Are You Making these Four Website Marketing Mistakes?
I screwed up.
I have hodge-podged this site together for a long time – writing blog posts and updating things whenever I could get around to it. You may be familiar with the world-famous ’round tuit’ above…
But once I became interested in writing and developing educational programs about building better websites, I needed to rework this site to correct the marketing mistakes I had made due to rushing through everything.
Like that old saying goes, “Doctor, heal thyself!”
I have developed a self-paced training course called “Get Up & Running Fast” that teaches non-technical people how to create their own business website from scratch (yes – really).
As part of that training system, I tried explaining some of the tips I had picked up from repurposing this site.
Being a information pack rat, I had collected a large store of helpful ideas from my direct response marketing book readings, researching hundreds of web pages about web design mistakes and plenty of memories from my own painful experiences.
Soon all these little “planning tips” ended up being separated out into their own 26-page workbook, titled “Website Planning Handbook”. It’s currently being offered as a Bonus resource to the main course.
Inside this workbook are 18 website planning tips that can help you avoid making the same common website mistakes that I and too many other small business people make.
I’ll share some of with you here…
4 Common Business Website Mistakes to Avoid
Mistake #1 – You don’t understand it’s NOT all about you.
This is a natural mistake that EVERYONE makes when they first start up their website. We are all pretty much self-centered or self-interested. We all want to tell our customers how great we are, how long we have been in business, how super our products are, why we are better than our competitors, etc.
But all our customers hear at first is “Blah, blah, blah …”
You see, the problem is that your customers are all self-centered too! People only care about your business in relationship to whether or not you can help solve their problems, make their lives easier or more pleasant.
Once they see that you can help them, then they are interested in learning more about you.
Fix #1 – A good business website needs to be (almost totally) customer-focused.
For example, think back to the FIRST time you visited your current doctor or your dentist or the pharmacist at your local drug store.
Did you ask to see their certifications? Or did you just meet them and start telling them what was wrong with you?
If you have ever had an abscessed tooth, you understand what I mean when you could care less about the dentist – you just want you tooth to stop hurting!
And if it’s over a weekend or late night, you just want the pharmacist to sell you something to knock back the pain until you can see a dentist!
As a local or small business owner, you are seen by your customers as a “problem-solver”.
Whether that problem is what to eat for dinner or how to lower their tax bills – you must show your customers how what you have offer can help them.
Basically your website should show /tell them this, “Got a problem with _____________? Well we offer ______________, and here’s how it helps.”
Mistake # 2 – You don’t really understand who are you selling to online
“What do you mean I don’t know who I’m selling too! That’s just crazy talk!”
Well of course you know who comes into your store or place of business. But think a second, do you really know who is coming by your website?
SEO and Internet Marketing gurus like to talk a lot about targeted traffic but what does that really mean? Sure you can optimize an article like this one with all types of keywords and phrase to attract the attention of the search engines and pull in web visitors.
But WHO exactly are you to talking too? What I mean is are you just targeting keywords or are you targeting people with real issues that you can offer problem-solving products and service to?
Fix #2 – A good business website must connect with it’s target audience’s pain profiles not just keywords.
What is a pain profile?
Pain profiles come the medical field – and it is defined as “an assessment is used to help identify patients experiencing emotional distress associated with primary complaints of pain.”
From a marketing standpoint a pain profile is defined as the emotional distress that comes from your customer’s painful problems, fears or frustrations.
Remember that old marketing adage that says, customers really don’t buy 1/4 inch drills – what they are really buying are 1/4 inch holes? Makes sense right? People buy solutions to problems not products.
But in fact, people are buying pain-relief or happiness. For example, say you run a hardware store, and a male customer wants a 1/4 inch drill to put up the shelves his wife has been nagging him to do for 2 years.
Of course he wants a 1/4 inch drill and the hole it makes but he also wants his wife to stop ragging him even more. That’s his pain profile.
When you target people’s pain profiles – and not just keywords – you will get their attention and engagement a whole lot faster.
So while you or you web professional are working on your SEO and keyword list, you should also be working on developing an understanding your web visitors pains, problems, fears and frustrations.
