Three Major Online Business “Mistakes” to Avoid

There are plenty of opportunities to make mistakes in business. With effort, you can recover from just about anything, but there are three mistakes that should be avoided at virtually any cost.

Don’t Stop Profitable Revenue Streams

One of these simply reinforces earlier notes on “keep doing what works”. This should be a no-brainer, but I’ve observed it enough times to know these kinds of decisions are not driven by numbers or facts. Frequently, major changes like these are spur of the moment ideas usually at the highest levels of an organization – i.e. the owner or a new senior-level manager.

Sometimes that takes the form of, “We’re going to stop advertising through x, and do our advertising through y.” Ultimately, that could end being a very good thing to do, but it needs to be done incrementally with active A/B and multivariate testing of ads and landing pages or with mobile apps, your app description pages and screenshots. Not doing incremental changes, but sudden changes can leave a major shortfall in your cash on hand to cover your operating expenses and even salaries.

One point that is good all the way around through the incremental transition is that it can provide you leverage. It provides you the numbers to show the agencies with which you are advertising that you are getting a better ROI on your adspend elsewhere – and offers the agency a chance to keep your business, either to work with you to increase your performance, offer a temporary or long-term discount, or otherwise.

It is worth trying to KEEP working with existing advertisers if doing so has been profitable. Where advertising is concerned, you probably do not want all of your eggs in one basket – because everyone in your target market is probably not using the same basket. Diversification is an important component of investments and it applies equally to advertising and marketing.


Don’t Outsource Your SEO & PPC Management

This is not to preclude you from making use of a variety of SEO, PPC and advertising related services, only to keep the management of them under One Hat – a Hat that is Devoted 100% to You and Your Business. This is absolutely critical for any internet and mobile oriented business. This is a complex point suffice that the items to avoid are:

  • The vast majority of people or companies you outsource to do not have an intimate knowledge of your business, apps or what got you to where you are. Knowing where you have been helps define where you are or want to be going.
  • Anyone you outsource to in a non-exclusive capacity will not be working full-time on your projects; they will be prioritizing all of their efforts relative to all of their clients. Their highest paying clients will tend to get the most attention, but even then their degree of responsiveness is always subject to what is best and most urgent for their business.
  • Frequently, companies that manage PPC campaigns for you will have it in their terms and conditions that the statistical data they use is their own property. If you change companies, they are not obliged to provide that data to you.

A few important points here.

First, everything that serves to generate revenue for you is as much your “software” as Windows is to Microsoft. This includes your app, your web sites, your ads, your keywords, and the statistics behind all of them. It is your responsibility to manage this information, or at least keep it so that anyone who works with it in the future has context for improvement.

The problem with outsourcing is that it is frequently compounds a vicious cycle – one PPC team may not be performing “up to expectations”, so you fire them and hire another team only to see even worse results. As data is frequently lost in the process, and sometimes SEO/Keyword strategies are changed, even if you decide to return to the original PPC team, they will be in a position of effectively starting from scratch.

Do your absolute best to have someone “in-house” to manage any and all of your content, SEO, PPC and advertising activity. That is someone who works exclusively for you. You can outsource as you like, provided there is one person who has “eyes on”, a “hand in”, a “voice over” and complete access to all statistics looking out for your best interests.

Talk with that person on a regular basis, have active goals to work toward.


Statistics and Reports

This is your history and one would think it is a no brainer to maintain. Yet, there are companies where no one tracks their earnings history – where no one is following up on delinquent accounts, failed credit card payments, spikes in PPC costs, or anything else.

It’s easy to get overwhelmed by statistics, if you don’t like numbers and charts it can be hard to find what you are looking for – if you don’t know what you’re trying to find and don’t really know what you are looking at.

Accountants, PPC specialists or someone with Six Sigma or other statistical/process improvement training and experience, can tear through a chart and find any “oddities” fairly fast. This is easier especially when they have historical data to compare against.

The more statistics you have, the better. You may not need to see them, but someone does.
But Reports – keep those simple. If you have someone to prepare reports, tell them exactly what you want to see in those reports. Leave it to their discretion to include any additional “KPI’s” they think are important.


Project Manager at the Opera Mobile Store providing Sales-Marketing support. Content development and research.

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