There are many small business marketing myths that continue to be peddled online. Perhaps the myths come from those who know no better. Or it could be based more on the vested interests involved. Whatever the reason any small business falling for the hype is likely to end up out of pocket for no real return.

Myth1 – All I Need Is a Business Website!

Many businesses believe all they really need to get more customers is a professional business website. There certainly is a credibility issue if a prospect types in the business name and no website is found but investing in a new website build is not necessarily the best use of resources.

First, consider existing customers. The questions to ask are:

  •         How much of my business comes from existing customers?
  •         How much existing customer business will I lose if there is no website?
  •         Can I expect to obtain more business from existing customers if a website is in place?

Then turn to potential new customers. Do prospects search for your product or service online? Or is word of mouth your main source of new business?

If online is important then how many website visitors do you need to secure a sale and what is the value of that sale? It is important to research these figures to establish how much can be invested in the website build and in making sure the website is found by target prospects. Realistically, is the required investment beyond your resources? Is there an acceptable return on investment.

Myth2 – I Need To Be On Page 1 Of Google!

Small businesses probably waste more on search engine optimisation than any other marketing activity. For a very specific keyword phrase, a website may rank on Page 1 without any difficulty but does that keyword phrase (and its immediate derivatives) bring any traffic? More important still does that traffic convert.

There are several ways a business can be found on page1 of the search results including Google My Business and certain directories. A website is not necessarily required.

SEO is a complex subject beyond the scope of this post. To appear on the first page of Google for a random keyword phrase is not particularly difficult. To appear on page 1 for a high traffic (high converting) keyword most certainly is. Don’t fall for the ‘we can get you on the first page of Google’ pitch.

Myth3 – Mobile Marketing Is The Way Forward!

In principle yes, there are lots of statistics to show that search traffic is moving away from desktop and towards mobile telephone and tablet but that is only part of the story.

A recent post from Graham Jones perhaps illustrates one of the major issues. We all tend to segregate our activities so the relevance of mobile is very much dependant on the product. Using mobile marketing inappropriately can quickly alienate a potential prospect base.

A quick look at Google analytics will show the relevance of mobile to your site. Click on the browser tab on the left and take a look at the percentage of current traffic coming from Safari and Android. Then ask around among your customers to establish what they use to browse to your website and why. This is far from perfect science but it does give an indication of the relevance of mobile (or not) to your business.

Myth4 – I Need To Be on Facebook!

Well yes if your customers are there and they are using Facebook to research your type of products or services then it makes sense. On the flip side for many businesses their customers are simply not there and/or they are not active users.

It is also important to remember the segregation issue mentioned above. Many use Facebook and other social networks for social activities (there’s a surprise!) like keeping up with friends or gossip and not for business. Often, finding business information when in social mode is a real turn off and creates a negative impression of the business.

There is a common theme to all of the above and that is there is little point using any marketing technique that does not reach your target market. What do I sell, who needs that product or service, how do they decide on a supplier and how do I reach them are the key considerations. The marketing tools or techniques are secondary. It is the big picture and digital marketing process that matters, not the hype over the latest and greatest marketing technique.

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