Top Menu

7 Online Marketing Mistakes

I made many online marketing mistakes when it became obvious that my business needed a  website. I had qualified as a nutritional therapist in the year 2000 and started by advertising in the yellow pages, seeing clients face-to-face, but soon the public flocked to the Internet.

As a sole-trader and recent start-up, I chose a DIY approach to getting online, to suit my limited budget. It’s been a roller-coaster ride with highs as I overcame each technical challenge, followed by the depths of despair as the next trial hit my in-box.

7  Online Marketing Mistakes

1 – Assuming it would be easy

With high levels of IT skills from a previous business I decided to do it myself. The learning curve was too steep and a less stubborn individual would have sought help far earlier. The wasted time probably lost me much of the competitive advantage of going online earlier than my competitors.

2 – No website access

I finally admitted that my HTML coding was dire and hired a webmaster (blogging sites were less sophisticated then). What I didn’t foresee was relying on him for every minor change. The worst occasion was needing a phone number change when he was hospitalised long-term. I had no idea how to access my site, let alone update it. I now know the basics of hosting, ftp, control panels and blogging so I control my sites

3 – No better service than my competition

Checking other nutritionists’ sites I realised my service was a “me-too”. That was less important when working off-line. The  general public rang a few people from the yellow pages, booked and arrived eager for knowledge. On-line, wider competition demanded more pre-sales effort.

Having finally gained a client, many arrived with sheaves of contradictory Internet print-outs.  Someone even insinuated that my hand-outs were copied from the Internet. (They weren’t!) Nevertheless, there was little I could add to research they’d done already. So I decided to offer a service to distinguish me from other therapists. I also wanted to give clients advice based on fact, rather than opinion plus a “finger in the air” supplement program.

Digging into my nutritionists’ tool-bag I chose an online Hair Mineral Analysis service. Briefly: a sample of hair is analysed  for mineral deficiencies and imbalances at a laboratory. This provides a personalised report containing recommendations for diet and supplementation. Clients benefit because it’s an objective laboratory test backed up by research. My business benefits by helping clients world-wide.

4 – No traffic gathering strategy

I had no plans for finding clients. I hadn’t realised that website design and search engine optimisation were different and needed ongoing work to maintain position. I have several strategies now rather than relying on one.

5 – Complicated buy procedure

My initial buying procedure was convoluted. An outsider finally said “Sorry, I can’t see how to buy!”

6 – No prospect lead capture

I didn’t record email addresses of people interested in Hair Analysis who left without buying. Perhaps they bought later if someone sent further information.

7 – Poor client follow up

Initially I recorded client details in a spreadsheet. I always intended contacting them about re-tests, special offers and further products but as my business grew, emailing them individually was impractical. I probably missed several follow-on sales.

With hindsight, my biggest online marketing mistakes were lack of list-building techniques, because of the lost opportunity. I will never know how much it cost me.

Thinking beyond my online marketing mistakes, my biggest success was choosing Hair Mineral Analysis to offer clients in the UK and world-wide a reliable science-based test.

Small Business Can Newsletter
Small Business Can is run by businesspeople for businesspeople. We share our experiences, successes and failures. Sign up for our insightful (and sometimes funny) newsletter and stay up to speed with all the latest insights.

, , , , , ,

5 Responses to 7 Online Marketing Mistakes

  1. Joyful Honesty January 28, 2013 at 12:14 pm #

    A really good, honest and practical blog. Joyful! Thanks Joy. More like these please where we can actually learn from mistakes.

  2. Heartfelt January 28, 2013 at 12:15 pm #

    A really great blog. Very honest.

  3. Joy Healey January 28, 2013 at 8:35 pm #

    Thanks for your kind comments. If I can help others avoid my mistakes, I’ll be pleased.

  4. JC January 30, 2013 at 10:21 am #

    Great post Joy…so, do you have any handy list-building techniques you’ve developed? Maybe another post on that a companion piece to this post ”

    7 Online Marketing Must Do’s”

    • Joy Healey January 31, 2013 at 10:18 pm #

      Thanks JC, will work on another piece 🙂

Leave a Reply