Too many businesses seem to forget customer service and best
practice as soon as they venture online. They behave as though any sales
behaviour is allowed via the internet.

In fact, with so many people relying on the web for
shopping, socialising and research, these companies risk alienating huge
numbers of people and damaging their corporate reputations.

So what kind of bad behaviour is most common and is your
organisation guilty?

Twitter

One of the newer social platforms to be used for online
marketing, Twitter is already host to some abysmal practice.

Many businesses forget that it’s designed to be a social
tool and they market at users relentlessly.

Of course, an additional danger with Twitter is that people
can share their frustrations with their followers very easily, so mis-using
this platform can be particularly bad for your reputation.

For example, some major brands have been slammed for using
popular newsworthy hashtags to advertise their products. Negative comments on
Twitter can spread like wildfire if you’ve behaved badly.

Here are a few more things to avoid. Make sure any
marketing agency you use avoids them too:

  • Tweeting
    marketing and advertising comments but nothing else.
  • Failing
    to respond to genuine questions
    or criticisms.
  • Spamming
    people simply because they’ve used a term you think is relevant.
  • Following
    thousands of people in the hopes of generating more follows back.

All these common mistakes show that the business has not
grasped the subtler purpose of Twitter.

Email marketing

The good news is that many companies have considerably improved
their email marketing, partly because of legal requirements.

But many still burn out their contacts by misusing their
details.

Here are a few of the most common reasons you’ll lose customer
trust and damage your brand:

  • Emailing
    irrelevant offers.
  • Passing
    on their email addresses without permission.
  • Sending
    too many emails.
  • Failing
    to protect your data.
  • Not
    offering an easy unsubscribe option.
  • Landing
    in the spam/junk folder.

Blogging

I spend so much time extolling the marketing and networking
virtues of a blog but it’s important to remember that it has to be done well to
be of benefit.

Done badly, a blog can make your organisation look
unprofessional or spammy and your staff badly educated.

A bad blog is not better than no blog at all. In fact, you’d
be better off forgetting the whole thing if you don’t have the resources to do
it well.

So, here are the most common mistakes and issues that I see
on corporate blogs:

  • Sales
    pitches instead of useful, informative articles.
  • Irrelevant
    or useless content.
  • Attention-grabbing
    or alarmist headlines that aren’t backed up by the content.
  • Errors
    in spelling and grammar.
  • Rarely
    posting so the blog looks uncared for.

Paid search

There are few things as satisfying within the online
marketing sphere as paid advertising.

You put money in and you get a specific number of visitors
and an easily measured return.

The more you refine the terms you want to bid on, the more
relevant your visitors are, making them more likely to convert.

But even in this, some businesses make mistakes that risk
alienating their potential clients and wasting their investment.

Most paid search mistakes will simply cost you money and
waste your investment, but there are errors you can make that alienate your
visitors and damage your brand.

Here are just a few:

  • Bidding
    on vague terms, meaning you’re unlikely to give the visitor what they want.
  • Advertising
    around contentious subjects, for example, a national newspaper bidding on
    ‘Madeleine Mccann’.
  • Placing
    ads around specific products that you don’t have in stock.
  • Advertising
    a specific product but then taking clickers to an irrelevant or generic
    page.