With 95% of all Internet businesses failing, it is important to find out what actually works and what doesn’t. Most online business failures can be attributed to one or more of the following marketing errors:
1. Free Domain Hosting. Failure to obtain and use your own domain name gives your site visitors a poor impression of you and your online business. With domain registrations under $10/yr. , there is no good reason not to have your own domain name.
2. Poorly Constructed Web Sites. Your web site is an extension of you and your online business. It should be attractive, professional and easy to navigate. Using a lot of white space between paragraphs makes it easier for your visitors to read your message. Include links at the top and bottom of every page so that your visitors don’t get lost. It is a good idea to have a friend or business associate review your site and provide feedback.
3. Lack of Good Web Site Content. Offer your visitors free, valuable information and not just a sales pitch. By offering free, valuable information you will establish credibility and make your site visitors feel you genuinely care.
4. Unsecured Credit Card Processing. Be sure that the page on which you ask site visitors to input confidential credit card information is secure. Secure order pages will have “https” in the address bar. With identity theft on the rise, your customers may be reluctant or even refuse to leave credit card information on an unsecured order page.
5. No credit card processing. Eighty-five percent of all online purchases are made with credit cards. Shoppers like being able to “whip out” the plastic, complete their order and leave your site knowing the product is on its way. There are a number of companies who offer credit card processing for a very small setup fee and no monthly charges. You can expect to pay a little more per transaction to these companies but you only pay when you make a sale. This is in contrast to the traditional merchant accounts that typically require completion of a lengthy contract, credit checks and monthly fees.
6. No Privacy/Policy Statement. Having a “privacy/policy” page on your site is pretty much expected these days. Visitors to your site look to see what they can be expect from you in the event there are problems. What is your return policy? At what phone number can you be reached? What happens to the visitor information input on your site? Is that information sold to others or kept confidential within your company? These are just a few of the questions that might be addressed.
7. Failure to build an “opt-in” email file. Failing to collect the names and email addresses of your site visitors is like throwing money away! Your “opt-in” list will be the means by which you stay in touch with your potential customers. Most visitors will not buy on their first visit to your site so you must keep your name and web address in front of them on a regular basis and keep them coming back to your site until they purchase your product/service.
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Bernie Alexander is an author/internet-marketing specialist who has spent years testing various marketing strategies and products.
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