Identifying Common Marketing Mistakes in Advance
No matter what industry you’re in, a solid marketing plan is a must-have. With constant change in the marketing world, even the smartest organizations are often guilty of occasional blunders. Check our list of the 5 most common marketing mistakes and make sure your company is in the clear!
1. Believing You Don’t Really Need Marketing
One of the most common marketing mistakes is simply not doing it.
We call this the “Ostrich Method”. Some business owners believe that their clients or customers will come to them if they do a great job, but that’s not always the case. The Ostrich Method works well enough when the economy is good. Businesses spend their time on billable hours, so marketing seems like a waste. Or they’re so afraid to make a marketing mistake that they’re paralyzed.
But when times get challenging or new market conditions change existing workflows, you need a proactive way to drum up new business opportunities and fast. Those that haven’t put regular work into their marketing efforts are often the first to suffer. Competition is rife, and if you don’t have a workable plan in motion, then you will (likely) sink without a trace.
To avoid falling into this trap, make life easier for yourself by looking at what other companies in your industry are doing. Often you can learn from their successes and note their potential weaknesses. Make learning from your competitors an active part of your weekly habits. Be sure to create even a simple marketing plan based on these findings. Have it sorted out for a month, 6 months, and even a year into the future to keep you on track.
Most importantly of all, take action.
2. Thinking SEO isn’t Relevant to Your Business
Websites are the primary source of information about most businesses. Put simply, SEO (Search Engine Optimization) makes it easier to find your website online. It stands to reason that failing to apply SEO enhancements will make it difficult for people to find you. If no action is taken long enough, your website might as well not exist at all.
It can be difficult to implement best practices if you have no idea how it works. Many happily functioning businesses see SEO as too geeky for them. But the higher you appear on a search, the higher your credibility will be. Ranking for the right search engine results can bring tens of thousands of new customers to your website.
That’s why ignoring SEO is one of the most common marketing mistakes. If needed, hire external SEO experts that can get you on the right path and in front of the right people.
3. Ignoring Local Search
Google has really pushed the importance of local search in recent years. This means that some local search options actually jump straight to the top of search engine results, simply because they’re close by!
Optimizing for local search generates a vast amount of overall organic hits. In addition, this is the best way to reach more people that will physically get in touch with you. If your business relies on local customers, this is ideal.
Google prioritizes local search by three main factors:
- Relevance – How related to the search is this business?
- Distance – How far away is this business?
- Prominence – How well-known is this business?
Once again, competition is tough locally, so getting professional help is certainly advisable if you really want to stand out from the crowd. While the first and second factors are already set in stone, the third can be influenced by growing your prominence online, for both your website and in local business directories. There are dozens of ways to better optimize for local results, allowing you a distinct advantage over the competition.
Ranking as high as possible is directly related to the level of trust people will have in your brand. When it comes to business, trust equals money.
4. Failing to Define a Marketing Budget
Finances are often a major cause of a business failing, and this becomes even more important when you are managing your marketing. Without a plan for your budget, you may pool your cash in the wrong areas and see no return on your investment. It’s a slippery slope that can lead to increased spending without ever landing on a solution.
That’s why we recommend every marketing effort tracks Return of Investment (ROI). This is simply the amount of money it takes to generate a lead or paying customer. While this sounds like Marketing 101, you’d be shocked at how often even large companies rarely tie their efforts back to effectiveness. It is the only way to know what works best.
What makes this exciting is that this knowledge is exponentially beneficial. Once you learn what works, the next year can be more focused in expending this. Each year you should be able to grow in knowledge, more clearly understanding that by paying $X you’ll receive $Y profit.
The key here is to plan a marketing budget ahead and know what things are going to cost before you delve to far into each one. If you are excited about a possible idea, that’s great! However, make sure you only plan for what you can afford it and that it will prove to be profitable for you before you go any further.
5. Not Leveraging Happy Customers Correctly
Word of mouth is still the most powerful marketing tool. Too many businesses are so focused on getting their name in front of new customers that they ignore their existing happy customers. Don’t be one of them!
Instead, make the most of your happy customers. It’s been proven that people value reviews and comments on a business. This is especially true when they are using a business for the first time. Encourage customers to leave reviews and comments and be sure to thank them. Many will be happy to help spread the word. Other businesses even incentivize these actions, providing a discount on an invoice or a special treat.
Whichever approach you choose, the positive relationships you build will be priceless!