Often I am asked, “What are the most common mistakes business owners make in their marketing?” It’s tough to break it down to just a few, but for the sake of time, I have dwindled my list down to three that I believe are most common. Avoid these mistakes and you’ll have a leg up on your competition.
- Doing Too Much
You mean you can market yourself too much? Yes, if that means you don’t do anything with enough frequency to grow your market share. Though many marketers will complicate the issue with all sorts of analytics, basic marketing always boils down to frequency and reach. If you reach lots of people in lots of mediums, but are unable to speak to those people often enough, your dollars are losing their effectiveness. You are much better off in almost all situations to choose one medium and reach a saturation frequency before you add another medium. While there may be a best medium for your product or service, you can’t go wrong with any of them when you have the proper reach and frequency.
2. Doing Nothing
You are inundated everyday with salespeople. Each of them promising to have the magic marketing elixir that will solve all that ails you. With that many people coming through your door it is easy to become skeptical of everyone and everything. Likely you have come up with some phrase that seems to keep the sales snakes at bay. A common phrase to accomplish this is, “I rely on word of mouth.” Don’t fool yourself. If you rely on word of mouth alone, you are doing nothing to grow your business. Don’t get me wrong, a great reputation is important, and many times a referral from a satisfied customer is absolute gold. The problem is that unless you truly have a monopoly in your market (or very bad competition) you are not growing market share. Since your competition has word of mouth and referrals too, you aren’t actually gaining any ground. Imagine you are a smaller operation. You service fewer people per day, which means they have more word of mouth and more referrals. You’ll never gain ground with word of mouth alone. Surely there is at least one salesperson with whom you have bonded. Give advertising a chance and instead, use word of mouth in the form of testimonials. That is word of mouth on steroids.
3. The Start and Stop
Proper marketing takes time. Without marketing dollars specifically written into your budget each year, many businesses are never consistent enough with their marketing. They “try” a marketing approach for a couple of months, then abandon it for something else. Soon, that too grows stale in their mind, and they cancel in favor of something new. Marketing properly can be fun as you create funny or exciting ways to tell people about your business, but it can also be one of the most boring endeavors you undertake as a business owner. That is because getting traction with your advertising can take 6 months to a year. Sound like a long time, it is, and if you change the messaging dramatically in that period, plan on restarting the stopwatch. That is why you still see Flow from Progressive, and why McDonald’s is still “Lovin’ It”. When you are making your plan commit yourself to a marketing budget that you can afford every month. A smaller budget may mean a longer horizon to gain top of mind awareness, but the most expensive thing you can do is reset the stopwatch.
Commit yourself to avoiding these three mistakes and you’ll be ahead of the pack in your marketing. Thanks for reading. If you found this helpful in any way, please consider sharing to your favorite social media.