9 of the Worst Marketing Mistakes We’ve Ever Seen
You’ve read the title of this blog post and now you’re anxious. You’re worried that you yourself have made one of these critical mistakes—perhaps without even knowing that it was a mistake at all. You’re not incredibly confident in your company’s current marketing efforts, but you don’t know how to approach change. You have some sizable goals for the growth and success of your company, but you are unsure about how to start marketing your product, service, or solution to the right people.
Jumpy yet? Good. Then let’s jump in.
Nine Steps in the Wrong Direction
Many small- to medium-sized businesses tend to approach marketing through a lengthy, unproductive process of trial-and-error. Many of these errors can rob you of your valuable time and money, and instead of taking one step forward, you find yourself being pushed three (or nine) steps backward.
Here are 9 of the worst marketing mistakes we’ve ever seen.
#1: Blogging about your feelings.
Starting a company blog is a great way to show off your expertise and experience, display some of the solutions that your business offers, and attract readers to your website and possibly convert them to customers—if, and only IF, you do it right.
Blogging can be tricky. Like every marketing method, blogging must be carried out with a strategy in mind. Without a clear strategy that is aligned with your company’s goals, you’ll probably end up committing this first marketing “crime”: blogging about your feelings, rather than about your company’s personal brand. Don’t become a victim of mis-blogging! Use your organization’s blog to connect with people, not to vent or force your own opinions onto readers.
#2: Failing to hold others accountable.
We’ve seen it time and time again: so many business owners decide to spend $1000 a month on an SEO or pay per click consultant, and then never take another look. They assume that SEO and PPC will be successful. Well, you know what they say about “assuming.” If you fail to hold this SEO or PPC strategist accountable for delivering the success that you are paying them to deliver, you’re essentially giving your money away.
If the vendor you’ve hired doesn’t have a reporting plan, this should be a red flag—there’s no way to know whether or not you’re getting your money’s worth. Hold regular meetings with the consultants or outside parties that you hire. Be sure that they can give you measurable reports on the results that they are providing—and, most importantly, make sure that you understand these reports.
#3: Spending money on irrelevant doodads.
This is another marketing mistake we’ve seen and another money-drainer. Many small businesses, in order to reach more people, hold or attend tradeshows for which they spend money on doodads and gizmos and tchotchkes that perhaps sport the company name, but otherwise have nothing to do with the organization’s goals, strategy, or brand.
Pedaling old-school promotional items is, well, old-school. There are so many more effective ways to market your company and get your name seen.
#4: Losing touch with previous customers.
Failing to create a customer relationship strategy, not leveraging your internal database post-sale, treating a sale like the end of the road—these are the easiest ways to lose touch with your previous customers, lose future business, and lose money.
Here’s a good statistic for you: attracting new customers costs 5 times more than retaining existing customers.
Develop relationships with the people who buy from you. Cherish and value their contributions to your company’s success. Reward them for being brand evangelists. You won’t regret it.
#5: Mailers, newspaper ads, and mass emails. Period.
We are well into the 21st century. Why are you still spending money on mass print advertising? Why are you blindly sending out emails when there are so many ways to find out who your prospective customers are?
Think about it. When you receive a newsletter or email from a company that you’ve never heard of—a company that offers a product or service that you don’t need or want—do you really feel compelled to make a purchase?
Mailers, newspaper ads, and mass emails are forms of interruption marketing, where you essentially “interrupt” what people are doing in order to grab their attention. The many reasons to avoid interruption marketing deserve their own blog post. Instead of mass distribution, do some research on the methods you should use to start reaching YOUR target audience.
#6: Trying to do everything in-house.
Some companies simply don’t have the expertise or the manpower to carry out a successful marketing strategy on their own—this is very common and completely okay.
The marketing world is constantly changing. Marketing methods undergo endless transformations and people are always finding new ways to incorporate technology into these methods. If you try to keep up, you could end up spreading yourself too thin. You’ll become a jack-of-all-trades, but a master of none. Consider contracting with a third party to help you jumpstart your company’s marketing program.
#7: Purchasing a low-budget website.
When you’re trying to find information about something, what is the first thing you do? Google it, right?
The best way to learn about a company and the solutions it offers is to visit the company’s website. Because of this, one of the worst marketing mistakes we’ve seen is when a company uses a low-budget website that has been designed by someone with little to no experience in website design. Another reason to consider working with an outside company!
#8: Immediately writing off social media.
As the owner of your business, perhaps you’ve decided that your buyers are not on social media. Our question to you is: how do you know your buyers are not on social media?
Social media is one of the best, fastest-growing, and cheapest ways to get your company’s name seen and support your marketing plan. Not only is it a way to connect with potential customers (who could, in fact, be social media users) but it is also a way to connect with other key influencers who can broadcast your message and support a strong digital footprint.
#9: Not developing a buyer persona.
A buyer persona is a profile of a fictional buyer with all of the same needs, pain points, and qualities as your real-life, ideal buyers. Without a buyer persona, you’re flying through the marketing world with a blindfold on—and believe us, there are many obstacles that could send you crashing down.
With a better understanding of who your buyers are, where they spend their time, and how they make their purchasing decisions, you’ll actually be able to reverse or avoid some of the mistakes we’ve listed above.
With an in-depth knowledge of your buyers, a SMART goal for your company’s growth, and a carefully planned marketing strategy, you’ll take nine steps in the RIGHT direction in no time!
For more information on buyer personas and how Hello Marketing, An Inbound Agency, can help you achieve your marketing goals, take a look at our Buyer Persona Guide.