Larry BraunerWho wouldn’t want the kind of web presence that drives hundreds or thousands of targeted visitors to his or her web site or blog and converts them into customers or followers?

I’ve created that type web presence for myself. However, most businesses that try to build such a web presence fall short of achieving that objective. How about yours?

This a long article that covers a lot of ground. My hope is that this article and those articles and resources it links to will enable you to take a fresh look at your social media and web marketing program.

Over the past few years I’ve identified dozens of factors that contribute to lack of web marketing success, and in this article I discuss 25 of the most important ones:

  1. Failing to Plan - Strategy must precede tactics. Taking action is easy, but will that action help you achieve your objectives? Do you know precisely what those objectives are? It’s imperative that you define your objectives and devise marketing strategies to help you reach them effectively.
  2. A Flawed Plan - Including thinking too big or too small, e.g., with your keywords, quantity of social networking sites you employ or frequency of your blog posting. Be ambitious but realistic. Your time is limited. Make a plan that’s simple but not simplistic. Shama Hyder Kabani’s The Zen of Social Media Marketing provides an excellent overview of the planning process.
  3. Ignoring Your Competition - Developing your plan in a vacuum without any competitive intelligence prevents you from learning from your competitors and identifying optimal marketing strategies and tactics.
  4. Having Unrealistic Expectations - View social media and web marketing as a marathon, not a sprint. It takes a substantial amount of time to build credibility with your potential customers and with search engines too.
  5. Not Focusing on Your Niche - The more focused your message, the more it will influence your target audience. Trying to be everything to everybody will make your website look like a patch quilt. I’m sure you’ve been to websites that look like menus at diners or aerial views of battle zones. You hit the back arrow and breathe a sigh of relief. Successful offline marketers know that a highly targeted ad gets the best results, even with those people who aren’t targeted by the ad.
  6. Following the Pack - Don’t do anything solely because it’s trendy. Check new options at your disposal for consistency with your plan and expected return on time invested. You’ll need to rely mostly on intuition, but the more extensive your knowledge, the more reliable your intuition will be.
  7. Not Optimizing Your Web Site - What good is a website that looks great yet is dysfunctional? It doesn’t attract any traffic. Search engines are confused by it. Or it attracts traffic, but that traffic doesn’t convert. The lack of web site results is so wide spread that business owners tend to be very skeptical about the web’s marketing potential. See 10 Easy Way to Improve Your Blog or Website and 10 More Easy Ways to Improve Your Website.
  8. Optimizing for Search Engines Only - Some marketers optimize their web sites for search engines but fail to optimize for humans. The result: traffic that doesn’t convert. Optimizing “user experience” is more important than search engine optimization. SEO is only one of numerous ways to attract visitors to your site. On the other hand, all methods drive traffic to your website, and if that site is weak, your work is in vain.
  9. Your Logo or Flash Dominates Your Website  - A constant battle! A client said he wants his website to have an upscale image similar to that of the fluffy Tiffany site. Will that work for him? He’s trying to build his brand online. The Tiffany brand was powerful before the web even existed. All they really need is a pretty site with product illustrations and a shopping card to help you spend your extra funds on beautiful high-end jewelry. However, let’s be real. If you’re not a Tiffany or an Apple, nobody cares as much about your logo or flash as you do. They want content to digest. They want to know what you can do for them and whether or not they can trust you.
  10. Too Little or Lame Content - They say that content is king. I believe that is true. People are searching online for content. To succeed, feed people great content, such as text, video, pictures, podcasts, etc., and you’ll  gain positive recognition for your brand.
  11. Trying to Spam the Search Engines - Search engines are smarter than you might think. Game them, and you’ll come to regret it. But, feed them lots of solid content, and over time they’ll send your web site thousands and thousands of targeted visitors.
  12. Leaving Everything to Your Web Developers - Web developers are neither experienced marketers nor skilled copywriters. Check out Web Developers Don’t Know Social Media.
  13. Making Bad Money Decisions - How about the following example? You spent tens of thousands to engage top notch social media and web consultants, but you don’t want to spend a couple of thousand on the new website design they recommend. Why not? Because that would imply that the money you spent on the original design was wasted. Am I missing something here? Tell me.
  14. Not Hosting Your Website or Blog Yourself - Your website or blog is the core of your web presence. Should Blogger or Wordpress.com determine its disposition? Invest in a web hosting account — it’s not pricey. Learn how to use the Wordpress.org content management system to create and maintain your website or blog.
  15. Not Building Yourself an Online Community - If you have doubts about social media or the power of your own community, Crush It! by Gary Vaynerchuk will make you a believer. Gary has built a community of wine lovers around his Wine Library TV brand, and his social media efforts have greatly added to the bottom line of his business, the Wine Library.
  16. Not Engaging Your Community - To cultivate and nurture your community of customers and fans is a golden opportunity to connect with the people who matter to your brand.
  17. Not Being Authentic - We live in an age of trust and transparency. Being who you’re not will set you apart from your competitors in a counterproductive way.
  18. Not Integrating Online Marketing with Offline - Relying only on Internet marketing when you can achieve results offline as well, including driving visitors from offline to your website. Marketing offline is not dead.
  19. Never Meeting People Face-to-Face - Nothing builds trust like an in-person meeting. If you’re in the New York area, let’s have coffee or do lunch.
  20. Not Diversifying - Don’t put All Your Social Media Eggs in One Basket — nor all your other eggs.
  21. Not Using an Autoresponder to Build an Email List - Most potential customers need to get to know your brand better before they buy. Keep in touch with them by letting them add themselves to your autoresponder newsletter or blog subscription list — even if you use RSS.
  22. Not Touching Base Frequently with Your Email List - If you don’t stay on people’s minds, they’ll forget you. Then when you do email them, they’ll flag your message as spam. That in turn will hurt your ability to get your email through the filters of the Internet service providers.
  23. Relying on Trial and Error - Keep reading. Keep learning. Trial and error is a luxury you may not be able to afford.
  24. Never Seeking Help - A little help can save you from much trial and error and many hours of spinning your wheels but remaining where you are.
  25. Taking Your Web Marketing Too Seriously - Lighten up. Make friends. Have fun.

