Perfect product? Check.
Solid business plan? Check.
A team of motivated employees? Check.
So why isn’t your business taking off? The answer is more than likely a problem with your marketing. When business is slow, one of the first places big companies look to cut costs and revamp strategies is the marketing department.
The time to take action is now. If you’re launching a business, you should know that some experts predict 90 percent of startups will fail in the current market. Competition is undeniably tough, and many new firms simply can’t handle the pressure.
Mistakes in marketing are some of the main reasons that businesses shut down. If you’re just starting your business, you’ll want to avoid these extremely common marketing failures.
1. Going Too Light on Marketing
Marketing will be one of your largest expenses, but don’t let big numbers keep you from diving in. You have to spend money on marketing to make money, even if it’s a challenge to come up with the funds at first.
Competition in every niche is beyond whatever you can imagine, and the only way you can make your presence known above the din is through your marketing efforts.
According to research businesses that makes less than $25 million in revenue invest 11% of their revenues on marketing.
Sure you could bootstrap your way through marketing but who said that boostrapping means not spending a thing?
Even if bootstrapping is about spending nothing. Bootstrapping is usually done in the early days of a startup before the business has any money.
So, eventually you’ll need to spend money on marketing and the sooner you do it, the better.
2. Putting Too Much Money Into Marketing
On the other hand, marketing can quickly eat through your funds, and leave your firm without enough money to stay in business. One of the primary ways that startups fail is by scaling too quickly. They anticipate success with a marketing strategy and begin pouring their efforts and resources into the plan.
One of two things will happen. You either lose all your money on the marketing activities with very little return, or you develop massive leads but are incapable of keeping up with the demand. Either scenario can end in disaster.
You have to strike a balance when you spend money on marketing. Budget carefully, and look for the best possible ventures that will bring the strongest return on investment. Marketing must be monitored constantly if you want to identify what’s working effectively and which efforts should be abandoned.
You need to make sure you don’t mistake big company marketing with startup marketing. They are totally different things. For example, big companies spend money on bill boards and TV commercials. If you’re a startup that’s stupid, if you’re a big company trying to create brand awareness then that’s good. So make sure you’ve got that right.
3. Focusing on the Wrong Channels
Marketing endeavors are completely pointless if you resort to the wrong channels. Many budding entrepreneurs understand in theory that appealing to the correct audience is critical, but when they put this into practice, they learn it’s a difficult beast to conquer.
Focusing on the right channels involves recognizing the target audiences for each of your products or services, then directing all your marketing efforts to those channels. You have to understand which avenues are likely to bring you the most promising attention, and thereby the best return, and which are apt to lose money.
It also involves choosing to focus your efforts on the channels that speak your customers’ language. If you’re marketing on social media, for example, you’ll want to post your advertisements on the networks your target audience is most likely to frequent. Here’s an infographic that will help with that…
This should give you an idea of where your target customer is hanging out.
4. Staying Under the Radar
Can your customers find you? Or do they run across several of your competitors before your page turns up in the search results?
The focus of Internet marketing has grown considerably to encompass such factors as content marketing, digital advertising, social networking, and other metrics that must be understood and measured. But it doesn’t take away from the importance of search engine optimization.
Startups who ignore this useful marketing tool will in turn find themselves ignored on the web.
You see, search engines can send you thousands of visitors per month if you rank on the first page. Best of all, you don’t have to pay a dime because it’s organic. Also users search for specific queries and therefore search engine traffic will always be more targetted than all other traffic channels.
So search engine traffic has two benefits that no other traffic channel has.
- It’s free (although it takes time)
- More targetted
The most important factor for ranking on search engines like Google is… getting links from authoritative sites. It’s done through a method commonly known as “Link Building“. The best way to get started with link building is to start with the skyscraper technique and guest blogging.
Another thing is, you need to optimize your content for SEO by putting relevant keywords. You can do that on WordPress using the Yoast SEO plugin.
5. Comparing Yourself to Competitors
Your success should not be measured against that of your competitors. Of course, you should monitor the performance of your competition to understand what you’re up against, but becoming too wrapped up in their processes and decisions will kill the unique character and creativity of your operation.
Instead, your business should set some standards and goals and measure progress based on those results. Measurable goals will carry your operation closer to success. Remember there are many roads to success, you just need to pick yours.
6. Neglecting the Mobile Market
Research shows that online searches on mobile devices have now surpassed those of desktop searches. Even with these statistics, many marketers are missing out on this audience due to failing to offer responsive interactions in their marketing techniques.
Is your content equipped for mobile? Websites, graphics, text, creative features, social posts, and other features must be responsive on any size screen. For example, you should avoid Flash-based videos, so they’ll play on the average mobile device.
User experience (UX) is extremely important. As they say in the startup world, “if you want people to adopt something it needs to be practical & easy to use. ” If it’s hard to use then most people will give up and leave. Therefore you need to check your site’s usability from a phone and have a group of people test it too then improve based on feedback.
