When you spend all your working time strategizing, reviewing, and creating marketing for businesses, like I do, you come across repeating mistakes that a lot of companies make.
Of course, they’re easy to spot for a professional marketeer, but they’re not so obvious for the decision-makers in these businesses if marketing isn’t something they’ve got experience with.
When you run a business, you need to wear many different hats – sales, marketing, accounts, human resources, the list goes on – and it’s no surprise that not all those hats are going to fit.
If you want to check you’re not making any blunders, or if you’re astute enough to know you need some marketing guidance, here’s a list of the most common marketing mistakes I come across that you should avoid…
Not Reviewing Insights
I am always surprised by the number of businesses – big and small – who don’t look at their performance metrics. The litmus test for success for many companies is based on the turnover and, if business is good, they don’t see the point in delving deeper.
It’s a short-sighted decision.
If suddenly things drop off a cliff, you’re on the back-foot trying to figure out where it went wrong. If you were keeping an eye on your performance metrics, you would probably have seen the cliff dive coming and could have prepared a plan to avoid it.
Google Analytics should be checked regularly – even when sales are up! It will help you understand customer journeys, seasonal trends, which pages make people bounce off quickly, and which bits of content on your website are working really well (these are the ones you can lean on and replicate).
More than that, it will confirm or inform you of exactly who your customers are and how they found you.
It’s absolute gold dust, and it’s completely free and at your fingertips. Please use it!
The same goes for social media insights – make sure you’re checking who you’re attracting on there, how they’re engaging, what’s triggering them, and when they’re usually online. Then use it to perfect your content choices and timing.
Relying on Personal Preferences
It’s easy to make marketing decisions based on your own personal preferences.
Would you respond to that social media post?
Would you want to buy that product?
Would you click the link in that email?
The reality is, you may not think, feel and react like your target customers. It’s so important to put aside what you like and be objective about it.
I also come across lots of camera-shy people who won’t feature in marketing videos or team highlights because they hate being infront of a lens. But, if the stats show that video content is the most consumed media type by your buyers, you need to find a way to get over it!
Only Focusing on Sales
We all know sales is the end-goal for most businesses, so of course that’s what you want to achieve with your marketing, but it needs to be appropriate.
This is one occasion where you should ignore my point above and actually think about what you like!
When you’re scrolling through Facebook, do you take in all the adverts, or do you stop and read the stories, advice, and moments people share?
If you followed a page and all they posted was hard sales posts, would you switch off (even if you actually like what they sell)? Most people would - and do.
I’ve heard business owners object to soft posts because ‘that’s not showing what we’re selling’, but if it’s of interest to your audience then they’ll respond positively.
A dog food company, for example, should be creating content that dog owners like – talking about Crufts, giving hot weather advice for pets, sharing facts about different dog breeds. None of those mention buying their dog food, but they’re much more likely to be seen and liked, which still supports the end goal of eventually leading to sales.
Human beings are more interested in people than sales messages, so start storytelling.
Show people what you’re all about - what your values are, why you do what you do - rather than telling them. This could be in videos, case studies, or little snippets about things you’ve been doing to help others.
Ok, I’m going to say the two dreaded words… marketing strategy!
If you don’t have a defined plan for your marketing activity, you’ll likely fall into the trap of making rushed, last-minute campaigns.
You’ll be reactive, rather than responsive. It’s exhausting, and it usually results in poorer results!
Typically, businesses make knee-jerk reactions when they see a lull in sales and they want to get immediate results. Marketing doesn’t often work like that – it’s not a tap you can switch on and off.
Consistency is always key to maintaining a steady pipeline and, for this, you need a clear marketing strategy.
Hands up if you insist on signing-off everything?
How well is that working out for you?!
I completely understand the desire to make sure everything is perfect, but this hands-on approach usually causes unnecessary delays and stops you being responsive.
I’ve seen both ends of this spectrum and the businesses that allow team members to make decisions based on their skillsets (the reason they were hired) are always more productive and generally more creative.
Let go of the reins and delegate to people that can show you their full potential. To hold on too tightly damages morale, stifles ideas, and leaves you way behind your competitors.
This one is such a simple mistake, but it really does have a big impact.
So many times I have visited websites and, if I’m not familiar with the company, I’ll look for their social media icons, click to explore further, and hit the dreaded ‘page not found’ screen.
Speaking as a consumer, that’s a total turn-off!
Not being able to find a business on social media always raises my suspicion on their credibility and if you’re making it hard for me to find out more about you, I’ll just move on to another company.
The truth is, it’s probably just because you made an update to the page name, which caused the url to change, and you forgot to update the link on your website. It’s losing you new followers and potentially new customers - check your links!
The same goes for your website – make sure any internal links are still working. The customer experience is massively affected if they hit a brick wall navigating your site.
Have you slipped on any banana skins lately? Drop your experiences in the comments section!