facepalmA website alone won't make your online marketing program work. There are goals to define, metrics to track, and customized content to create.

Those might might seem like obvious statements, but you'd be surprised by the number of websites we come across where these things haven't been accounted for. There's often a disconnect between what marketing managers know and what they do.

Here are some of the common online marketing mistakes we see.

1. Undefined online marketing goals

Many companies know that they want their website to help them "make more money" or "get customers more engaged." But they don't have specific goals in mind. Do you want to increase the number of leads your website generates from 100 to 200 per month? Do you want to increase your visitor to lead conversion rate by 10%?

How to correct this: Concrete, realistic, measurable goals will help you and your online marketing firm determine how to change your website for the better. They are the starting point for strategy and planning. Need some help documenting goals for your marketing tactics? Try our Marketing Activity Planner Word template.

2. Not using website analytics tools

Tools like Google Analytics, Coremetrics, HubSpot and countless others provide critical data about your website. They reveal things like what pages are the most popular, what keywords people used to find your website, where your leads came from, the most effective online marketing channels and they show you trends over time. Without analytics in place, you lack key insights into how people interact with your site and how online marketing tactics are performing.

How to correct this: If you lack web analytics currently, put those tools in place. You also need someone on your team (or a marketing partner) that can analyze outcomes on a regular basis and provide insight to adjust your marketing tactics as needed. We've written a blog about metrics that you should track that will get you started.

3. Guessing what your target audience/customer needs

Head-smacking mistake #3 is not using customer personas to affect your website content creation efforts. Do you know what your prospects' pain points are? Do you know their potential objections to choosing your products or services? To learn more about a product, do they prefer to read a how-to guide or watch a video?

If you don't know who you audience is or the specific problems they face, how can you effectively communicate with them? How will you know that you've truly helped them?

How to correct this: Don't just assume that you know your customers. Careful research is needed to ensure you have a crystal-clear picture of who you're targeting and the best ways to address their needs. Start by asking your sales team the top 10 questions or objections that prospects have about your product or service. Ask them what job positions they are in, and analyze what types of companies you have the greatest success selling to.

4. Not including any calls to action

After a visitor arrives at your website and reads the first page, what do you want them to do next? What action should they take? Should a visitor call for a free consultation? Request a product catalog? Download a white paper?

You can't put up a website and hope people will do something. Website visitors won’t know what to do unless you point them in the right direction with a specific call to action.

How to correct this: You should have one or more on every page of your website. Visit each page of your website and think, "What's the next step someone would want to take after skimming this page?"

5. Offering everyone the same special offer

Imagine going to a restaurant and only being able to order one dish. It doesn't matter if you only came for dessert or if you like chicken more than fish. Everyone has to get the same thing.

That sounds terrible, doesn't it?

Now, take a close look at your website. Are you taking a one-size-fits-all approach? If the answer is yes, it's time to give this head-smacker the boot.

How to correct this: You've got to be sure that you serve up offers that appeal to prospects at different stages of the buying cycle. An early-stage prospect may receive an offer for a free download like a white paper, while someone who's closer to making a purchase might be invited to download a buying guide, start a free trial or request a demo.

How to attract and sell to more customers using your website

Photo credit: daveoratox