January 26, 2010

Five Internet Marketing Mistakes that Cripple Profits


Hostway Team

By Janet Attard

How successful are your online pay-per-click (PPC) advertising campaigns? What about your email marketing efforts? Are you getting traffic to your Web site, but not getting as many new orders as you had hoped for? If so, you could be making one of these common mistakes.

Your ads and your Web site don't speak the customer's language. Are you selling pocketbooks when your customers want to buy handbags? The term you and others in your company use to describe your product or service may not be the term customers use. To find out which search terms are most popular, use one of the many keyword search tools available such as Google's external keyword tool, Wordtracker, or Spyfu. Once you know what keywords your customers use, be sure to incorporate them into your ads, your title tags and the text on your Web pages.

Your online ads send customers to your home page, not specific products. Customers who shop on the Web usually aren't looking for one-stop-shopping for a wide range of products. At least not initially. When they search the Web, they usually search for something very specific, such as "antique brass faucets." If you send that customer to a home page depicting 50 different styles of faucets and the antique brass faucets don't happen to be at the top of the page, they'll hit the back button and go to another site. Make your PPC money go further by sending searchers to a page that exactly matches what they searched for. You'll see your advertising conversion rates—and your profits improve.

Your phone number isn't easily visible on your Web pages. Yes, you want people to serve themselves by making their purchases online without any assistance from you or your staff. But if you don't make it easy for customers to find your phone number and call in their orders, you're losing money! Depending on what you sell and to whom, you could be losing one-third of your sales or more if customers can't easily find your phone number and get a live person on the phone.

You don't have a lead capture tool on your product pages. Not every visitor to your Web site is ready to make a purchase today. If you don't capture their contact information and stay in touch with them, they may forget about you by the time they are ready to make the buying decision. Be sure you have a mailing list signup or other way to capture contact information on every page on your Web site. Remember, the web visitor who found the page to order fluffy slippers may never see your home page.

You're selling one product to one customer at a time. The most expensive sale you'll ever make is the first sale to a new customer. The cost of your ads to get a new customer— combined with your cost of goods and other expenses— can eat up most or all of your profit on that first sale. The real profit—as experienced online marketers and mail order marketers know—comes from getting that new customer to buy additional products at the time of sale and/or in the future. If you don't have additional products to sell yourself, consider selling products produced by other companies. You can either become a reseller or sign up as an affiliate for many types of goods and services.

About the Author

Janet Attard is the founder and CEO of www.BusinessKnowHow.com , a popular small business Web site that provides ideas and strategies for growing a business and making it profitable. The site attracts 3 million visitors a year, contains thousands of free articles about sales, marketing, internet marketing, business finance, ecommerce and all phases of starting and growing small and home businesses. Janet is a small and home business expert and has authored several books for business owners and startups. Visit Business Know-How and sign up for their free newsletter at www.BusinessKnowHow.com.

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