Here are social media and web marketing resources you might find useful:

Wishing you success with your web marketing. :-)

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39 Responses to “25 Common Social Media and Web Marketing Mistakes”

  1. SEO Contact on May 16th, 2010 10:21 pm

    Larry, I started reading skeptically (how many “top tips” for this and that do we see all over the place)? But you solidly got my attention. I can tell you have written these based on both research and personal experience. Your list highlights nicely some of my personality flaws. I run an SEO start-up and am by and by learning the ropes of business (I am a kick-ass SEO and strong digital marketer but an “intermediate” business owner). Asking for help has been surprisingly hard for me for quite a while. Gotta overcome that! I am grateful for the refresher. Keep up the good work!

    Philip

  2. Larry Brauner on May 16th, 2010 10:39 pm

    Thank you Philip.

    I kept the list pretty “top level.” Imagine how much longer it would have been had I included mistakes in content development, search engine optimization, community interaction, use of social networking sites, etc.

    Isn’t it mind boggling how much there is to know to market effectively on the web?

  3. Shari Weiss on May 16th, 2010 10:53 pm

    Hey, Larry,

    Kudos for a Top Notch list — well written with loads of evidence.

    The only tip/tips I’d add would be All About the Customer Base: Listening to what on Top of Mind for them; Enlisting their help to become part of a Recommendation Chain leading to you; and really focusing on them with your content.

    This is a great post that I will be showing to my small business friends and associates.

    Thanks.

  4. Larry Brauner on May 16th, 2010 11:09 pm

    Thank you Shari for your customer related ideas. Very important, but for now tucked into the engagement factor. As I indicated to Philip, the list could have gone on and on. Nobody would have read down to the end.

  5. Kingsley Tagbo on May 17th, 2010 12:22 am

    There is a good deal of helpful information in this post … thanks Larry!