Mistake # 3 – You don’t understand how use your site to match up what you offer with what your prospect needs
Remember the pain profile idea above? This is where you take what you are going to be offering or showcasing online and match it up with the pain profile of your target audience.
Let’s go back to our fictional hardware store owner. Say he notices that a lot of his new customers are young people with new families – judging from the number of strollers in the place lately.
He also knows that there are several new housing developments and apartment complexes going up within miles of his store. And he knows that is a new brand BIG box hardware opening nearby.
Too many small business people would automatically feel that all those potential new customers would go to the larger competitor.
But our hardware store guy knows that new parents and new homeowners are faced with a host of new, never-seen before problems – that some of his products can help with.
Fix #3 – A good business website offers helpful ideas and content to help solve it’s target audience’s problems.
Our hardware store guy creates a couple of special sections on his website called “Baby’s First Home” or “Common-Sense Help for New Homeowners”. Then he hires someone to create a series of short PDF reports for him such as,
- “How to Tamper-Proof Your Home from Your Toddler”,
- “How to Make a Baby Changing Station from Affordable Plywood & a Pocket Jig”,
- “How to Grow an Award-Winning Lawn – Even If You Have Never Cut Grass Before”
He uses his website to promote these downloadable resources to all these new customers. For added impact he prints out some in-house flyers that mention these great online resources.
Or he has a handful of posters placed strategically around his store. And naturally he will talk about these new helpful guides every chance he gets to his customers.
Each guide is like a mini-catalog – explaining not only how to do something useful but listing out what products/services to use (nail, screws, tools, paints, in-store lumber cutting).
Of course the big box store does something similar but our hardware guy explains that as one of HIS customers, you can come in and they will personally help you hunt down, bundle and load up everything you need – plus answer your questions, too.
This personal service is something he and his small staff already do – now they simply use the website to showcase that difference without any hype.
Mistake # 4 – You’re not clear on your online positioning
A while back a marketing professional and author named Al Ries co- wrote a great little book, called “Marketing Warfare”. In my search for a better website, I picked up a copy at my local used book store. You can find a new version of his theories in “Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind”.
Here is an excerpt….
“According to bestselling authors Al Ries & Jack Trout in their book “Marketing Warfare” almost all businesses can be placed in one of four categories when it comes to positioning in their respective markets.
You are either:
- The Market Leader – as the top in your industry or local market, all your marketing should be Defensive in nature to hold off your competitors and solidify your position as number one.
- Seeking Increased Market Share – as a company in the 2nd to 3rd place in the marketplace, (below the first 3 positions in Google) your marketing should be Offensive so you can go head-to- head against the leaders of the pack (if your budget allows).
- Maintaining a Profitable Segment – as a company (lower down the ranking in Google) you should be using Flanking maneuvers to move into the uncontested areas of the market that the top tier players have no interest in.
- Building a Niche Authority Site – as the smallest company in your field or as a startup, you should be using Guerilla marketing to develop your company as an ‘authority’ or ‘specialist’ in one or two profitable niches that are too small for your bigger competitors to fight for or survive in.
Any of the above marketing positions can be easily adapted to your website through a simple campaign of SEO (search engine optimization) and content marketing. ”
Fix #4 – A good business website positions itself to gain the most conversions (sales) – not the most popular keyword rankings.
I always recommend that people just starting out online or who have a limited web marketing budget establish themselves by building a Niche Authority Site.
A Niche Authority Site is simply using your website to become – or at least be seen as – an recognized ‘expert’ in a particular field or geographical. Going back to our hardware store guy for the last time.
By producing those PDF resources, and optimizing his website to help a specific segment of his local target market, he created an online position of being that “that friendly hardware store – around the corner – with the great personal service”.
He’s seen not as just a guy who sells tools and nails – like the folks at the national brand store – but he’s “the guy who helped me build that storage unit for the new house” or “the guy who helped me fix that running toilet – without gouging me for the parts.”
So those are the four common website mistakes that most small businesses make and what you can do to fix them.