The great thing about online marketing in 2019? You don’t need a marketing degree or an unlimited budget to reach new and existing customers in meaningful ways.

The not-so-great thing about online marketing in 2019? There’s so much you can be doing online, that it can be hard to figure exactly what to focus on. Many small businesses go wrong when they try to be ‘all things to all people,’ and they lose focus on best practices and the end goal.

As a freelance web designer and digital marketer, I love helping small businesses compete in the online marketing world.

Here’s 3 online mistakes I see small businesses make again and again – and how to fix them. 

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ONLINE MARKETING IN 2019
MISTAKE #1: YOU’RE NOT BLOGGING

Maybe you’ve heard about ‘content marketing,’ and it sounds too intimidating for your level of marketing expertise.

Don’t worry! ‘Content marketing’ is actually just a fancy word for blogging, and it can help with your Google search ranking.

More importantly, it’s an opportunity to speak directly to your clients about your services, your expertise, and what matters most to your company. It’s one of the easiest and best ways to use online marketing in 2019 to meaningfully connect with current and future customers.

Fix #1: Start Blogging!

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I get it. Blogging can seem intimidating if you don’t have the budget to hire a writer.

But here’s the thing: I bet you don’t need to hire a writer. Blogging is one of the most popular form of online marketing in 2019 – and so the Internet is awash with blogging how-to tips, tricks and articles. It’s easier than you think!

Here’s some good places to get started:

Blogging Basics
Why Your Business Website Needs a Blog
Become a Better Blogger: Essential Blogging Skills Every Business Needs

And it also doesn’t have to be technically difficult to add a blog to your website – at least, not when you’ve built your site using a WordPress theme …. like I am! (I’m using the ‘Extra Theme’ om Elegant Themes, because it’s such a great blogging platform).

So if you’re just getting started with your website, make sure you chose a website platform like WordPress that will allow you to add a blog section easily.

 

MISTAKE #2: YOU’RE NOT LEVERAGING YOUR EXPERTISE

This mistake ties heavily into not blogging.

If you’re a small business owner who’s survived in this economy, then I’m safely assuming that you know a thing or two, and that you have great customer service. You and your employees are experts in your field. And being experts in your field is a boon in the online marketing world!

But, word of mouth can only go so far. If you’re not using online marketing to get the word out about how awesome you are, how is anyone going to know?

Fix #2: Show Off a Little!

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Keep a list of your customers’ most frequently asked questions, and have some brainstorming sessions about what sets you apart from your competition …

Maybe it’s your amazing customer feedback, and you can put together some great testimonials (pro-tip: interviews with happy customers make for easy blog posts!).

Or just use those FAQs to start writing some blog posts about what you do and know best. I bet you have enough expertise to write a killer blog – maybe even an ebook eventually!

Once you get started, you’re probably going to find that you have lots to talk about.

And if you do have a good reputation in your community, then make sure you’re active on social media. If you or your employees aren’t shy, make sure you share lots of pics of them interacting with customers in your feed. In my experience managing social media, these types of posts always go over well.

 

MISTAKE #3: YOU USE SOCIAL MEDIA INDISCRIMINATELY

Small business owners don’t have a lot of time on their hands. So I get it – you know you need to be on social media, but you just don’t have the time to do it personally.

So you outsource it – to the youngest person on your staff. Millennials know all about social media, right, and shouldn’t that be good enough???

No! Social media marketing is a competitive, data-driven field, with best practices that are continually changing. If your young millennial isn’t up on the field, or isn’t a good writer, then they’re not necessarily the best person for the job.

Fix #3: Bone-Up on Social Media Best Practices
(it’s not that hard, promise!)

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In an ideal world, you’ll be able to hire a freelance social media manager who is willing to work with your budget. They’ll know the best platforms to target and with what content, so they’re not wasting money doing all the things.

And trust me, there are honest social media managers out there who don’t overcharge (I should know – I’m one of ’em!). But they’re few and far between. Ask around, and be wary of those big firms that have tons of clients and offer expensive monthly packages – in my experience, those are rarely worth the price.

But if you’re not able to outsource your social media to an expert, then become one yourself! Social media should be purposeful, and always support the main values of your unique brand. This article covers the essentials of social media marketing. It’s a little dated, but that’s ok, because this stuff isn’t rocket science, and the essentials are a bit timeless.

So start here and then figure out which platforms you need to target.  Then trust me – a quick google search will take you from there, with all the best practices.

And with automated scheduling of posts (with a service like Buffer, which I use), you can limit how much time you actually have to spend online.

Finally, if you’d like to see the tools I use to rock both web design and social media, find them here. They’re all affordable or free – always good, right? 🙂

And please reach out in the comments below – any questions about how to clean up your online marketing in 2019? What do you struggle with as a small business owner?