    FYI: I am ordering the two books that you recommended in this post:

    Crush It!: Why NOW Is the Time to Cash In on Your Passion - Gary Vaynerchuk

    The Zen of Social Media Marketing: An Easier Way to Build Credibility, Generate Buzz, and Increase Revenue - Shama Kabani

    Thanks for taking the time to create this helpful post … I am also going to twitter this post to my followers :-)

  6. Larry Brauner on May 17th, 2010 12:37 am

    Thanks Kingsley.

    Those are both excellent books.

    Let’s stay in touch.

  7. pam perry on May 17th, 2010 9:52 am

    Great post. I loved that CRUSH IT too. My autoresponder is the best part of my website……I love AWEBER too.

    http://www.pamperrypr.com

    Thanks Larry, again, right on point.

  8. Larry Brauner on May 17th, 2010 9:58 am

    Thanks Pam. Reading to learn more about one’s niche and about business and marketing is a great time investment.

    “The more extensive your knowledge, the more reliable your intuition will be.”

  9. Welkin Super Jumbo Loans on May 17th, 2010 10:50 am

    You efficiently and effectively covered all that you need to do, or not do, to build a strong Web presence. I was impressed with how much knowledge and experience you crammed (in a good way) into one blog post. In itself, your blog was an excellent example of concise and precise web writing.

    I agree that content is king and that functionality adds or detracts from stickiness. And I understand that overblown Flash presentations can be an impediment rather than an enhancement to site entry.

    My only point of difference is that site design is still the eye candy that builds a brand. You don’t have to sacrifice it to build a strong, search engine optimized site.

    In other words, if you’re appealing to upscale customers, you don’t have to have Tiffany’s history to benefit from strong, iconic upscale graphics that define your customer and your brand.

    Jack Goldenberg

  10. Larry Brauner on May 17th, 2010 11:03 am

    Jack, Tiffany can afford to devote all their space above the fold to branding graphics.

    Other companies need branding graphics too, but cannot afford to devote more than half the space above the fold without appearing to new visitors to be devoid of content.

  11. Stocks on Wall Street on May 17th, 2010 9:06 pm

    Very well said. Will take these to heart and try and incorporate them into my own blog in the near future.

  12. Drupal SEO on May 19th, 2010 2:03 am

    Most newbies in SEO and web marketing would really expect fast results and this is impossible. I should agree that it takes time to see the results and build a name online.

  13. Maguire on May 20th, 2010 3:06 pm

    Thank you for this list. #8 really jumped out to me as a problem for several sites I have visited in the past. There seems to be a lack of focus on human traffic and more emphasis on browser traffic. How can you really reach out to people if a site is not user friendly or active? Websites, particularly business or product sites really need to have more human interaction.

    There is an interview series of social media experts that you might enjoy, discussing an array of current trends and future applications of social media.

  14. Steve on May 21st, 2010 5:04 pm

    Larry, I am currently training for a marathon. Whenever I get tired of posting on my blog, or of other social networking efforts, I have always remembered the article you wrote likening blogging/social networking to a marathon. And that has made all the difference.

  15. Larry Brauner on May 21st, 2010 6:35 pm

    Steve, those who have a marathon mindset are pretty rare in today’s instant gratification society.

  16. Dr. Erica Goodstone on May 22nd, 2010 10:12 pm

    Another great article Larry. You have learned and continue to share so much valuable information. I have still not optimized my websites and my blog. What I find is that it all takes much more time than I originally thought. Gradually improving the different aspects is beginning to build a strong base for me.

  17. Larry Brauner on May 22nd, 2010 10:26 pm

    I understand Erica. If you’re doing it all yourself and have a full plate, as I’m sure you have, then “gradually improving the different aspects” is the best you can do.]

    Believe me, I also have a to do list of changes I’d like to make to my blog site. Billable work for my clients takes precedence.

  18. Email List Building on May 23rd, 2010 1:15 am

    Hi Larry,

    I like your points but especially your suggesting in point #4 to view social media and web marketing as a marathon and not a sprint is a good one.

    And I chuckled at reading your final point, taking your web marketing too seriously.

    I think we can fall into that one quite easily.

    Vance

  19. email marketing on May 23rd, 2010 2:47 am

    Hi Larry: Point #25 is my favorite. I think I need to lighten up on my life. When I get crushed in the crunch, I find being creative very hard. Great points.

