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.