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Is Your Company Guilty of 7 of the Biggest Online Marketing Sins?

While some companies jump right in to the world of online marketing successfully, others have a much harder time getting into the swing of things. It’s hard to learn all of the various strategies, platforms, tips, and tricks, then apply them to your business. If you find things are not working well for your company in any area of online marketing, then you will want to make sure you are not committing the following marketing sins.

1. Not responding to your audience on social media.

respond to customer with social media

It’s a great idea to build an online presence for your company through social media and start sharing your company’s updates, latest promotions, and other industry related content through status updates on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+. But that’s not all there is to social media.

A key component to social media success is making sure you are responding to your audience. But make sure you or your social media manager are not just using social media as a one way sounding board. Make sure you are always responding to your social media audience by doing the following.

  • Monitoring your @username mentions on Twitter and replying to anyone who mentions your company. A simple thank you for a compliment or a fast reply to a customer service inquiry will go a long way in establishing brand loyalty with your followers.
  • Answering wall posts on your Facebook fan page. Look for people who write directly on your wall, reply to your status updates, or make comments on your photos, videos, or links.
  • Interacting with people who comment or share your posts on Google+.
  • Replying to comments on your YouTube videos or channel.

Also keep in mind that when people talk about your company on social media, they may not do it on one of your social profiles or using your @username. Be proactive about your social reputation by keeping tabs on mentions of your company by doing the following.

  • Monitor Twitter searches for your company name and branded products or services. You can use the search box on Twitter itself and save the search for future reference or create search columns in Twitter management tools like HootSuite or Tweetdeck.
  • Search for your company name and branded products or services on Google+. You can save that search as well to repeat on a daily or weekly basis.
  • Sign up for email alerts using Social Mention so you will be emailed a daily digest of mentions on social media, blogs, and other online sources.

2. Not knowing what works through use of analytics.

know what works with web analytics

When you’re trying to drive traffic to your website, you will probably want to embark on everything from advertising to search engine optimization. You have to try lots of different strategies to find out which ones will work best for your company website. Just be sure not to waste too much of your investment into the wrong thing by making use of analytics.

Find out which online marketing strategy drives the best traffic to your website. This means you are looking for traffic sources that don’t just visit and then leave your site quickly. You are looking for traffic sources that result in conversions in the form of lead form submissions or product purchases. Google Analytics can help you determine which online marketing efforts lead to the best results for your bottom line.

3. Not diversifying your marketing efforts.

diversify your marketing efforts

While you should determine which online marketing strategies bring the best results to your website, you shouldn’t just drop everything to focus on the top converting source. Remember that the goal of some online marketing is just to generate awareness and exposure for your company. And always keep in mind the old adage to never put all of your eggs in one basket.

If you keep up your efforts using a variety online marketing campaigns, you will not feel completely at a loss if one source of traffic starts to dwindle. You will know, instead, that you have other areas you can put more emphasis into to make up the difference!

4. Not creating a consistent online presence.

creating a consistent online presence

You will want to create a strong brand presence through online marketing for your company by making sure that your website, social profiles, and content all represent your brand. If you are using a logo as your brand photo, be sure that same logo appears throughout your social profiles. If you use a specific color theme in your website design, try to use the same colors across all of your online properties. The goal is to make sure that, no matter where people find you online that, when they move on to your website or other social profiles, they will feel the continuity.

5. Not using your entire team to help with marketing efforts.

include entire team in marketing efforts

Did you know online marketing isn’t just for your marketing department? If you have a large company, there are so many potential resources for your marketing. For example, you could easily use different people for the following online marketing tasks.

  • Your support department can help field service questions on social media. They can also give your writers great ideas for content on your website, such as a Frequently Asked Questions page with common support questions that can be easily organized.
  • Your sales department can help you generate blog topics that could turn your blog subscribers into customers by telling your writers what topics potential clients are interested in discussing.
  • Your product developers or service specialists can write content about their products or services for blog readers.

6. Not paying attention to your consultants or agencies.


If you take the outsourcing route for your social media, SEO, or content development, then you need to be vigilant about keeping an eye on what they are doing for your company. Even if you do find a good agency with strong references, you still don’t know if they have a cookie cutter standard of services or if they might be passing your account off to an intern.

This is why you need to monitor your consultant or agency’s efforts for your company. Make sure that the messaging they send on behalf of your company is true to your brand, whether it is through a Twitter status update or an email request for link partnership. Every communication they send could be the first impression of your company on a potential new client. Make sure that every impression is a good one!

7. Not taking advantage of local marketing.


If you have a local business, then your company should be taking advantage of the local side of online marketing. Some ways include the following.

