Online marketing has proven itself to be an entrepreneur’s best friend.

Business owners — old and new — have grown ever so fond of what online marketing has to offer them, and many have benefited greatly from using such a powerful technique.

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With a proven track record of improving sales, increasing brand awareness and creating a killer online presence, online marketing stands alone as being one of the best marketing tools worldwide.

And there’s no question that you yourself have taken a few chunks out of what online marketing has to offer.

In order to boost your brand and make sales, online marketing works like a treat.

But it’s not all rose coloured glasses.

It has its downsides, too. (They tend not to mention that on the label).

So how can you use online marketing to successfully build your sales and broaden your brand’s online presence?

Let’s see just what you can do in order to avoid the pitfalls of online marketing.

First, Identify the Pitfalls of Online Marketing

Knowing where the potholes of online marketing are in your business’s journey will save you from damaging any part of your brand. It’s imperative that you know what has the potential to hinder your business, and that you put things in place to counteract the pitfalls.

You may already be aware of some of the major pitfalls to online marketing already, but let’s just refresh our minds and look at some of the most common, collateral ones.

Competition

There is just so much competition online; so many business owners and entrepreneurs going head to head in order to win the hearts of their viewers. Because online marketing is cost effective and easily accessible, almost every business has their foot in the door, making it harder for you to get the upper hand.

You could end up spending so much time, effort, and money trying to implement the best online marketing strategies, only then to not reap the expected results — all because your name got lost in the sea somewhere with all the others.

This means that every strategy you use needs to stand out from the masses. It needs to have an edge, be unique and say something that all your competitors don’t.

Relying on your own skills and knowledge.

When it comes to the internet, the world is your oyster. If you don’t know how to do something, you can look it up in Google, read a how-to blog, or even watch someone else do it on YouTube.

We can build our own knowledge and start honing our skills just from something we’ve watched online.

And it’s vital that you build knowledge about online marketing and learn the tricks of the trade — that’s the only way you can get yourself in line for success.

But the danger is that you can become complacent and too self-reliant. This means there will be tricks and more effective techniques that you may miss, causing your business to lose out on some amazing opportunities.

Therefore, it’s always good to get advice, and even help, from ones who are trained and equipped in the field of online marketing in order to ensure that your business looks professional and believable, in turn increasing your presence online and promoting your services.

Putting your trust in so-called marketing gurus.

Yep. Unfortunately, there are some “marketing gurus” out there who are actually causing people to lose out in with their online marketing efforts!

These so-called gurus can mislead you on your quest to master online marketing, meaning all you will gain are two empty pockets with nothing to show for it.

Some claim to solve your online marketing problems for you, even trying to sell you their advice in the hope that you will come to them to solve your queries. And yes! Some may claim — or even prove — to be experts in online marketing, even giving out free advice on what to do to market your business successfully.

If you’re looking for advice or inspiration from people you can trust, check out our favourite business YouTube channels.

But blindly following such ones and believing that everything they say will work for your business can actually have a detrimental effect on your brand. You need to be aware that every entrepreneur has their own way of creating success, and that their way will not always work for you.

Following experts or gurus, in this kind of way will confuse the hell out of you when it comes to making decisions for your business. You may think that you need to implement everything they say, forgetting the originality of your brand and the needs of your audience. You’ll end up reading a ton of advice on how to market your business, giving you the impression that you need to pour out every tactic mentioned just because the “Dr of Marketing” told you so.

“As I began reading, what I noticed was that instead of making it easier for me to make my next marketing move, I became more confused about choosing what to do next.” — Ben Pines, CMO of Pojo.

In order to avoid the pitfalls of online marketing, you need to choose what is best for you; choose online marketing techniques that will enhance your brand, not hinder it.

Choose Online Marketing Techniques That Work For You

There’s a whole list of online marketing techniques at your disposal; so many, in fact, that it can be overwhelming!

And they all seem to promise the same thing: Improve your sales. Reach out to your audience. Give your brand sex appeal…

Well.

As much as that is true, this is no one size fits all situation.

Your brand is unique, and so is your audience. You need to be sure that you are choosing the best marketing strategies that fit your business and drive your audience in your direction, and you need to make sure you get the best marketing advice from the right people.

First of all, you need to be aware that you can easily increase your organic traffic, using online marketing techniques that are already at your disposal.

Once you understand how each one works and see examples of them in action, you’ll be able to choose ones that resonate most with your brand.

Think about your audience and try and relate to them; where they would most likely be online, and what they would most likely click on?

You want to make sure you are directing your efforts in the right way, so it would be pointless posting your stunning, eye-capturing add for your design business on a site where people go to buy antique shoes.

Remember that it takes time to see what works for you and your business, and then to master that technique. So whatever you do, don’t rush yourself by trying to master all the online marketing techniques out there.

Be savvy. Do your research.

Then come up with your own online marketing plan that works with your brand and resonates with your audience.

“There is no “one magic marketing technique” that will guarantee you results. There are certainly best practices and techniques that have worked for others in similar businesses, but I have never seen a situation where a business only needs one marketing technique to fulfill their entire marketing/sales requirements. Start with 4 or 5 marketing techniques, master them, and then add new ones as needed.” — Karyn Greenstreet, writer, for Passion For Business.

Implement Online Marketing Funnels

To avoid the pitfalls of online marketing, you need to implant strategies that will enhance your business, increase sales and skyrocket your online presence.

There are many ways to do this, and, as we mentioned earlier, choosing the right online marketing tools for your business is a great start.

