Marketing strategies and techniques keep changing. There is a lot of advice and warnings available. Some of it is contradictory. This can make entrepreneurs easily confused as to what works and what should be better avoided. Many of them, especially those starting out, can make costly marketing mistakes, which can hinder the growth of their business. To avoid this scenario, be aware of these 10 common marketing mistakes:
Mistake 1: Not defining your customer. Effective marketing triggers action. To achieve this, it is important to target the right message at the right audience. Successful entrepreneurs tend to think obsessively about “developing a feature-rich product or service”. By contrast, a successful marketing strategy is based on narrowly defining the customer and their needs. Only then you can figure out the rest.
Mistake 2: Trying to be everywhere. Believing that your company should have a robust presence in every single outlet is “the easiest way to spread a marketing strategy too thin and seem disingenuous”. Instead, invest time in researching where your target audience spends most of its time. Based on this information, build a marketing strategy that will help engage your audience.
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Mistake 3: Having no plan. Once you have a comprehensible vision, you need to create a plan. Without having a clear goal in mind, you are heading nowhere. Think where you would like to be in a year, in 5 years and further in the future. List steps that you need to make to achieve your goals. Define your marketing strategy and revise it whenever needed, based on what has worked and what has not.
Mistake 4: Forgetting your uniqueness. At any given moment, billions of products are being sold. The fact that you have a product to market does not make you unique. Be aware of what distinguishes you in the market. Think of your strengths and idiosyncrasies, and take advantage of them. Embrace your uniqueness and make yourself memorable not only for what you sell, but how you sell it too.
Mistake 5: Ignoring search engine optimization (SEO). Despite having a great position to leverage SEO, many small companies decide not to pursue this strategy. This is unfortunate as a high ranking on Google can bring more visitors to your website. Hiring a marketing company to do SEO can be expensive, but there is a lot of information available on how you can do it yourself.
Mistake 6: Lack of market research and testing. Market research and testing save time and money as they predict how your products and promotions will perform before launching a marketing campaign. They show how your target audience will respond to your marketing campaigns. This helps identify ineffective or unpopular ideas, and prevents from launching them unnecessarily.
Mistake 7: Marketing without a unique selling proposition (USP). Your USP shows how your product addresses the needs of consumers in a better way than your competitors’ offers. For example, you might solve a problem that no one else has solved or create a luxury quality product at a low price. Customers are exposed to numerous marketing messages so if you do not present them with a USP, your offer will get lost in the noise.
Mistake 8: Failure to capture repeat customers. Without doubt new customer acquisition is important, but it is not as profitable as marketing to repeat customers. On average, selling to a new customer is 5 times more expensive than selling to an existing customer. A repeat customer needs to overcome fewer barriers before making a purchase decision because they have already trusted your brand. Make sure to devote as many resources as needed to capture repeat buyers.
Mistake 9: Not investing in brand development. Often the key performance indicators (KPIs) for brand measurement are softer compared to other marketing analytics. Consequently, brand measurement is considered wasteful. This attitude undermines the fact that branding helps convert prospects to customers. This means that the decision to dedicate a large part of your marketing budget to brand-building will eventually pay off.
Mistake 10: Trying to sell to everyone. Often small business owners consider everyone a potential customer. Although aiming to have as many customers as possible is understandable, you might end up selling to no one at all if you target everyone. Focusing your marketing efforts on a specific group of people helps refine your marketing strategy: you can develop your buyer personas, whose profiles you can use to determine whom, how and where you should target.
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