MARKETING ONLINE is challenging enough. Sure, you have the whole world wide web to market to, but you’re also competing against countless other online marketers. The internet is a vast marketplace, and standing out against a sea of competitors is no mean feat, but a targeted online marketing campaign can bring you enough of the kind of customers you’re looking for.
Unfortunately, many marketers are far too misguided about what they think works and doesn’t work on the internet. Many marketers go barking up the wrong tree, so to speak, and end up wasting time and resources on fruitless endeavors. Here are just a few commonly held myths that end up hurting marketers:
Myth #1: We need to be on as many social media platforms as possible
It’s true that you certainly want to get your message out to as many people as possible, but not all audiences equally deserve your attention. There are countless social media platforms to take advantage of–Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Snapchat, Twitter, Pinterest, etc.—but that doesn’t mean you need to use all of them.
Each social media platform has a different audience and those audiences are all interested in different things. Do you think a company like Tastemade that markets by making cooking videos would have as much success on LinkedIn as they do on Facebook? Would a company for elderly people like Life Alert want to market on Snapchat where 71% of its members are under 34?
Rather than risking spreading yourself too thin, target the platforms your ideal customers are likely to favour, and focus your efforts there. You can expand your marketing efforts and experiment further when you have a bigger budget, but it’s best to play to your strengths while still starting out.
Myth #2: My company needs to be #1 on SEO results for major keywords
SEO can be a difficult game to play and it’s never easy to get to the top of a Google search for popular keywords. For example, if you were retailing shoes, you would need an astronomical marketing budget to rank for “shoes” in the search engines.
A more profitable strategy would be to aim for “long tail keywords”—longer and more specific phrases. In fact, long tail keywords make up about 70% of Google searches and are generally a much stronger indicator of intent.
In contrast, “shoes” is a generic keyword that doesn’t really indicate intent, while someone who uses long tail keywords like “black dress shoes,” “good running shoes,” “cheap sneakers,” or “sandals for summer” are probably ready to buy.
Myth #3: This other company is doing it, so, why can’t we?
It’s tempting to look at successful companies and try and imitate what they’re doing. Sometimes it works, such as when Instagram copied Snapchat’s story features and ended up beating Snapchat at their own game. However, this isn’t always the case.
Take the example of the Amazon Fire Phone: Amazon’s short-lived attempt at entering the smartphone market. The phone’s multiple flaws and inability to stand up to Samsung or Apple meant that its obituary was written rather quickly. On the other hand, Amazon has been instrumental in killing Borders and has companies like Sears, Macy’s, and Best Buy on the ropes.
The key takeaway is that what works for one company doesn’t always work for everyone else. If it did, every company would be doing the same thing. You have a different audience, different brand, different mission, and a different set of values. Find your own unique voice.
Myth #4: Email is dead. Long live the new social media king
Social media might be the new big thing, but don’t count out email just yet. Believe it or not, a study from McKinsey & Company found that companies acquire new customers via email 40 times more than they do on Facebook and Twitter combined. The study also found that 91% of consumers check their email every day, make purchases three times more often via email than via social media, and that they order 17% more when ordering via email.
Clearly, there is a lot of misinformation in the air as to how online marketing should be done. Knowing what works and what doesn’t work can mean the difference between life and death for your home business.
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