Online retail sales are booming.The annual global e-commerce sales for 2012 is estimated to be $820 billion. In the first half of 2011, online advertise revenues rose 23.2 percent—to a record $14.9 billion, according to figures released by the Interactive Advertising Bureau. Companies need to retain and expand their online customers. Many companies fail to do that because they do not understand e-commerce sales.
The 10 common mistakes that companies do in their online marketing strategy are:
- 1. Unclear e-strategy. Some companies think that their e-strategy is to have a web site and nothing more. The web site is sometimes disconnected from the rest of company’s business processes. Many companies produce only static sites, a brochure type approach. Having an Internet address does not mean that a company has a clear vision of what it wants from its digital presence.
- Flashy designs with animated introduction or graphics full sites. Personally, when I stumble on these kinds of sites I browse away in a second. It is a total waste of time to see a flash intro more than one time. Having to look at it every time you visit a site is a torture. In my opinion, it creates a negative image for the brand.
- Not optimized for search engines (Poor SEO). If the site is not fully searchable by the search engines is like the site does not exists for the Internet. Usually people search for a category and not a business. Not including appropriate content or meta-data to the site is a common mistake that many businesses do. The way that search engines looks at a web page is totally different from the way humans look at a web page. Fetch as Googlebot is a very useful tool to understand this difference. You can see the difference if you use rich media files to display content, the page returned by Googlebot may not contain this content if Google can’t crawl it effectively.
- Not directing visitors to the company’s site. Companies should use online tools such as search engine advertising and offline printed media to get people to visit their site. This is a very important step. If the consumers are not aware of the site then all the other steps are unimportant.
- Old and outdated information. Having stale content on the web site is like the company has stopped its activities on the date of the last post. It gives a negative impression to the consumer. The web site’s first page is the impression that consumers will have for the company. Depending on the sector that the company serves, the first page must make it really easy to navigate the site and find the product or service needed with only one click if possible. Make the site easy to use and navigate.
- Inconsistency between customer digital touch points. Web sites, e-mails, newsletters, display advertising and pay search are important touch points. Using e-mails to attract customers can not be a good idea but using emails to help a customer make the purchase decision can be a great tool. Each industry sector is served better by a different online tool. For example travel sites are better served with display advertisements.
- Mobile and tablet unfriendly web sites. Tablet sales in the US soared to more than 1.2 million units sold from January through October. The previous figure does not include the iPad sales. In addition, smart mobiles are billions. You want your company’s web site to be accessible by these devices. Check how your website looks in different browsers. Make also sure that your website uses HTML5 and not flash. Adobe stopped developing flash for mobile devices in favor of HTML5.
- No RSS feed.
- No social media presence. This means that the website does not have a link to a facebook, google+ and linkedin page. Consider the pages that you have in social media sites as additional digital touch points. Keep your brand consistent across all your digital touch points.
- Slow to respond web site. Load your site with content and test it with online tools to measure the response behaviour under stress. How will behave with thousands of entries and with thousands of visitors? Is your web site loading fast? Web sites that takes long to render drive users away.
The above list is not exhaustive. It contains only the top 10 online marketing mistakes. As in the physical world, online marketing need a strategy and dedication to work.
Adweek(2007).Optimizing digital touchpoints. Available: http://business.highbeam.com/15/article-1G1-172169197/optimizing-digital-touchpoints-consumer-study-reveals
Worldwide Videotex Update (2007) TOP 10 MISTAKES BUSINESS WEBSITES MAKE ONLINE; May2007, Vol. 26 Issue 5, p4