We live in a digitally dominated world, and consumers quite often make decisions about brands based solely on their digital presence before ever making direct contact with an actual brand representative. While business owners and marketing professionals alike are beginning to recognize just how important it is to get their digital houses in order, there are still many internet marketing myths to be dispelled.
Myth 1: My target market is older, therefore social media won't work. The average social media user is over the age of 40. Half of Baby Boomers are active social media users with 75 percent of those maintaining a Facebook page. In fact, the current fastest growing segment on Facebook is 55-65 year-old females.
Myth 2: My website should be designed for Google. While you certainly can't ignore the fact that billions of searches a day are conducted via Google, it doesn't make sense to design your entire website around what you speculate Google is looking for in its rankings. Google changes its confidential search algorithm far too often for you to rely on this strategy. If you do, while you may rank on the first page one day, you could easily be relegated to page ten the next. Instead of spinning your wheels, focus on developing a content-rich site that clearly communicates your differentiators and offers real value to site visitors.
Myth 3: All traffic is good traffic. Internet marketing comes at a cost; both dollars and time must be allocated. Instead of trying to appeal to the masses, you'd be much better off targeting your online marketing to a concentrated niche of ideal prospects rather than the entire world. You will spend less and generate a more favorable response.
Myth 4: Email marketing is dead. According to Nielsen, email activity on mobile devices increased to 41 percent of total internet time in 2011, and smart phones make up more than a quarter of total mobile phones in the U.S. Email marketing isn't dead; it's just become portable, so ensure your email campaigns are mobile friendly.
Myth 5: If you build it, they will come. Why would you build a new restaurant and then not allocate funds to invite the market to dine with you? Likewise, investing in a website (or digital storefront) but forgoing the expense of a launch plan to promote your site is a costly misstep.
Myth 6: A mobile-friendly site isn't necessary for a small business. By 2014, mobile Internet usage will actually surpass desktop usage. If your site isn't designed to display properly on a smart phone or tablet, you are likely losing more customers than you care to imagine. Reduce content, limit the need to scroll, and ensure graphics display properly on mobile devices.
Lori Turner-Wilson is an award-winning columnist and CEO/Founder of RedRover, a sales training and marketing firm based in Memphis, www.redrovercompany.com. You can follow RedRover on Twitter (@redrovercompany and @loriturner) and Facebook (facebook.com/redrovercompany).