7. Expecting Too Much Too Soon
Impatience will be your downfall. Of course, you want your business to take off, and quickly, but good things take time. What’s more, marketing efforts are usually about trial and error, and learning from your mistakes along the way. This is a process that won’t happen overnight or even within a couple of weeks.
The most important rule here is to not push things too much. Sometimes, you’ll want to see the writing on the wall and cut off a certain marketing effort before it sucks up your capital, but in other situations, stopping an endeavor before it’s had the chance to succeed can lead to ultimate failure.
In addition, avoid shortcuts, particularly those that are unethical or even illegal. Indulging in these forms of shortcuts could cause serious damage to the business.
It’s extremely common where people read about “Best Traffic Hacks” and then they go and try all of them once or twice only to find out results aren’t as great as they thought they’d be so they give up and move on to the next “hack”. But, it doesn’t work that way. You don’t just try it for a few times and give up. You’re supposed to do it and keep doing it because it accumulates. An example of this is guest blogging, it takes time but it accumulates over time… eventually it’ll take off after a handful of guest posts.
8. Letting Industry Trends Pass You By
If you were in business just a decade ago, understanding the basics of marketing would have kept you in the know for a couple of years at least. Now, however, the marketing strategies of last year are already often outdated!
Technology has brought evolution to marketing tactics at record speed. It’s driving the way we handle advertising and spread awareness for brands. An important aspect of any marketing strategy is recognizing the trends and rolling with them when they come.
Using Google Analytics and other tracking tools will show you trends early on, and help you implement them. Another great way to stay on top of the latest is by reading the top blogs in your industry. Find the top 10 influencers in your industry and subscribe to their email list, then schedule an hour or two (on your calendar) to read their emails. If you don’t feel like you have the time, then hire someone. It’s worth the investment.
9. Ignoring the Customer Opinion
It’s true that you can’t please everyone in marketing, but you can seek opinions that will help you communicate with your audience. Asking customers to share reviews and opinions about your product and customer service helps you move in a positive direction.
It’s also wise to have these reviews posted online where other customers can see them, particularly if they’re positive. Research shows that 92 percent of consumers try to read customer reviews before purchasing a product . This helps you maintain your online reputation and increase conversions.
If you’re using wordpress then here’s a list of plugins you can install to activate reviews on your site. Once you do that, you’ve only got half the equation solved. The other half is to actually doing something about the feedback you’ve got.
10. Underutilizing the Blog
As you well know, blogging is an essential part of bringing traffic to your website. It helps to promote search engine rankings and increase online attention. Setting up a blog is easy and affordable, and most companies have one today. But not everyone is consistent with keeping it updated or promoted.
Blogs should be updated regularly with high quality, well-researched content. Your content should include information that will enlighten and entertain readers, as well as solve their problems. Today, Google is far more interested in the context and credibility of your content than in keywords. If you establish your blog as a frequently-updated authority in your industry, search engines will see your site as valuable.
Your blog can bring greater brand awareness, boost rankings, and put your business in a position of authority, if utilized properly. It can build trust and loyalty among your customers and help you track the fruits of your marketing efforts.
Let’s put it this way…
No one’s going to Google your brand or product names. They are going to Google for problems they have such as “How to lose fat” and not “LoozFat Fitness Program”. That’s exactly why you need a blog and need to blog while practicing link building (since you need to build links in order to get your content on the search engine’s first page).
11. Being Too Professional
In today’s world, being too professional can actually be a major turn off. When you’re trying to entice customers and sell your products, your efforts must be presented in a way that will lead users down a compelling path. Being overly professional can stop this journey in its tracks.
Furthermore, many companies fail to put some personality into their business identity. When customers interact with a company, they want to feel like they’re entering a relationship. Their opinion should be valued and they should feel like the company is on the same level. If the personality of the business feels too stiff and professional, it will be difficult for customers to engage and feel comfortable.
Lesson: Write like you’d talk to a friend.
12. Marketing Without Considering the Returns
Many business owners pursue marketing for their business for the sake of marketing alone; they know they’re supposed to run SEO, start a blog, and engage on social media, but they don’t fully understand why. Pretty soon, sales wane, and the marketing payback isn’t enough to cover the costs. This leads some to give up on marketing entirely and others to pursue the wrong path.
Marketing is about much more than just going through the motions. It’s about following leads, setting goals, tracking performance, and marking the returns as they come. As you pursue your prospects and roll with the trends, you’ll see far greater returns on your efforts.
“Marketing is measuring. If you’re not measuring you’re like a 2 year old playing with lego… hoping something will stick.” – Zak MustaphaClick to tweet
It’s true that the percentage of failing startups is high, but that doesn’t mean your personal failure is written in stone. When you understand the marketing failures that other people have made, you can avoid them and focus on solutions instead.