By Cathy Topping

As a small business owner, it’s really important for you to make sure that your small business website is working as hard for you as possible. And you’re probably ticking lots of boxes already, which is great! But what about the stuff that you’re not aware of, or haven’t really thought about?

Let’s take a look at some common online marketing mistakes that you can easily fix today, and ultimately will help your business bottom line.

1. Using Low-Quality Testimonials

You know that you need testimonials on your website (and if you didn’t, well now you do!)  Testimonials provide proof that you are a genuine business and offer real value. But a great testimonial is more than just a couple of sentences on your web page.

Try the following to really boost that trust factor:

  • Ask for video testimonials. Not everyone will be comfortable doing this, but if you can get even just 1 person to agree, you’re way ahead of your competitors
  • If a video is too much, ask if you can use a photograph. By doing this, you’re proving that the testimonial has come from a real person, who is happy to share their photo with you. That alone takes trust and speaks volumes!
  • Don’t just ask for testimonials via email. Ask happy clients to leave the testimonial on a social site like Linked In or Google +. This social proof will add even more value to your brand.
  • Sprinkle testimonials throughout your site, rather than just dedicate 1 page to them. After all, visitors can arrive at your site via different pages, so make sure they don’t have to hunt around too much to find out how awesome you are.
  • However, if you do have lots of test.onials, an additional dedicated page is a great idea. This is only worth doing once you’ve accumulated a decent number of testimonials. A whole page with only 3 or 4 testimonials will give out the wrong message entirely.

2. Not Having a Facebook Pixel

You’re not interested in Facebook advertising? That’s OK, don’t skip ahead! This is still a valuable point. No matter how you feel today, you just can’t be sure what you’ll be experimenting with in your business in the future.  So, even if you’re not ready to run Facebook ads right now, you should still get the pixel installed on your website. This is because Facebook will track visitors to your site for up to 180 days. So if you change your mind, and do decide to run some Facebook ads, you’ve already accumulated valuable data.

With any sort of paid advertising, it’s cheaper and easier to target people who already have come across you, and are familiar with your brand. These warms leads will have visited your website, and the Facebook pixel will track that information for you. At the very least, it’s another way to see how many hits you’re getting on your website.

3. Not Trying to Understand Your Google Analytics Data

If the thought of data makes you go all crossed eyed, don’t worry. You don’t need to be a data-whizz to get valuable information from your analytics account. But you should be keeping an eye on your traffic, because otherwise how will you know if what you’re doing is working? Or not working?

Keep it simple, and at the very least, keep an eye on:

  • Acquisition – where visitors to your site are coming from. Check the breakdown between social media traffic, organic, direct and referral. If you know where the bulk of your traffic is coming from, you know what’s working for you, and where to keep focusing your efforts
  • Behavior – this gives you a breakdown of which pages on your website are bringing in the most visitors. If you’ve got a really popular post or 2, you can then focus on using that post to get more subscribers. Create an irresistible lead magnet, and encourage sign ups.

4. Not Setting Goals

What do I mean by goals? Well, when you first got your website up and running, did you have a clear idea of what your business goals were? This doesn’t need to be complicated, but you should have a clear strategy behind everything you’re doing. And then with your analytics installed, you can keep an eye on whether you’re achieving those goals.

Some common goals for a website could be:

  • Make sales of a product
  • Enquiries for a service offering
  • Direct sales for a service offering
  • Build a brand or community
  • Collect email addresses
  • Phone enquiries

You will possibly have more than one goal for your website, and that’s fine. Just make sure you’re clear on those goals, and have a strategy for how you’re going to achieve them.

5. Not Using Opt-Ins with Blog Posts

Opt-ins, or lead magnets, don’t need to be 100 page ebooks. In fact, the shorter and more actionable the opt-in, the more likely your visitors are to download them. So, if you’ve gone to all the trouble of writing a really great blog post, don’t let your visitors run away without at least giving them the option to join your list.

You can then add some clear CTAs (calls to action) within the post itself, gently reminding them about the download. Keep at it, and you will start seeing your subscriber rate grow.