to the 2017 Sensis Social Media Report, of the 79 per cent of Australians using social media, 94 per cent use Facebook and 46 per cent Instagram. But those numbers don’t reveal the whole story. While Facebook serves a wider demographic, Instagram is the place to be if you’re targeting millennials – and potentially delivers higher consumer brand engagement. So, it’s also worth investigating how your target audience interacts with brands in each online space.

Meanwhile, the 2018 Telstra Small Business Intelligence report revealed that 83 per cent of customers ranked search engines as ‘important’ or ‘very important’ when finding or considering a business, with 47 per cent of customers under 40 using a search engine to find a business at least once a day. Knowing what they’re searching for and the search terms they’re using could help you to be more easily found by customers when they’re ready to buy.

2. Not providing what they’re looking for

These online habits can provide clues to where your customers might be found online and how they find products and businesses like yours. But do you also know what they expect from your brand?

Most people expect you to be on social media, with Sensis also revealing that 64 per cent of customers visit a brand’s social page before making an online purchase. So with only 47 per cent of small businesses on social, now is the prime opportunity to get ahead of the game.

Whether you’re using email or social, customers love visual content. As for building trust, a 2017 AdWeek surveyi found that 76 per cent of people find content posted by other consumers to be more honest than branded content – so encourage and share user-generated content such as photos of your product in use, or reviews.

3. No measurable targets

How will you know if your marketing activities are successful if you don’t measure the right things?

First, set your objectives and identify how you’ll measure if you’ve succeeded. For example:

• Lead generation = the click-through rate to your product pages or form completions (such as requests for follow up).
• Brand awareness = engagement (likes, shares, comments) on your content and sentiment (positive versus negative mentions). 
• Sales = conversion rate of leads into customers.

Each marketing objective may need a different type of content. By tracking engagement, sentiment, click-through and conversion you’ll get a very clear idea of which content is working and which isn’t. Hint: use great visuals and minimal copy.

4. Not using free marketing apps

You may not be a marketing professional but you can still look the part, even when you’re just starting out or putting an experimental toe in the water. Dodgy graphics or designs will push customers away and erode trust in your brand. Here are some free marketing tools you can use to create great looking content that your customers will love:

  • Bomaii – a platform designed to make email and social campaigns easy
  • Unsplashiii – beautiful, free stock images 
  • Canvaiv – simple graphic design software for the non-graphic designer
  • Lumen5v – easy-to-use video content creator.

Of course, as your social media marketing strategy grows, you may need more features or the capability to manage a larger social media presence, which is when you might consider upgrading to a premium or paid app.

5. Not knowing the rules of engagement

As is true offline, you can quickly turn off your customers if you don’t show the appropriate etiquette. You could also find yourself in legal hot water if you don’t know some basic marketing regulations. Here are some essential no-nos to be aware of before clicking ‘send’ or posting on social:

  • Unsolicited messages or mishandling unsubscribe requests = SPAM. Find out how to avoid complaints (and a possible fine) at acma.gov.auvi.
  • Sending EDMs (electronic direct mail) without testing. Learn how to improve your emails with our email marketing tips.
  • Ignoring social comments or (worse!) queries or complaints. Social media is a fast paced environment where people will expect you to reply within hours, not days.
  • Only pushing your products and brands. Focus on what will interest your audience – as a rule of thumb, balance 20% sales-driven content with 80% that will inform, engage or entertain your followers and subscribers.  
  • Not acknowledging your sources. If you’re sharing other people’s content – including reviews and images provided by customers – make sure you give them credit.

Your goal is to keep your customers happy – no matter where they are in the purchase journey.

Read more about how your business can find and nurture more customers online.

Download the 2018 Small Business Intelligence Report

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