If set up right, online marketing can help you generate consistent passive income. There are many stories of how first-time entrepreneurs have made a lot of money selling their products and services through online marketing. But there are hundreds, if not thousands, of stories of how people failed. Investing your money and losing it or getting little back.

In its simplistic model, online marketing has three phases. In phase one, you get traffic to opt in to your system. In phase two, you convert your opt-in leads into customers. Then in phase three, you retain these customers by making them buy from you again.

However, each of these stages has inherent risks. And if you committed a single online marketing sin, it could end your entire business.

Here are 7 deadly sins of online marketing. Why you should avoid them. Also, what you should do to be more successful.

Fatal sin of marketing n. # 1: send traffic to your home page

The money you invest in traffic is a sunk cost. The only way to get a return on your investment is by selling products and services. So if you were to get someone to click on your ad, you’d want the best opportunity to sell it.

However, 92 percent of consumers visiting a brand’s website for the first time are NOT there to buy. And only 32 percent of those who visited the site with the intention of buying rarely or never make a purchase. This according to a study of 1,112 consumers in the United States conducted by Episerver.

This is why it is vital that you first get your prospect to sign up and give them permission to send you emails. Then you can establish a relationship with them. Also, feed them educational information to establish trust and credibility. All of which can lead to sales conversion.

The best place to send traffic is to a landing page focused solely on getting visitors to sign up. But a home page is not the right place to send traffic. This is because most home pages have a menu and too much information to distract visitors from participating, even if you include a subscription form.

Fatal sin of marketing n. # 2: send cold traffic to your sales page

Sending cold traffic to your sales page before they sign up can be worse than sending them to your home page. Less than a third of prospects who would otherwise buy from you buy on their first visit.

By sending traffic to your sales page, you risk losing them forever by revealing their price, without first establishing a relationship with them. If they leave without buying, you have no way of following up. So you waste your advertising investment.

Fatal sin of marketing n. # 3: invest in traffic before investing in your sales funnel

Why spending on website traffic can’t turn into sales. Don’t put the cart before the horse, because you may not get where you want to go.

The key to making sales is having a good sales funnel. So you can drive sales conversion. A good sales funnel includes a series of email letters with links to the content to establish trust and credibility. Plus one or more landing pages with persuasive content and a solid offering. And an order page confirming the offer with a quick and easy way for buyers to complete and submit.

Fatal sin of marketing n. # 4: not knowing your target market

Too often marketers commit the sin of having too wide a target audience. However, targeting a broad audience will not only cost you more, it will also lead to lower sales conversion.

The best first step before investing in traffic is to do market research. An in-depth survey to help you find the demographic, psychographic, and buying behavior characteristics of your true target market. The results can help you identify the most appropriate marketing message.

Fatal sin of marketing n. # 5: don’t segment your contacts

The era of a one-size-fits-all message is dead. The advantage of online marketing is that you can segment your contacts and give each one a personalized experience.

Two common ways to segment your contacts are with custom fields and labels. Then you can group your contacts according to those who have a certain label or custom field data. And you can customize the marketing message based on this criteria. That can lead to both higher sales conversion and higher customer satisfaction.

Fatal sin of marketing n. # 6: don’t run split tests on your campaigns

Split tests allow you to compare results between 2-4 versions of your landing pages. So you can improve your results. For higher subscription rates. Or higher sales conversion.

The key to split testing is to focus on only one variable at a time. This variable can be for comparing headlines, prices, deals, or even the landing page layout. You simply designate the current version as the control and send a certain percentage of contacts in your funnel to the “test pages”. When the results of a “test page” exceed the control, then it becomes the new control.

Fatal sin of marketing n. # 7: not invest in a sales reduction campaign

Up to 67% or more can abandon their shopping cart. However, you can recoup more than a quarter of these lost sales with a top-down sales campaign.

A downsell campaign involves a series of messages to contacts who abandon the shopping cart. Each message contains a persuasive message with a link to a dedicated landing page with a special offer. What used to be lost sales now turns into higher sales conversion.

In short, executing any of the above online marketing sins can kill your business. But when you instead execute the suggested strategies, you can help your business grow. To help you achieve higher acceptance rates, higher sales conversion, and higher ROI.