An effective marketing strategy should include a balance of various activities that engage users throughout different points of the user journey. But, often times, businesses make small, seemingly-harmless mistakes that focus too much on activity A and not enough on B. How do you know which to prioritize? How do you decide which deserves more resources?

As a best practice, there are certain marketing efforts that should take precedence over others. So, don’t get thrown off balance: Here’s a list of common, seemingly-harmless marketing mistakes that you need to avoid. 


Read more: 3 must dos for boosting social media engagement


Mistake #1: Focusing Just on Traffic

Ask the average small business owner what they plan to do to increase revenue from their online business, and they are likely to answer that they’ll increase their traffic. The idea is that you double your revenue if you double your traffic. While true, that’s a very slow and expensive approach.

As much faster and more cost-effective approach is to increase conversions. Data from Eisenberg shows that for every $92 businesses spend to drive traffic, they spend a measly $1 on conversions. This explains why most businesses have abysmal conversion rates.

Just imagine how much of an impact it can make on your bottom line if you can double your conversions simply by tweaking parts of your website — you don’t have to spend extra, you don’t have to increase your traffic and the impact is much longer than some one-off traffic you will get if you pay for ads.

So if you believe that focusing on increasing traffic is the solution to increasing revenue, you’re going the more expensive route. Instead, focus on conversions and watch your revenue double without you necessarily increasing your traffic.

Mistake #2: Ignoring Your Website Speed

An often-ignored, seemingly-harmless mistake that can significantly cripple your marketing efforts is having a slow website. Many people give tactics like social media, increasing traffic, etc, priority over having a faster website — which is just plain wrong. This is backed by research:

  • Slow websites cost the U.S. economy over $500 billion annually.
  • 51 percent of shoppers will abandon a purchase due to slow site loading times.
  • A one second delay in site load times can lower conversions by 7 percent.
  • In an experiment involving 33 major retailers, increasing site speed from 8 seconds to 2 seconds boosted conversions by 74 percent.
  • Google uses site load time as one of its ranking factors — giving faster sites a preference over slower sites.

The above interesting facts show just how important having a fast website is. Scientists have found that we are now more impatient than ever; in fact a study conducted by Microsoft revealed that our attention spans has declined from 12 seconds in the year 2000 to eight seconds now — that makes the average human attention span shorter than that of a goldfish (at nine seconds).

Some suggestions for improving your site speed:

  • Get a fast host. If you’re using a crappy host, none of the other suggestions will make much of a difference. I created a resource to help with this, and it focuses on speed and uptime — the two most important factors when using a web host.
  • Use caching. This is especially important if your website is usually served to a lot of people. The more people trying to access your server all at once, the more server resources is expended. This is solved when you use caching, however.
  • Get rid of the unnecessaries. Unnecessary plugins, addons and images, while they might make your website look more fancy can tamper with its efficiency and as a result negatively impact your conversions.

Mistake #3: Not Leveraging the Familiarity Principle/Rule of Seven

In marketing, there is a rule called the “rule of seven.” In essence, this rule states that most people need to see your offer at least seven times before they really take you up on it.

If you think you can just tell people about your offer once and that’ll do it, because you don’t want to “bug” them, you’re making a critical mistake.

More than ever before, we’re overloaded with more ads and marketing messages, our attention spans are getting shorter and we have more responsibilities than at any point in history. In essence, we’re just too busy; so sometimes, if we want something we need to be reminded many times about it.

So how can you create multiple touchpoints? Start a blog, podcast, video channel, put your offer in your email signature, get on social media—use as many channels and apps as possible to further the reach of your message so potential customers engage with it multiple times. 

Mistake #4: Not Using Email Marketing

Yes, Snapchat is hip, and even more fun social media apps will spring up. However, if you do not use email marketing as a core part of your marketing strategy you are making a big mistake.

Research shows that email marketing is the most cost-effective way to market a business, with results significantly outweighing that of other channels. In fact, research from the Direct Marketing Association shows that for every $1 you invest in email marketing you can expect a ROI of $38.

If you are yet to embrace email marketing, start doing something about it. Email marketing is much more powerful than social media, search or other marketing channels.

Mistake #5: Not Having a Mobile Strategy

When you create your marketing strategy, it is important not to underestimate the importance of a mobile strategy. In fact, mobile is just too important to be ignored, and smart businesses create a separate mobile strategy due to how important it is. Here are some facts:

  • There are currently more mobile-only web users than desktop-only web users
  • About two-thirds of emails are being read on mobile devices
  • 80 percent of people delete an email, and 30 percent unsubscribe, when emails they receive from a brand is not mobile friendly.
  • Google now uses how well-optimized a site is for mobile devices as a major ranking factor.

When you consider the above facts, it becomes instantly clear how harmful not having a mobile strategy can be to your business.

The Takeaway

When it comes to marketing, there is no “one size fits all” strategy. Your marketing efforts should address the specific goals and vision of your business. With that taken into account, the above mistakes are generally ones to avoid no matter your industry or growth stage. Now that you’re aware of them, make sure to adjust your current marketing activities accordingly. 

Robert Mening is a web consultant and founder of the Website Setup project, where he has helped over 25,000 people create their own websites.

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