Mistakes are bound to happen…to err is human after all, but this list is not devoted to the minor typo or the campaign that just never quite got off the ground. We’re talking about the big picture mistakes that many businesses…even the big ones…make and what you can do to avoid them.
Mistake #1: Failing to identify your sweet spots – The world is crowded, your local market is crowded, if you don’t figure out what keeps you in business, you won’t be for very long. Develop a profile of your ideal customer (your evangelists) and what specifically your business provides that keeps them coming back, then use it to tell the story of why your business exists.
Mistake #2: Not sharing the story internally and externally – You may have a limited marketing budget which you believe is the reason why no one knows about your business (this is also a mistake). However, if you haven’t crafted and developed a compelling story (Mistake #1) and shared it with everyone you know (including your employees, friends, neighbors, and social media community) then you have no one but yourself to blame. Advertising does not equal marketing. Get creative about inspiring people who can help you share the story of why your organization rocks.
Mistake #3: Not living the story you are telling – This is actually an addendum to Mistakes #1 and #2, your story must not only be compelling, but it must also be true and authentic to what your organization is about. In other words, you and your employees must eat, breathe and believe in what your business says it delivers to its customers. So create and share your vision for what your brand stands for with those who are responsible for making it real.
Mistake #4: Doing nothing – If you are not doing anything to promote your business and you are not willing to set time aside each week (at least) to think about your marketing strategy and to implement a communications plan, it is a mistake. Many small business owners believe they are too busy, don’t have enough money, or just feel overwhelmed by the process of “marketing.” It really doesn’t have to be that hard…if you just can’t pay attention to marketing then consider enlisting some outside help. One additional note…if you are doing some promotion of your business but you aren’t doing anything to measure the impact your efforts are having, you’ll want to correct that, too.
Mistake #5: Doing too much – On the flip side of Mistake #4, is the classic error of doing way too much to promote your business. You might ask, “Can you really promote your business too much?” The short answer is yes, you can. Signs that you are doing more than what is ideal for your business in the present moment include: a) you are in a feast or famine mode with your marketing (i.e. you are doing everything you can think of for short periods of time without having a measurable plan to guide you, then you do nothing for weeks or months at a time); b) the money you are spending outweighs the ROI you are getting from your efforts; and c) your current marketing budget and strategy are not sustainable (or do not exist).
Of course, this list could go on and on. Marketing mistakes abound, however, if you’re struggling to figure out why your business is struggling to gain ground in the market you are targeting (you do have a target market, right?), these are five of the key areas you may wish to work on as you move forward. If you need help in the process, let us know.