5 Online Marketing Tactics Small Business Owners Should Avoid

July 23, 2014By
Dayne Shuda

Avoid these online marketing strategies for your small business.

As a small business owner you’re probably overwhelmed with all the marketing advice out there.

If you read articles and listen to friends you’re probably spinning in a thousand different directions.

I’m here to tell you that you don’t have to do all kinds of crazy online marketing tactics to grow your small business using the Internet. There are a couple things you should use, but there are definitely some things you can avoid.

What follows is a list of things you can avoid. You might have heard about them. Someone might have suggested them to you. Or maybe you’ve already tried a few of them.

Whatever your situation is you can know that these will most likely not work well for most small businesses.

1. SEO Tactics Like Link Building

SEO is certainly good for startups and any businesses. But things are pretty crazy in the SEO world. There are people that will sell you link building tactics.

Yes, links are good, but most link building efforts today are scams. So it’s best to avoid any company that tells you they’ll build you links.

Instead, focus on creating content that your target customers would want to share with people like them or that influencers would want to share with your customers.

The best SEO strategy you can have is to answer your customers’ most common questions. Use the language they use. And create consistent, fresh content on your own website.

2. Social Media Advertising

Social media advertising can work for some small businesses. But for many it will be too expensive and it really won’t pay off. There are other ways you can get customers without online advertising. It’s something you could explore and test, but it can get expensive.

The best way I’ve found to get social media followers is to create the content they want to read. I also use industry hashtags that my target customers typically follow.

3. Social Media Content Only

Another mistake I see from small businesses is that they’ll signup for a social media website and they’ll publish all kinds of content on their profile. This is fine, but a better strategy is to publish the real meaty content on your own website and then posting snippets on your social media profile.

This way you control the platform more and you get people to come to your site where you can work them through your sales funnel. You’re still giving them something worthwhile on social media, but they’ll be tempted to get more on your own website.

4. Using Every Social Media Site

You don’t need to use every social media site. You’re probably hearing that you should be on Facebook, Pinterest, etc., etc. You might want to be on those, but you don’t need to be on all of them. Trying to be on all of them will spread you out too thin and you’ll only have so-so content on all them.

What you want is to focus on the ones that matter most to  your business. Once you know that you can focus on putting in great effort on those and getting the most return.

5. Contests And Discounts

Finally, I’m not really a fan of contests and discounts.

Discounts would be slightly lower on the list than contests for me, but I know you see them all over. And if you’ve tried a couple things and they don’t work it’s easy to think that you need to try contests and discounts.

Discounting attracts customers that don’t want to pay what your product is worth. If you’re early in your business growth you can refine your price based on feedback and competitive analysis, but don’t offer discounts.

And contests don’t really attract the right type of customer either. They can be fun, but they’re often more trouble than they’re worth and if you’re not getting your ideal customer anyway it’s not worth it.

Final Thoughts

Follow the links included throughout this article for tips on the things you should do when working your online marketing strategies. Avoid the ones listed here because for the most part they won’t work for your small business. They might work for some, but in general it seems like they can be rabbit holes for most small businesses.