Any competent business owner knows that marketing mistakes can be incredibly costly. From the missed opportunities that come with failing to reach your target audience, to competitors muscle in on your market share and negatively impacting sales, marketing tactics that negatively impact how clearly you're able to communicate your value to users can destroy brand growth in a matter of months, weeks, or even days. Oddly, you'll often hear and read stories about how to do digital marketing the right way, but those sorts of articles and stories don't address what exactly went wrong and what you as a business owner can learn from these mistakes. In an effort to help you learn what not to do when creating a digital marketing campaign so that you can quickly and efficiently build campaigns that won't suffer from reduced ROI, I've identified 5 of the most common marketing mistakes that businesses make and address how these issues can be solved:
1. Marketing Without Goals
Nothing is more disappointing than when a client says they need to focus on a specific marketing channel, yet have no plan, strategy or rationale as to why that channel makes sense for helping them to achieve their goals. It's impossible to start marketing without knowing what your milestones, goals, or key performance indicators (KPIs) are. To try and do so is a huge mistake, and while it seems fairly obvious the reality is that a lot of businesses out there do this all the time. If you fail to identify what you'd like to accomplish with a marketing campaign, there's no possible way you can measure effectiveness and hold any specific elements of your strategy accountable for success or failure and reallocate budget appropriately. For example, if a single channel of your marketing strategy is bringing you a certain number of leads, how can you tell if it's the best performance possible? Without a strategy that includes clearly outlined goals, and performance thresholds there is no way to accurately develop a plan that will let you reach the goals you've set.
2. A Dollar and a Dream
A lot of people understand the premise "in order to make money you have to spend money" but a lot of people fail to establish it to their business. Whether you are a startup or an established brand in the Fortune 500, this theory is true. A lot of businesses think that they can bootstrap their marketing efforts using things like social media, free email platforms, template websites, and SEO, but the reality is that these all have a very low growth ceiling and in order for them to grow you need to spend - whether that is an actual budget for paid advertising or for manpower to create content, designs, emails, and other collateral you need to succeed.
When considering marketing budgets its important to understand that whatever product or service you sell, for every dollar you spend you won't get return on investment right away. Sometimes this is because of something called a "loss leader", which is when you lose money in order to acquire a first time customer, and then get more than even return on investment over the course of that customers relationship with you. Marketing investments take time, and while the buying cycle for each company varies most B2Bs have a buying cycle that could be anywhere from 6 months to 2 years, and for a B2C the product cycle could range from a single day to a 1-3 month period.
3. Not Focusing On Returning Visitors
On most websites it's not first time visitors that are going to make massive purchases, regardless of whether a business is B2B or B2C. Repeat visitors almost always convert a higher rate and with a higher average purchase than first time visitors. A lot of business owners overlook this fact and remain focused on continuously bringing new customers to their website instead of considering how they can get customers to come back and buy again.
Ideally, businesses should use a broad range of marketing tactics to achieve this goal. Email marketing and display advertising retargeting are two very effective and widely used options. Once you capture a user's email, you can send them high quality-content with an incentive or perk that they will find valuable and appealing. Similarly, proper retargeting while show customers a product or service they were considering in order to get them back to the website to complete their purchase. Going beyond things like standard pay per click and display advertising in order to add retargeting is something that doesn't happen as often as it is should, and not doing so is a huge mistake that leads bundles of money unclaimed for any online business.
4. Content Lacking Value
Everyone knows that content is king when it comes to generating new traffic to your website that builds brand recognition and gives your business more potential customers to convert. What a lot of businesses seem to miss is the fact that the content actually needs to be valuable. Users want to invest their time and money with your brand because they know you're knowledgeable in your specific industry. If you don't provide them with the content to showcase that, users won't see your value. In order to make content valuable to your audience focus on he needs of your users, both real and perceived, and address them quickly and efficiently. Include vibrant imagery such as infographics, graphs, animations, and photos to reinforce messaging without overwhelming the reader with too much text. Also including quantitative data like relevant statistics to help substantiate any statements or thoughts you're presenting in your content is a great way to add legitimacy and trust.
If this isn't your first time on our blog, you know that we share all of our expertise here and have garnered a significant following because of it. Content marketing has helped us to grow immensely as an organization by presenting our employees as thought leaders, and its played a key role in attracting new clients for us.
5. Not Knowing Your Audience
Too often, you'll hear start-ups claim they have the best product in their vertical, and that it's for everyone. This is rarely (if ever) true, because in general most businesses understand that products and services can't be designed for everyone - they should aim fulfill a unique need to a very specific audience. Just from a financial standpoint, unless you're a Fortune 500 company, you're not going to have the finances to market to "everyone" correctly anyway. If a business thinks that their target audience is everyone, then they probably haven't done proper due diligence to identify who your target customer is and likely don't have a strategy that is aligned with that customer's needs in mind either. This is setting up any marketing efforts for failure. Know how your market is - the more niche, the greater your chances of success. It's better to target a very narrow demographic of users you know how to reach and whose behavior and interests you understand rather than just going after "everyone".
Your Brand and Your Marketing Needs Are Unique
Marketing mistakes can be costly on so many different levels. From financial losses to missed opportunities, if you're trying to grow your brand you can't afford to make any of the common and very fixable mistakes I've outlined above. Take the time really understand who your company should be trying to attract with your marketing efforts and to try and understand their unique needs.