Ever feel like all of the your marketing efforts are for nothing, like you're making one mistake after another?
The feeling sits in your stomach and makes you want to puke, especially when your business, (your baby) is on the line.
Sure, you can read posts like this one about improving your marketing tactics, but you're still never sure if what you're doing is working. I'm always wondering if my focus is in the right place: Am I doing a good job? Are our customers happy?
I'd be lying if I said it wasn't difficult to create great marketing, but you can alleviate your issues. You just have to identify them and find the right remedies.
To help you out, I've put together 9 common marketing mistakes with solutions to fix 'em. Paris wasn't built in a weekend, and neither was your marketing strategy, so be patient as you go.
Mistake #1: Giving So-So Customer Support
When was the last time you visited a restaurant or called your car insurance company only to be faced with a condescending tone? It happens all the time.
Don't let that tone of voice come from you. After all, 89% of customers have stopped doing business with a company because of bad customer service? Yikes.
Here are some mistakes you could be making:
Using a corporate, stuffy, and business-like tone in email and over the phone, instead of being human.
Accidentally hiding contact information. Are your email and phone number easy to find on your website?
The use of passive aggressive language like 'I'm sorry you feel that way.'
Neglecting to provide support staff with adequate training.
Taking forever to respond to negative reviews, support tickets, phone calls, or other inquiries (or never responding to them at all).
Always choosing email over phone even when voice-to-voice would be a better option.
Asking the customer to fix the problem or placing the blame on them.
Blaming your co-workers or employees for the problem-- this is unprofessional and makes you seem petty and mean.
Mistake #2: Relying on One Channel for Revenue
Since the only constant thing is change, don't rely on one marketing channel for most of your revenue. The most common and widely known example of this is with companies who were killin' it with SEO before Penguin and Panda:
'For the first few years of my business I relied completely on organic search engine traffic for all of my marketing,' says Wade Benz of USimprints.com. 'But search engine traffic can be extremely volatile and unpredictable.'
[pullquote]After three years of what Wade thought was unstoppable growth, his rankings and traffic plummeted[/pullquote] after Google changed some of their ranking factors.
It's a mistake to rely on **just one thing. **It's hard not to when business is booming, but you'll be really sorry when your channel changes and is no longer lucrative. You best be prepared.
Mistake #3: Fear of Feedback
It's tough to hear you're not doing a great job, which is why many entrepreneurs plow forward regardless of the advice they're given.
But this 'us against the world' attitude hurts us more than it helps. Without reaching out to friends, family members, and others for their feedback and insight, you're unable to assess whether your goals are being met.
And despite the fact that customers don't always know what they want, you should be taking their feedback and insights into consideration.
Mistake #4: Trying To Do Too Much
If you build a freelance business— such as a graphic design studio— it’s not long before clients start asking if you can also do web design…and would you mind writing some tweets on the side?
It’s a common problem, especially for those who do agency work, but it must be avoided or things will spiral out of control.
Before you know it, you'll be overloaded with stuff you're not sure how to do. You won't be able to provide your clients and customers with the high quality work that you promised.
Your specialty is what makes you marketable, so don’t try to do more than you can handle.
Mistake #5: Not Tracking Your Marketing Efforts
It turns out that 37% of marketers don't track ROI from their campaigns. But trust me, you want to be able to prove that the awesome ideas you have are good for the company.
If you know how to connect with customers, but aren't necessarily tracking what you're doing, it's time to get on it. If you don't track, you don't know.
Take a course in marketing analytics as an introduction. Udemy has tons of affordable online courses for people just like you:
Tools can also help you track your efforts:
RavenTools is great for tracking campaigns (like a new viral video).
Google Analytics is the best way to figure out what's happening on your site. Consider taking a training course.
KISSmetrics gives you customer insight using Google Analytics -- a must-use.
Mistake #6: Going Big Without a Test
When you strike on a great idea, it's tempting to jump on it like you're a gold miner in 1849. But stop and think about what happened to those gold-miners: most came up with empty pockets.
Capterra, a free service that helps businesses find software, spent tens of thousands of dollars on campaigns that weren't fruitful. Consultants-- and often the media channels themselves-- talked them into the idea of 'go big or don't bother,' whether it was for live events, radio ads, or print media.
Michael Ortner, Capterra's CEO, admits they could have tested more in those traditional ad channels, been more entrepreneurial, and experimented with different ideas on a small scale in order to identify the critical success factors before going big.
If you don't test things out, especially big ideas, it's impossible to know if things will work. When there's a lot of money on the line, you need to be careful. Start small and scale up.
Mistake #7: Underestimating 'Buzz' and Free Publicity
Wouldn't it be great if every time a potential buyer logged into Facebook saw your company name? Of course it would be.
But paid advertising isn't the only way to get noticed. Before you drain your funds for a paid strategy on LinkedIn, think of ways you can generate buzz and get some free publicity.
When Outleads began marketing, they were attracted to expensive ideas, thinking that the high price implied substantial results. They discovered that free and low-cost ideas generated most of their site visits, and that making smart marketing decisions requires a case by case evaluation.
So how can you implement low-cost marketing solutions? Getting PR is an easy one. If you reach out to writers, influencers, and reporters with compelling ideas, they'll likely write about you.
If you're looking for more ways to generate buzz for free, you can totally learn how to skip the PR agency and do it yourself.
Mistake #8: Being Too Much of a Perfectionist
You can probably hear your first grade teacher's voice over and over in your head saying 'nobody's perfect.' Unfortunately, if you're like most professionals attempting to make a splash, you want to get pretty darn close.
This happens all the time to writers -- they slave away over the details of an article for days on the quest to perfection. Sure, they catch mistakes and improve their work, but they also dedicate so much time and energy to one article that they forget to think about things like overall strategy.
It's tempting to be perfect, but remember that going 90% of the way instead of 100% still gets the job done.
Mistake #9: Neglecting to Learn Who Your Customers Are
When you build your business, you have a certain idea of who the product and services are for, but what if you're wrong?
Forte Strong, a 'failure to launch' program that works with young men who have trouble leaving their parents' homes, based their entire marketing strategy upon appealing to the young man that the company would be working with. They designed their website based on the official Marine Corps site in an effort to attract the demographic.
But they were marketing to the wrong audience. Yes, they worked with young men, but the real client was the parents--that 40-60 year old parent (usually the mom) who was paying the monthly tuition cost to get her son support.
Make sure you understand who your customers are. If you want to market to them with resources and insights, you'll have to understand what makes them tick.
You Know What You're Doing...
Did this list make your hairline breakout in sweat? Don't worry! You know what you're doing. Be confident, work to improve any issues, and keep on rockin'.
I only know so much (and I've been known to screw up from time to time). I want to hear from you...
Let me know if you also think these are the most common marketing mistakes!
Do you have tips for entrepreneurs looking to improve how they market?