Recently, MarketingProfs had a good feature called Top 13 Marketing Budget Wastes--and How to Avoid Them. While most of the 13 wastes didn't focus on online marketing, I found two of them compelling:

Marketing Waste No. 9: Failing to get the most out of your email marketing

A well-designed message (not necessarily a pretty one) can increase response to your emails by up to 50%! That's a huge difference in the return on your marketing dollars.

There is no magic formula for a good email message. To make sure your message is well designed, you have to test every element of the message—from the subject line to the placement of the links and the call to action.

Not spending time to track the results from your email marketing campaign, failing to send compelling creative and not knowing email marketing best practices are the main reasons why companies fail to get the most out of their campaigns. So what should companies brush up on? I'd say the top issues are optimizing their messages for the preview pane (those of you with Outlook know what I mean), doing everything possible to keep messages from being caught in spam filters, providing intuitive navigation back to your web site, and using appropriate calls to action.

Marketing Waste No. 11: Losing people on your Web site

All roads lead to your Web site. Any serious prospect will be looking at your Web site multiple times throughout the interaction with your company—before, during, and after the purchase decision.

The first thing you need to make sure is that your Web site content is of interest to your prospects. The second thing is to have calls to action that will get your Web site visitors to engage—view a webinar, download a whitepaper, fill out a survey.

Last, you need to make sure that you can track these interactions. With this information in hand, you can fine-tune your follow up to match your prospects' interests and avoid wasting valuable marketing and sales resources.

There's a lot of meat to this point, and yet it just scratches the surface. To have an effective web site, it needs to be relevant, well-designed and usable. By "well-designed," I don't mean that it has to be pretty. Your web site needs to communicate your brand and also help people navigate their way through so they find desired information.

The point about tracking interactions is key. Companies need help learning what's important to track, and how to act on the data. It's not enough to know that you get 2,000 visits per month from your Google Adwords campaign -- you need to know which keywords actually make the sale and what else to do with them, for example.

Another key point is that a web site must support the customer "before, during, and after the purchase decision." It's not enough to have great product information -- the site needs to be easy to use so people can make the purchase confidently and easily, and then close the feedback loop once the purchase is made.