Common Ways Businesses Sabotage Their Own Advertising

Way back in September, we discussed how you can figure out which form of online advertising best meets your company’s needs. Then, in October, we reviewed the traits you’ll want to look for in a provider. Now that you’ve found the right program and the perfect provider for the job, a successful advertising campaign is yours to lose. Here are the ways many business owners wind up unintentionally sabotaging their own online advertising campaigns. Man about to topple house of cards

How to Ruin SEO

Hire more than one advertising company at the same time. The advertisers will counteract each other’s work, you’ll likely ruin your web presence, and you’ll be paying twice as much. To cause even more damage, don’t tell your advertisers you’re working with another company. See also: For SEO Companies, Two’s a Crowd. Post fake reviews. Google, along with most online business directories, can detect when you’re posting an anonymous review from your own computer. You’ll get flagged as spam. Post reviews from locations far away from your listing’s IP address. If you’re a local service provider and you have customers post reviews from distant locales, search engines and most directories will find that suspicious, leading to a penalty. Tinker with your Google Maps listings. If you want to get flagged by Google, just keep changing information on your Maps listing. Google will detect random changes coming from a second IP address and will most likely penalize you. Don’t send your PINs and log-in info to your provider on time. Instead, you can forget to call your account manager with the PINs that Google and Bing send you, preventing your provider from completing your listings’ authentication process (which obviously prevents your campaign from performing). Use a fake address on Maps listings. Whether it’s Google or Bing, you can try using a fake address that places you in a prominent service area—but only if you want to get caught and have your listing suspended. Don’t use a consistent business name from site to site. To confuse search engines and dilute your campaign’s potency, use different variations of your business name on various directories and listings. Even differing punctuation and spelling can affect your web presence.

How to Ruin PPC

Search for your own ads frequently. Doing this will drive up your ad group’s costs (due to high volume impressions and low click rates), so you’ll be causing yourself to pay extra for the exact same services. Click on your own ads frequently. High click rates will raise the perceived value of your ads and therefore your ad costs. Again, you’ll be causing yourself to pay more without any actual increase in lead generation. Don’t utilize the reporting tools and performance trackers available to you. Prospect Genius offers a Client Portal with a number of tracking features, and many other advertising companies offer certain tracking as well. But don’t use them if you want to ruin your PPC campaign. When you want to check on your campaign’s performance, just keep searching for and clicking on your own ads. That’ll do the trick.

How to Ruin Local Directory Listings

Purchase Facebook “Likes” and Twitter followers. Having a large number of followers on Facebook and Twitter may look nice to newcomers at first glance, but it’s quite transparent and ultimately does nothing for your web presence. In fact, Facebook is cracking down on fake accounts, so if your fan base is full of them, then you’ll soon feel the repercussions. Post fake reviews. To repeat what we said above:  Most online business directories can detect when you’re posting an anonymous review from your own computer (thanks to your IP address). Usually you’ll get flagged as spam; in the case of Yelp, those reviews will be completely filtered out before they even make it to your page. Tinker with your company contact info on Facebook. This will be confusing not only to your fans, but to search engines as well. Facebook and Bing are actually connected, so changing your company info on Facebook could wind up impacting your performance on Bing.

How to Ruin Pay-Per-Lead

List your company multiple times on the same directory with slightly varied information. Business owners might try signing up for the same pay-per-lead directory multiple times, whether accidentally or on purpose, which only leads to confusion for consumers. Plus, you could wind up paying to receive the same lead twice. Use your paid phone line in your contact info on other sites. If you provide your contact info to sites like the Better Business Bureau, Yelp, or Facebook, use your paid phone number. This way, you’ll pay your directory service for any calls that come through that line, even if the leads weren’t generated by that service. Who doesn’t like paying extra? Don’t complain about bad leads. Sometimes, PPL directories list you for the wrong services or the wrong location, and you’re sent leads that inherently can’t lead to an actual booked job. You still pay for these leads, so unless you ask for a refund, you’ll be paying money without getting any return. To keep it this way, don’t call the directory’s customer service to correct the error or get a refund. Don’t answer customer calls or respond to e-mails. This way, you’ll still get billed for the leads that are sent to you without ever booking any jobs. It’s a lose-lose!

Don’t Get in Your Own Way

Obviously, this is all a tongue-in-cheek way of telling you what not to do once you’ve started an online advertising campaign. Being a small business owner is hard, and we want only success for you. We don’t want you to ruin or sabotage your campaign; instead, we want you to be your own strongest supporter. Let your advertising provider do all of the work that you hired them to do, and don’t interfere. By all means, keep in touch with your provider and ask for updates on your campaign’s performance and results. Just be careful not to cross the line between asking friendly questions and derailing your campaign’s chances of success. If you’re unsure whether you’re doing the right thing, simply call or e-mail your provider and ask! You’ll both be grateful that you did.