  • On-site search optimization of your website. At the very least, make sure your street address and local phone number are on every page of your website. And make sure that information is in text, not in images so that search engines can read it.
  • Creating and claiming profiles on Google Places, Yahoo Local, Bing Local, Yelp, Merchant Circle, YellowPages, and other local search directories.
  • Use local features of social media including creating a local business page on Google+, creating a Facebook fan page under the local businesses category, using Twitter bio search tools like FollowerWonk to find people on Twitter in your location, and using Formulists to organize your Twitter followers into Twitter lists by location.

These are some of the great marketing sins out there that companies make. What other sins have you witnessed businesses make in their online marketing efforts? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.

About the Author: Kristi Hines is a freelance writer, blogger, and social media enthusiast. Her blog Kikolani focuses on blog marketing, including social networking strategies and blogging tips.

  1. Brian T. Edmondson Dec 02, 2011 at 2:24 pm


    Really good post.

    Of all the points you mentioned, I think that being consistent is the most important key to success in anything in life, business or personal.

    A lot of people I talk to who don’t have success online usually “have tried that, but it didn’t work”, but if they had put in a more focused, consistent effort, it would have paid off in the long wrong.

    – Brian

    • I know what you mean Brian. I hear the same thing, then look at their account to see they maybe sent a few updates or never even filled out their profile information.

  2. Shophi Rajesh Dec 02, 2011 at 3:16 pm

    Point nos. 1, 3 & 4 are very important for all internet marketers because the point for ‘engaging’ the consumer solely depends on whole time activity in the social networks. Otherwise all marketing plans would fail. Retailers now who are using single channel to promote their products should concentrate on point no.7. Many retailers are banking on local advertising through Google Places and other sites mentioned in this post. Overall the businesses should focus, have consistency and online presence in order to be successful in a given marketing campaign.

  3. A bit ironical that a post about marketing sins doesn’t include a more robust social media sharing link or the primary business network – LinkedIn.

    • Social sharing buttons vary site by site, but I have noticed that the main ones that drive traffic are Twitter, Facebook, Google+, StumbleUpon, and then LinkedIn. I think sites that limit their buttons to just a few have already determined what works best and would rather people tweet or like than share on LinkedIn as they know the tweets / likes will be most beneficial.

  4. Joanna Jagiello Dec 05, 2011 at 12:12 am

    Useful post to share with non Marketing management staff. Especially the bit about Marketing being everyone’s responsibility. This is a very common mistake/assumption which I have seen within every organisation I have worked within or with. To be honest the above our rather simple and basic concepts anyway so I’d like to think any Marketer would have this covered.

    • I’m always surprised by some of the basics businesses are missing in their online marketing, whether they have someone in house managing it all or they have an agency doing the work for them.

  5. Joanna Jagiello Dec 05, 2011 at 12:23 am

    Apologies for the typing error! Was intended to read ‘are’ not ‘our’. I’d also like to add that I agree with Brian’s comment. Online and social media marketing WILL always have a positive outcome, at different levels for different businesses, but one consistent thing is; that those who fail simply didn’t do enough. You get out of it what you put in. Setting up an account and hoping things will happen is doomed to be a failed marketing campaign.

    • No worries. The more you put into something with a specific goal in mind, the more you will get out of it guaranteed! And even if you don’t, you’ll be able to take that same energy and focus it on a more beneficial platform!

  6. Really liked point #4 and #5. You cannot leave marketing to sales department. Every body in your team must be the part of the process.

  7. Laura Lee Catleugh Dec 08, 2011 at 7:30 am

    I think a major online marketing sin is not being targeted in your online marketing efforts. Today’s online browsers and potential shoppers are more selective about giving their contact information, making opt-ins harder and harder to come by. When they do opt-in, they are expected a company to know who they are and what they want and the fastest way to the “Unsubscribe” button is to “spray and pray”.

  8. amen to consistent online presence!

  9. Wow very informative, we have been guilty of committing some sins

  10. This is the stuff I jump up and down about and go on and on and on about …. you are spot on! It drives me bananas that companies don’t communicate with the community that is taking the time to post or tweet with them. Marketing is about being SOCIAL and communicating, with the advent of this new era of online communication and marketing, it is imperative to listen, evolve and grow. It pains me to see companies with potential slip into the abyss because they want to be right about sticking with more traditional marketing initiatives. Thank you thank you thank you for this awesome post. I’m re-tweeting on my @chillEmpress feed.

  11. This sins sometimes we did without knowing it

  12. I think sometimes my company can be guilty of point #1

  13. I have seen the damage that can happen when you do not monitor your social platforms. A comment that is negative or a concern that goes unanswered communicated to your customers that you do not care. If you had a store would you let them walk around without help? Dont ignore them online either.

  14. If you use a specific color theme in your website design, try to use the same colors across all of your online properties. The goal is to make sure that, no matter where people find you online that, when they move on to your website or other social profiles, they will feel the continuity.

  15. Amazing…..!

    its really a very great post.


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