  20. Ryan on June 5th, 2010 2:57 am

    Thank you for the incredible and informative list. This is really useful and encouraging information presented very nicely. It will be very useful for all internet marketers.

  21. Michelle Jamieson on June 10th, 2010 3:32 pm

    Great tips, thanks for posting… I’ll share it! Michelle / Michelle Jamieson Interiors

  22. Social Media Marketing Impact on Search Engine Optimization on June 29th, 2010 6:29 pm

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  24. Joshua Alexander on September 6th, 2010 6:51 pm

    I agree with everything except #13. As you know Larry, I’m heavy into the SEO world and I can tell you that 90% of my clients unfortunately do make bad money decisions by paying too cheaply for their first site by a graphic designer that has no clue what they are doing. I’ve had better results by just scrapping the current site and starting from scratch to ensure to catch all the mistakes made by the graphic designer turned web developer. I outsource graphic design myself because it isn’t my specialty and they should as well but it rarely happens.

    Joshua Alexander

  25. Larry Brauner on September 6th, 2010 7:41 pm

    Sounds to me, Joshua, like you do agree with #13. Read it again. I’m saying that it would be a mistake for them not to let you redo or fix their web site, and I’m sure from what you say that you agree.

  26. Lou Montan on September 6th, 2010 11:52 pm

    Larry, again awesome, inspiring, concise, informative and enthralling. I had to continue reading even though I wanted to stop to grab a notepad to take notes. And then, when the post ended the intelligent comments were fantastic but wait there’s more, the responses to the great comments packed more information. You’re not done yet, top it off with a reading list. I love reading your work. Thanks for increasing my knowledge.
    Warmly, Lou Montan

  27. Hyper Local Real Estate Marketing Program on September 22nd, 2010 10:37 am

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  28. 10 Marketing Blunders Small Businesses Still Make! | Masterful Marketing on November 16th, 2010 11:46 pm

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  29. Leora Wenger on November 24th, 2010 1:02 pm

    “websites that look like menus at diners” - of course, if your website is for a diner, this could be a good thing!

    Your list has a lot of good advice for website owners - I appreciate that. I do want to say that as a web developer I am working hard at being an exception to 12., so I can provide my clients even more value. Or at least be able to refer my clients to those that can help them even more.

  30. Chuck Bartok on November 24th, 2010 1:48 pm

    Another Gold Star for Larry!

    Larry I would love to feature you as a guest an upcoming Business Development Talk Show.

    Please let me know.

    We are looking forward to our 149th episode next week.

    Wednesdays 9:30 eastern

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  33. Brian on March 31st, 2011 10:21 am

    Hi Larry,

    Thanks for posting this very detailed and well-thought-out list. To me, #18 really jumped off the page:

    “Relying only on Internet marketing when you can achieve results offline as well, including driving visitors from offline to your website. Marketing offline is not dead.”

    This is such a key element, in my opinion, to really utilizing your site as a destination for all potential customers, not just online searchers. Good point.

  34. Iggy Manoloto on April 8th, 2011 9:26 am

    Thanks Larry. This really added up to my Internet marketing wisdom. Despite tons of info pasted in the Web there are many online entrepreneurs still missed the mark. Either they are lazy or are being content on using traditional web marketing strategy and tactics. Pasting flowery content but not interacting seriously with their target customers turned their websites into a complete failure. And they are wondering why. Especially today that competition is a lot fiercer and people have more choices.

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  36. Barbara on April 17th, 2011 11:46 pm

    Hi Larry,

    Thanks for yet another great article. I particularly loved the use of the words “not engaging your community” and “not being authentic”.

    I do believe these are things we can easily forget in strategizing and developing our tactics.

  37. Silverback on May 9th, 2011 6:38 pm

    Wow Larry, I think you hit a lot of important points with your blog.

    I especially liked #6. I think that originality plays a huge part of making brands stand out, whether it’s on YouTube, site design, or even Facebook.

  38. Leonard Sipes on March 6th, 2013 9:46 am

    Great article–shared on my Facebook page. Len.

  39. Larry Brauner on March 6th, 2013 11:02 am

    Thank you Len. :-)

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