Online marketing mistakes are costly to business owners. If you do not understand how consumers use the web, you may be losing out on valuable leads. The two most common online marketing mistakes are answer marketing and ad marketing.
The online marketing world is a fast changing environment. Many businesses have failed to understand exactly how consumers use the Internet and how they make their online buying decisions.
Consumers today are more savvy than a few decades ago, and they want information, not advertising hype. For this reason it is important to know who your site visitors are before you start creating content for them. That is, you need to know what resonates with them, what engages them. Unfortunately, plenty of online businesses fail to do this.
Many of the mistakes that are made in creating website content fall into one of the following categories: answer marketing and ad marketing.
In answer marketing, websites act like search engines. These sites have been designed for visitors who have specific questions that they need answered or pre-determined needs that they want fulfilled. Visitors have to browse the site to try to find information that matches their requirements.
Take, for example, the insurance company website newyorklife.com – the homepage of this website is mostly a long list of links. Visitors to this type of site need to know beforehand what they are looking for.
Amerigroup’s website realsolutions.com, on the other hand, is focused on drawing visitors deeper into their website by using stories that they can identify with. This second website satisfies the type of visitor who is unsure of what he wants, while he is open to your suggestions.
It is important to remember that many website visitors are unsure of what they are looking for when they first arrive on your website. They would like to be guided in the right direction, so don’t be afraid of telling them what the next step is. Ideally, a website should tell visitors what is offered and how to go about getting it. The site should also answer any questions that may come up along the way.
In ad marketing, websites act as glossy advertisements. They usually contain impressive flash videos, which are reminiscent of television commercials. This type of website sends out a one-way marketing message by focusing on aesthetics rather than providing informative content. They certainly grab visitors’ attention, but isn’t that redundant at this point?
Advertising agency Saatchi & Saatchi’s website saatchi.com, is an excellent example of a site that is all about blowing their own horn. The site is saying: ‘look at me’ and ‘look what we can do’, but this approach doesn’t always work online. Remember that the visitor has already chosen the website above others, so at this point he is expecting to find valuable information, not more flash. Websites like this are among the least effective on the Web, because they represent the wrong stage in the sale cycle.
Since statements and declarations are not enough to engage website visitors, you need to provide content that allows them to learn something for themselves. You can create different paths that mimic the browsing patterns of different types of visitors. This will allow you to influence their buying decisions more effectively.
Overall, these mistakes represent a great deal of lost opportunities, as visitors move on to other websites. Content marketing, on the other hand, is ‘the most effective form of Web marketing’, says marketing strategist David Meerman Scott. He advises that you use your website content to tell your visitors something they didn’t think to ask – before they ask.