Marketing your business doesn’t need to be difficult, expensive or time consuming. Get creative, avoid these common marketing mistakes, and make your business achieve more traffic, more clients and ultimately, more money!
The first step to failure is to have no clear long-term strategy. Only advertising every now and then together with portraying mixed messages is what far too many companies do. Customers rarely take action the first time they hear something being advertised, so have a clear advertising strategy and make it consistent.
Only Advertising When You Need Customers
This is one of the biggest mistakes that start ups and small businesses make. Advertising must be an ongoing activity, especially when taking into consideration the lag between advertising and potential customers taking action. In fact, high sales periods should be reflected with high levels of advertising – that way you can capitalise on good times.
Running An Advert Once
How often have you heard businesses say ‘we ran an ad in that edition once and it did nothing. I’m definitely not doing that again.’ Perhaps it did not work because it was the wrong place to advertise, but a lot of the time it is because the company never gave it a chance to work. In business-to-business marketing an ad must be run 3 to 7 times before it has any effect. If you never repeat your advertising you will always struggle to get a decent response.
Copying The Competition
Don’t think that just because your competitors are advertising in a particular magazine or publication that they know what they are doing or that it is having success. Don’t be a follower – there is every chance that advertising elsewhere will be more effective. There are of course, exceptions to this. If a competitor is receiving a lot of press coverage you will want to assess things and improve your own PR activities. Similarly, if a competitor has a much higher pay per click ad position you may want to take aspects of what they are doing and use it for your pay per click advertising. In short, pick and choose what you copy from competitors with care.
Forgetting Your Unique Sales Point (USP)
Small businesses in particular are prone to changing their advertising message all the time. They run one advert, fail to get the response they hoped for, and then change the image and message of their advertising the next time around. The result is that there’s no consistency and along the way their USP is lost. Carefully select one message at the beginning and systematically repeat this message again and again.
Not Following Things Through
Small business owners tend to have so many things that they’d like to do and try but too little time. Consequently too many marketing ideas are never seen through with company newsletters and blogs being two of the main ones that are ditched as they take too long time to show results. Don’t waste your time and money starting something if you cannot follow it through.
Not Tracking Results
By not tracking the effectiveness of your advertising – you may as well have thrown your money away! You should be able to reliably track every sale and new customer. You can use online tracking tools to track online advertising, ask the simple ‘where did you hear about us’ question, make use of different voucher codes depending on the advertising campaign, or even track the effectiveness of advertising through using different phone numbers.
Viewing The Prices, Then Selecting The Advertising Space
Regularly this happens. Businesses approach a publication to enquire about the cost of advertising and determine that it is ‘Far too expensive’. So what do they do? They go and advertise in a cheaper publication that their target audience does not even read. Always remember “Never buy what you don’t need because it’s cheap.” This applies to untargeted advertising space too.
Trying To Save Where It Counts
Don’t try to save money where it shows. Depending on your business type a basic website can have the effect of saying that you’re a new business strapped for cash and black and white flyers may not be taken seriously. When it comes to what your customers see, whether that’s your product, website or marketing material, you should spend what it takes to get everything looking right.
Ignoring Repeat Business
Remember that you don’t always have to attract new customers but you do need to look after the ones you have. For established businesses around 80% of sales come from repeat business from existing customers. Ensure your marketing strategy includes focussing efforts on continuing to build relationships with existing customers – it will generally prove to be your most cost-effective marketing.