Each week, I have numerous conversations with small business owners, professional marketers and webmasters. If you're like most of these people, there's 3 mistakes I can assume with almost 100% certainty that you're making.

What makes it really bad is that, if you are making these mistakes, it's hard to predict, measure and constantly increase your traffic and lead volume. If you can't do that, you can't determine an ROI on the time and money you spend on your internet marketing. Anyone in business, should be in control of how resources are being used to grow it. If you're making these mistakes, you're not really in control.

If you're not making these 3 mistakes, kudos to you:  

Mistake #1: Keyword Research Doesn't Guide Every One of Your Online Marketing Activities

keyword research Keyword research

I usually ask people, "Have you done keyword research?". They say "yes". However, after a few more questions, I usually determine that all they've done is write a list of keywords awhile ago when their webmaster asked them for some. Some people have used some keyword research databases to find some keywords. Some people have even looked at search volume before they made decisions on how to optimize their pages, write blog posts or set up their social media profiles. However, almost noone I've spoken with in the last 6 months has already implemented an ongoing keyword research process that helps them continuously determine what keywords to use in order to maximize organic search traffic. 

You need to identify what keywords are relevant, have high search volume, are relatively easy to rank for, monitor where you rank now for each keywords, how much traffic you're getting from each keyword and whether the visitors coming from that keyword are turning into leads. Based on the data that we're able to show in our custom demos , I've been able to demonstrate to people that the ROI on their time and money spent on their traffic acquisition activities can be positively impacted by 2-10x if they follow a rigorous and regularly occuring keyword research process.

Mistake #2: You Don't Have Lots of Great Offers, Calls to Action and Well Optimized Landing Pages on Your Site.

calls to action This mistake is even more common. A tleast most people attempt keyword research when they redesign their site . People usually don't even have calls to action on their site. They rarely ever have great offers that are relevant to the interests of their prospects. And most people wouldn't know what a well-designed landing page looks like if it smacked them in the face. What most people do is place a "contact us" button in their navigation and call it a day. That's the equivalent of having a retail store and asking your cashier to stand in the back right corner of the store with their eyes closed and a small non-obvious button on their chest that says "Wake me up only if you want to buy something."

People aren't going to contact you until they've determined that you can help them solve their challenges or that you have the product they need. Many companies only put a "request a demo" or "free live evaluation" link as calls to action. However, this is just another way of saying "contact us to talk about buying". Your offers must be relevant to the challenges that your prospects face. Below are a few well designed landing pages , with relevant offers and great calls to action:

  1. Safety Trainers: Request an AED Grant
  2. The Bridge Group: Inside Sales Best Practices
  3. Hawaii VA Loans: Understanding Your VA Loan Benefits and Homebuyer's Guide
  4. HubSpot: Free Website Redesign Kit , SEO Kit , Social Media Marketing Kit , Press Release Marketing Kit , etc.

Please notice that the offers are educational in nature. They give the visitor what they're looking for. Nonetheless, they perfectly qualify a prospect and capture their contact information so that leads can be nurtured.

You should also notice that it's not about having one or two offers. It's about coming up with multiple offers that will resonate with your audience and that can help your prospects start making the correlation betwen their challenges and goals and how your product helps them get where they need to go. 

Again, by implementing these best practices, a company can start converting a larger percentage of their visitors into leads. In the case of Safety Trainers above, Darcy Cook and her team generated only 5 leads in all of 2007 through the web. Since February 2008, they've generated 350+ leads so far

Mistake #3: You're not Measuring Where Your Leads are Coming From.

marketing analytics

Fortunately with internet marketing, success requires a lot less effort than soccer. It doesn't require the span of adolescence to master, and you won't ever get over the hill as long as you keep your skills fresh. Like a good coach, internet marketing requires a good analytics package to determine "how to improve". 

The mistake that most people make, however, is to focus on the wrong metrics. If I spent all my time analyzing how the ball moved around the field instead of getting faster, getting better, refining my shooting abilities, I would have never played in high school or college. With internet marketing, you need to determine exactly what traffic sources (eg keywords, email blasts, refering links, social media sites, etc) are attracting visitors who convert into leads. So many people focus on the ball moving around the field: number of page views, number of visitors, or how long someone stays on their site. These things are pretty irrelevant if you're not converting web site visitors into leads and paying clients; if you're not scoring goals.

Bonus kudos to you if you're already doing closed loop marketing where you're able to track exactly what traffic sources generate leads that convert into customers.

Was I Right? Are You Making These Mistakes?

Keyword research enables you to predict and constantly increase the traffic you attract to your site. Lead generation best practices enable you to maximize the number of visitors you turn into leads. Analytics enable you to measure what's working and constantly increase your traffic and lead volume. Closed loop marketing enables you to calculate a true ROI for your online marketing and zero in your marketing activities on the things that produce the most sales ready leads that turn into the most profitable customers.  

Is the web an important tool for generating new clients in your business? Should it be? Can you afford to continue making these mistakes? 

Photos by Allyrose18 , Kalandrakas & Aussiegall




Originally published Oct 28, 2008 9:53:00 AM, updated October 20 2016


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