“Offline marketing and communication is about getting attention. Web marketing and communication is about PAYING attention.” – Gerry McGovern

Achieving Internet Marketing basics is something that alludes many small businesses. Whether it be poor advice, execution or simply poor decisions, we see a lot of common mistakes being made again and again, and it has a lot to do with listening. Having been part of both successful and not-so-successful campaigns I’m getting to see this pattern of what works and what doesn’t and the top on the list has to be the ability to effectively listen.

What should you listen to? There are a lot of things that you should be listening to:

– Listen to your audience
– Listen to your website

– Listen to people you trust
– Listen to the community
– Listen to your analytics

One of the greatest distractions from listening is yourself. A good number of our clients are “experts” at web designing. They have been to a lot of websites. They have read several articles about web design so their expertise is always invaluable during a redesign process. That is most likely how they came to be in the situation they are in.

Social Media is another area that clients are often “experts” in. I wouldn’t even consider myself comfortable using Social Media as a tool for Internet Marketing but i can tap into people who are and well-prepared to listen to them.

Listen to your website – there are a number of tools available to help with listening to your website. Analytics can be a big part of that. We’ll usually recommend Google Analytics particularly for its price point but also many of its useful features. The site overlay is very useful to determine where people are going, what they are doing and where their preferences lie. If you wanted visitors to contact you but they keep going to About you and bouncing, there may be an issue to address.

Listen to people you trust – sometimes you have to move forward on faith. A company that may have the skills you are looking for, may fall short. A website you thought would bring in traffic, may not fit the bill. As long as you don’t get locked into one of those ridiculous long-term agreements, you should learn from the experience. We do our own fair share of experimenting with services and websites so don’t assume that we are immune to it but because we are doing such a high volume, we can pretty quickly determine if there is any impact. In addition we can see things that raise red flags even before starting. If you plan to hire an SEO agency, how visible is their own website?

Listen to the Community – again there are a lot of tools out there to keep you abreast of any specific chatter happening online. Social media and online buzz can be captured through tools like Trackur and Google Alerts.

It’s very important to stress the benefits of listening for your business. Paying attention can ensure that you reduce the number of mistakes you may make and aligning yourself with some good, solid people to listen to is not a bad move either.