The Three Most Common and Costly Mistakes in Online Marketing

Having recently celebrated our company’s 13th anniversary, we can say that we have helped hundreds of clients and improved thousands of online marketing situations in dire need of attention. Over those years, we have found that the biggest mistakes that companies make with their online marketing fall into three main categories, and they are not necessarily what you might think.

Account Ownership

Any business doing online marketing will have multiple online accounts. These include logins for the domain name registration, administrative access to web hosting, the website content management system such as WordPress, Google Analytics, Google AdWords, Google Search Console, Bing Ads, social media accounts, etc.

All of these tools and platforms are mission critical to the business. So why do so many companies keep their office supply cabinet under careful lock and key, yet lack a system for restricting these user IDs and passwords to senior staff? Worse yet, why do they allow outside vendors to possess the master keys and, in some cases, the only keys to their online accounts?

Most online platforms provide a means for sharing and controlling access. They allow a company to establish “guest” access for an agency like Market Vantage. That way, we can do the work our client requires and they can look over our shoulder. But if for some reason the client wants to end the relationship with us, they can revoke our access, and that’s exactly as it should be.

What if your web design company is in charge of your domain name registration account, and you decide to part ways? You’re suddenly in a very vulnerable position that could have been avoided.

Company executives should establish and enforce policies that dictate who has access to what, and what procedures should be followed in the event that a key employee leaves or a relationship with a vendor ends. It’s that simple.

Analytics

One of the great advantages of online marketing is the fact that the results are so “trackable” and reportable. Online marketing is constantly evolving and improving, and so should your online initiatives — more on that in the next section.

The free version of Google Analytics is very powerful but many marketers don’t know how to configure campaigns and goals, or interpret actionable data. Google Tag Manager now makes it possible to implement and manage code snippets that track visitor behaviors on your web pages without requiring constant IT or webmaster support. Plenty of tools exist, but if you don’t have the right measurement strategy in place and configured properly, you’ll miss out on a lot of that valuable data — data that can and should influence how and where you apply your limited marketing resources.

If you are in this situation and lack the time or expertise to set up and configure the measurement tools you need to make informed decisions, you should hire experts that can help you. It’s an investment with years of payback.

Set It and Forget It

Online marketing is a lot like having a vegetable garden. You start with good soil and seed, but if you don’t regularly weed it, water it and get rid of pests, you won’t have much of a harvest. Similarly, it takes ongoing vigilance and timely action to keep an online marketing project producing healthy results.

Your website might have been state of the art five years ago. But today, when over half of all searches are conducted on smart phones, it needs to be mobile-friendly too. Google AdWords is a live auction with new players appearing and leaving daily and bids changing by the hour. Things that grabbed people’s attention a year ago are now boring. Your competitor is one click away and probably not asleep at the switch – unless you happen to be lucky.

So, let’s accept that in this business, change is inevitable. Embrace it. Learn to love learning new things and surround yourself with people that are intellectually curious and driven by initiative. You’ll find that the view from the top can be pretty sweet.