But let’s just have a little chat about online marketing funnels.

You may already be familiar with this term, but let’s just refresh our minds before we can see how to use this technique to drive sales and increase your business income.

AutoGrow puts it like this:

“A sales funnel is a series of steps designed to guide visitors towards a buying decision. The steps are composed of marketing assets that do the work of selling, like landing pages and emails.”

Basically, you are guiding visitors to your site through a journey that will encourage them to invest in your products or services. This is not your simple sales email, or one ad blaring in their face like an irritating salesman.

No. A sales funnel helps you build and nurture a relationship with your audience, gradually pointing them in the direction of your services or products.

So every page on your site must have something that will gently guide and nudge your audience into buying.

Here are some great examples of sales funnels that you should definitely take a look at. See how these businesses have used this online marketing strategy to grow their business, and see what you can do to imitate their example.

MailChimp

The great thing about Mailchimp is that it’s flexible and can be a great asset to your digital marketing toolkit as a growing business, so I strongly recommend this if you are looking for an email marketing tool, but that’s not why I bring them up now. I want to talk about how they as a brand themselves online and use authentic digital marketing tactics — not the ones that make you want to pull your hair out.

MailChimp always works hard to showcase the true value-add they have for their potential customers.

In their “Look What You Can Do” digital campaign, Mail Chimp takes the time to showcase the full potential of their offerings with clear, fresh graphics and smart online solutions. Not only do these ads show a variety of client types, from the survivalist site email marketing example to a Dry Soda company example.

Every example shows the full potential of what MailChimp can do. It’s not presented in an urgent, you have to buy this product way, instead, MailChimp takes the time (and spends the graphic design money) to showcase the true value of their brand. Building a brand online and building new customers should work together, it’s not an either/or scenario.

CrazyEgg

Once again we are talking about our good friend Neil Patel on this blog. Crazyegg.com is his baby and we can learn a lot about the power of SEO, content marketing, and all things digital marketing on his site. I have to encourage you to look at the history of Neil’s landing pages though — he knows how to build an email list with his pertinent questions and simplistic, but clean design. Currently, his landing page generates enough (and that is plenty) of leads asking one question: What’s making your visitors leave? In one sentence, he gets to one of the main pain points of his customers — user retention. Brillant.

CoSchedule

To bring people to their site, CoSchedule did something smart — they created a simple tech solution for their audience, namely the Headline Analyzer Tool (Try it, you’ll love it!). By having this simple tool on their website, people like me (who love CoSchedule) keep coming back, and back again to their site. This is more than just a simple email collection tool, it’s a way to move your site above the competition online and offer real value for your audience. Of course, they must have spent some money to invest in this tool, but I’m sure it’s paying off for them handsomely.

Sometimes digital marketing means thinking outside the box when it comes to offering real solutions for your audience. Digital marketing does not mean lazy marketing, quite the opposite. You have to be more diligent to make sure you are making those honest, authentic connections with your audience. Find those solutions that work for your audience, try to ignore everything else.

Examining the Click Funnel Phenomenon

After all that talk about sales funnels and how you can use them to counteract the pitfalls of online marketing, let’s examine the online phenomena of Clickfunnels.

Clickfunnels is an online platform that helps business owners make sales. This platform has been used by a multitude of entrepreneurs worldwide in order to create sales funnels on their site and convert visits into sales.

Instead of doing it all on your own, Click Funnels provide you with all the sales funnel tools you need for your site all in one. In essence, you are making life simpler and also giving yourself the potential to increase sales from your site.

But like all online marketing tools, there are some downsides.

What are the pitfalls of using Clickfunnels? All of your eggs are in one basket. You have to host all your content on their platform, which can be seen as a risky movement.

In addition, there isn’t a lot of choices when it comes to design and landing pages. Therefore you may have less of a chance of finding something that really resonates with your brand and your audience.

When you use Clickfunnels as an alternative to going it alone, you essentially hand all control over to them; you lose the benefit of controlling your own image, and you are letting a software program create their solutions to your brand identity.

Not too sure how you would feel about that.

Having control over the presence of your brand and its stand online is extremely important. You want to build a rapport with your audience, and you want to build brand authority and craft an online persona that truly resonates with your brand and connects with your customers.

Whereas when you hand that control over to software solutions, such as Clickfunnels, you may not have the ability to choose how you appear online. And even if you did to some extent, the majority of landing pages and offers end up camouflaging your brand’s identity and ends up looking like some overcrowded infomercial online.

Not anyone’s idea of building brand authority, right?

All in all, Clickfunnels has the potential to expand your business and increase your sales in ways that may surpass your vision. But, as we have discussed, you need to see if works for you — see if it fits your brand and will work for your target audience. Because if it doesn’t, it can become one of those marketing pitfalls we talked about earlier.

Thankfully, they have a free trial that you can opt into in order to see whether it’s a good fit.

#Thankgoodness

Getting the Best Out of Online Marketing

It’s your business and your customers that matter the most. You want to take care of them, nurture them, grow them; you want to make sure you’re not hindering your efforts and that you are doing the very best you can do.

Online Marketing has proven to do this for entrepreneurs just like you.

As long as you are aware of the pitfalls, have examined your online marketing options and have chosen what works for you, you’ll be singing and dancing your way to enhancing your business and growing your brand.

Amy Aitman is the owner of 8menCan, a content agency based in Toronto, Canada. She works to create content strategies and digital marketing plans for businesses around the world. Away from the office, Amy takes her team out for chicken tacos and martins, extra dirty, extra olives of course.

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