• Five Multi-Channel Marketing Mistakes To Avoid

    Mistake #1: Nothing is Connected

    Rather than setting up individual channels as lonely little islands on the internet, you can integrate them so they work together seamlessly and can be managed from a single, centralized tool. Hootsuite, for instance, gives you the capability to post content in the Hootsuite dashboard and automatically post it to any (or all) other channels through one easy-to-use interface. But if you don't have an integrated system, you risk spending too much time posting to individual channels or worse, not posting anything because the task seems too big and time consuming.

    The Fix:

    Integrate your marketing channels. By integrating marketing channels, you can work with a "write once, publish to many" model that saves time and ensures consistency across all your marketing. You may need some outside professional help with the integration work itself, but it is well worth it in the time and effort you'll save when making posts or running marketing campaigns in a multi-channel system.

    Mistake #2: New Information is Infrequent or Sporadic

    Marketing is an ongoing activity - you can't just set up a website and a social profile or two and think that you're done. It is critical that you add new information, articles, posts, and comments on a regular basis. Without consistent activity, your marketing efforts will do little to promote your business, bring in new leads, or help build customer loyalty and engagement.

    With sporadic or infrequent updates, you also open the door for your competitors to gain momentum, visibility, and new customers if your social profiles just sit there with little activity. It's important that you commit to a sustained, ongoing effort to "feed and care" for your multi-channel strategy in order for it to get results for your business.

    The Fix:

    Create a Content Pipeline. A Content Pipeline can be as simple as printing out a monthly calendar, then selecting the days you want to post or add new content to your website, social profiles, and/or other marketing channels. For example, if your business newsletter has three articles, you can use one article each week as a new social post, then share a link to an interesting blog post (on your website or elsewhere) as the post for the fourth week. Having everything planned out ahead of time makes it easy to keep information flowing smoothly in a multi-channel system.

    Mistake #3: No Mobile Site

    There are more than one billion people using mobile devices today.
    More than 61% of mobile users say that if they don't find a mobile site, they will immediately leave to keep searching for one.
    50% of users said that even if they liked a business, they would use it less often if the website doesn't work on a mobile device.
    Still think you don't need a mobile site for your business?

    A mobile site is not the same as a desktop site displayed on a smaller screen. Mobile sites have less content but are typically more focused and to the point. They also include unique features like click-to-call buttons, larger text, "thumb-friendly" navigation and links, etc. A regular desktop site when viewed on a mobile device is often very difficult to use, as the links and buttons are too tiny to use on a small touch screen, and the content is all but unreadable due to size.

    The Fix:

    If you don't have a mobile site, or if your regular desktop website is less-than-wonderful when viewed on a mobile device, consider adding a mobile website for your business.

    Mobile devices are now the first screen of choice for users, meaning that more people could be accessing your website from a mobile phone or tablet than from their PC or laptop. What type of mobile experience is waiting for your visitors?

    About 93% of small businesses do NOT yet have a mobile website, so if you're one of them, this is a great opportunity to reach more customers right away, plus get a jump on your competitors!

    Mistake #4: Missing or Incorrect SEO

    Ever since Google's Penguin and Panda updates in 2012, SEO techniques and ranking signals have changed - a lot. If you had SEO work done during or prior to 2012, chances are that the techniques used are not only outdated and non-standard today, but they could even work against you in the search engines (like sites with technical errors, old SEO tactics, deprecated HTML, etc.).

    Today, search engines have little regard for websites that are built with outdated, non-standard code, or that contain technical errors or outdated SEO tricks. If your site was optimized more than two years ago, it is probably time to re-evaluate the techniques used on your site and repair or correct as necessary.

    If your site is not properly coded and optimized, it will eventually hurt your search engine positions.

    The Fix:

    Optimize your website, social profiles, email campaigns, and mobile campaigns so that everything complies with today's standards and gives the search engine spiders exactly the information they need to accurately read and index your online assets. Don't forget that content freshness, originality, and share-ability are now important ranking signals to Google, so make sure your multi-channel strategy is addressing these criteria as well.

    Mistake #5: Not Enough Quality Website Content

    Google now counts quality content as one of its major ranking factors, so if your website has old content, hasn't been updated in a while, or has very little index-able content on the pages, it's time to fix it. Pages with only a couple of paragraphs of text, or pages with stale content, are going to be dropped in favor of pages that have fresh content and top-quality information, articles, and other original material.

    The Fix:

    Make sure your website has plenty of interesting, high-quality information that users will find compelling. Also make a plan for adding new content to your website at least monthly, and make sure that your content is fresher and of better quality than what your top competitors provide. Websites that do not have fresh, useful content are going to be dropped from the search results - don't let your site be one of them.

    The Multi-Channel Advantage

    By avoiding these five common mistakes in your multi-channel strategy you can more easily manage your online marketing efforts while gaining the benefits of increased customer engagement, a more visible online presence for your business, and improved search engine rankings - all at the same time.


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    Author: Lauren Hobson
    Author Notes: Five Sparrows provides website development and online marketing services for small business and non-profit organizations, featuring custom-designed, purpose-built websites that fit clients' needs and budgets. Five Sparrows' comprehensive marketing service, MarketingPLUS, includes web, mobile, social, search, and email marketing all working together as one cohesive, automated marketing engine for small businesses, and can include any mix of services. Five Sparrows has successfully helped hundreds of small business clients over the past 13 years and has two Hartland locations to serve you. For more information, call 877-451-0145 or visit http://www.fivesparrows.com.
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