Do's & Don'ts of Online Marketing
The internet is an exciting platform to use to market your business. It's extremely easy to gain access to it and you can, in many cases, measure the results in real time. Different platforms should be approached differently. Here are some do's and don'ts when it comes to marketing your business online through your website, social media and email.
1. Don’t purchase mailing lists
If someone offers to sell you a database of contacts they have collected simply steer clear. There are a number of reasons why you should not purchase a mailing list / database, but the main one is that you will most likely be violating your service provider’s acceptable use policy, and they could suspend your website and emails.
2. Don’t purchase 'likes' or followers
Having a low number of likes on your Facebook page or a low number of followers on your Twitter profile can tempt you into falling for the trap of buying likes / followers. The unfortunate truth about these services though is that the fans / followers are not real people – they are fake accounts created by software. This means that there's a 0% chance that these ‘people’ will engage with your page or help your brand look more impressive.
3. Don’t sell - Tell.
More and more marketing and advertising is moving away from blunt advertisements to more subtle and personal promotions through natural and interesting. Particularly in the online and social arena if you sell too hard you will lose the interest and even the trust of your audience. Especially on your Facebook and Twitter pages, always “tell” and entertain more than you “sell” your products.
4. Don’t send from a gmail.com address for business
Using a @gmail.com or a @yahoo.com email address for personal use is ok, but when you are emailing a client or a supplier your perceived credibility will be low. Instead of doing this register the domain name of your company (i.e. yourcompany.com), and send emails from there (ie. email@example.com). Even if you don’t have a website yet, you can still use the domain for emails. It won’t break the bank and you’ll look a million times more professional and legitimate. Take a look at our email-only hosting option.
5. Never, ever spam. Ever.
Have you even met someone that enjoys receiving spam? When you send spam you send a message to the recipient that you are new in the game and that you don’t really care about your brand’s reputation. Nobody likes a brand that is synonymous with annoying cold calls or junk email. Apart from this, spamming can also result in your domain being suspended or even blacklisted, which means your website and emails will stop working. Your domain’s search engine ranking can also be affected depending on who blacklists you.
6. Don't copy content from other websites
Not only is this a cheap thing to do, you’ll look rather silly if you get caught. Services like www.copyscape.com are available to discover who is copying your content. Search engines want to provide searchers with see original, unique and quality content. Since the dawn of the internet, the phrase “content is king” has always been true.
7. Do protect your brand name online
Make sure you own everything online that represents your brand. This includes profiles on social networks like Twitter and domain names. In other words if you have a country-specific domain name like yourbrand.co.uk or yourbrand.co.za, consider registering yourbrand.com and other popular domain types as well. Even if you don’t intend to use it, you need to prevent someone else from using it to either compete with you or to misrepresent themselves as being affiliated with you.
Another tip: use Google Alerts to notify you of when a new result appears in search engines with your brand name.
9. Do convert your audience into customers and brand ambassadors
Marketers commonly aim for high numbers – lots of visitors to their websites, high volumes of clicks on their ads, millions of followers on Twitter. It is great to achieve these high numbers, but are those millions of followers on Twitter actual customers or even potential customers? Of those gazillion of hits on your website, how many people made a purchase or a genuine enquiry? Quite often marketers lose sight that they need to convert their audience from “friends” and “fans” into paying customers and brand ambassadors.
8. Do respect your audience
Never try to trick your customers or mislead them into performing an action that they would not normally do or that they did not intend to do. If a user unsubscribes or opts out of your communications then remove them from all your lists and add them to a blacklist / don't send list of people you know not to send email promotions or newsletters to.
10. Do respect the search engines
Don’t try to trick search engines by using “black hat” search engine optimisation tactics. An example of this is stuffing your page with keywords to form sentences that don’t make any sense to a real person, but are meant to get search engines to rank you higher. Not only does this not work, but you risk being penalized and even banned from search engine results. During the process of search engine optimization there is a strict set of guidelines that your optimizer should follow.
Have any questions or comments about our list of do's and don'ts? Comment below or get in touch.