Online marketing has become an important part of the small business toolbox. In order to reach consumers and grow your business, there are a variety of tactics and tools  you can use – from online advertising to social media marketing to reputation management and more. Managing all the ins and outs of running a small business is complex, and juggling all the different aspects of online marketing is a responsibility in and of itself.
So, take a minute to make sure you’re not committing any of these seven deadly sins when marketing your small business:
1.) Not Tracking Your Online Advertising
One of the incredible benefits of online advertising is the ability to track it. If you’re advertising your small business online, it’s important to track not just the clicks you’re getting to your website or landing page, but also what happens after the click. Are customers calling your business, filling out a form, or leaving your page after they click? If you don’t know, how will you know if your advertising is actually working to help your business get more customers? Many sophisticated online marketing products will allow you to track all this and more, so you can not only learn the effectiveness of your campaigns, but also optimize them around what’s working as well. So, start tracking your online advertising to make sure you’re getting the most out of your investment.
2.) Not Locally Targeting Your Online Marketing
As a small business, there’s a good chance a large majority of your client base is made up of local consumers. If so and you’re investing in online marketing and not targeting it locally, it could cost you. Not only will you pay more to target national keywords and spend more to compete on these terms, but you may also be missing consumers who are searching for a local business  just like yours.
By locally targeting your online marketing, you can get a better return on your investment and more effectively reach consumers who are looking for local businesses. Even if you want to invest some of your online marketingon broader efforts, it’s critical to make sure to include localization  as well. And, by tracking the success of each strategy, you can find out what works best to help you get more customers and shift more of your investment there.
3.) Not Claiming Your Google Place Page
You may already be investing in SEO to help your website rank well in organic search. A Google Place Page is another valuable tool that can help your small business show up in desktop and mobile search to local consumers searching for a business like yours – and it’s free to use.
If you haven’t claimed your Google Place Page , make sure to do so immediately. By claiming and optimizing your page, you not only gain more control over what’s listed about your business, you can also gain valuable shelf space on Google for important business keywords in organic search.
4.) Failing to Optimize Your Landing Page for Conversions
Most forms of online marketing include a goal of getting people to visit your website or a specific landing page  on it. But if it’s not optimized for conversions, you may be losing a lot of potential customers despite all of your efforts to get people to that page.
Is your contact information prominently displayed and easy to locate at the top of your page? Do you have a clear call to action directing visitors to perform a specific action – like calling your business or filling out a form? Is the most important information clearly visible above the fold, or do visitors have to scroll down to find what they really need? Contact your web developer to talk about changes you could implement to make your website more effective at converting customers, which will boost the effectiveness of your online marketing.
5.) Not Training Staff on Lead Handling
Many small businesses spend so much time and effort focusing on the front end of the marketing funnel that they neglect one of the most important components of the marketing process. What happens to a lead once they express interest in your business? For most small businesses, one of the most costly aspects of the marketing equation is how your staff handle the leads that come to you – whether by phone, email, fax, or in person. You’re investing a lot in generating leads, and every lead counts! That’s why training all your staff on how to properly answer the phone, respond to a customer request, and handle leads is so critical.
6.) Poor Customer Service
Did you know that the service your customers receive at your small business is a critical component of your online marketing? That’s because word of mouth is still one of the most powerful influencers on consumers . And in today’s digital world, what your customers say online about how your business treats them is a part of your business Web presence, whether you like it or not.
If you’re guilty of bad customer service, chances are that this news will spread fast online. The good news is, word about great customer experiences  spreads as well. That’s why it’s important to make sure your team is well versed on how to provide world-class customer service.
That’s why it’s important to make sure your team is well versed on how to provide world-class customer service.
7.) Letting Your Online Reputation Go Unchecked
What exactly are people saying about your small business online? Letting your online reputation go unchecked can be a huge mistake – especially if there are unaddressed negative reviews about your business that are ranking well in search engines or gaining a lot of attention on review sites. A negative online reputation can cost you customers .
So, instead of wondering what people are saying about your business online, make sure to conduct a regular online reputation analysis  so you can discover the negative and address it while focusing regular efforts on asking happy customers  to share reviews about your business to build the positive buzz about your business.
Are you guilty of committing any of these deadly sins of small business online marketing? Do you have any to add to this list? Share your thoughts in a comment!
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