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The Pitfalls Of Marketing To Online Customers

January 5, 2012

Online marketing is an effective way for companies to build their customer base and increase revenues. One of the primary advantages of Internet marketing is that businesses can reach any one, any where at any time of the day or night. There are, however, several pitfalls to avoid when marketing to online customers.

1. Driving Traffic Away

A strategy to marketing online is creating useful content that will drive customers to a company’s web site. Unclear writing will confuse customers and drive them away from a web site. Also, a fairly long description of merchandise being marketed is a turn-off because customers want articles to “get to the point”. One way of improving web content is through search engine optimization (SEO) writing. SEO uses key words or phrases that a customer would type in a search engine when searching for merchandise. For instance, if a customer is searching for a printer that doubles as a fax machine and scanner, they may type in “printer”, “fax machine” and “scanner”. A company selling the product and has web content containing those words would be included in the search engine’s listing that the customers would view. Marketers should make sure their organizations have SEO content that attracts customers.



2. Outdated E-mail Addresses

Retail stores, catalogs, and other businesses build up an e-mail list from customers who either have made previous purchases from their web sites or from a store. These companies have a targeted e-mail list. Then there are companies that buy e-mail lists without knowing whether those consumers have an interest in their products They also buy the lists without knowing how old the lists are and whether the e-mail addresses are current. When marketing via e-mail, it’s important to hire a company that not only can provide current e-mail addresses but can help design a campaign that converts the people behind the e-mail addresses into new online customers.

3. Giving Short Shrift to Social Media

Social media have gained momentum as a way to reach a wider, more global audience. Facebook and Twitter, the two most well-known social mediums, are now used for marketing purposes. Marketing Sherpa stated in its 2011 Benchmark report that 20 percent of the marketing directors surveyed said social media “is producing measurable ROI (return on investment) for their organization and that they would continue to invest in this tactic”.

Many companies have benefited from social media marketing. Still, others are not taking full advantage of it. While they may have a Facebook or Twitter account, their business pages are not updated daily or weekly nor do they have deals or special offers for customers. A successful social media marketing campaign requires a social media director or coordinator whose responsibility includes frequently posting updates, monitoring customer response, writing blog articles and helping to develop the company’s social media marketing strategy.

4. Failing to Follow Forums

Online marketers can learn a lot about how customers view a company or its merchandise by following forums. Some companies have set up forums on their own web sites or their social media pages. Forums allow customers to write their own opinions or reviews about a company’s products or services. By following these customers’ comments, business owners or marketing directors can find ways to improve their merchandise or increase supply, particularly if the products are selling well. Having a web site or a social media page to voice their complaints or sing the praises of a company is a big draw for customers. A company that responds to customers in a matter of seconds can make a big impression on customers.

A company that avoids these pitfalls can create loyalty among customers while strengthening their brand on the Internet.

Jen Silva is an avid contributor to ChooseWhat. She enjoys writing reviews on online tax software such as the TurboTax Free edition. She also writes reviews for online fax services and various small business how to’s.

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