1. Hap-Hazard Marketing
Having no clear long term strategy is the first step towards failure. Advertising every now and then along with portraying mixed messages is what far too many companies do.
Customers rarely take action the first time they hear something being advertised, so have a clear advertising strategy and make it consistent.
2. Only Advertising When You Need Customers
This is one of the biggest mistakes that startup and small businesses make. Advertising should be an ongoing activity, especially given that there’s a lag between advertising and potential customers taking action. If anything, boom periods should be reflected with high levels of advertising – that way you can capitalise on good times.
3. Copying The Competition
Don’t think that you’re competitors know what they’re doing. Just because they’re advertising in a publication or magazine doesn’t mean that it’s working. Don’t be a follower – usually the chances are that advertising elsewhere will be more effective.
There are exceptions to this. If one of your competitors is receiving a lot of press coverage you may want to assess things and improve your PR activities.
Similarly, if your competitor has a much higher pay per click ad position you may want to take aspects of what they are doing and use it for your pay per click advertising. In essence, pick and choose carefully what you copy from competitors.
4. Not Tracking Results
Not tracking the effectiveness of your advertising is criminal – you’re almost throwing away money. You should be able to reliably track every single sale or new member.
You can use online tracking tools to track online advertising, have a simple ‘where did you hear about us’ question on the membership registration page, include different voucher codes depending on the advertising medium, or even track the effectiveness of advertising through using different phone numbers.
5. Trying To Save Where It Counts
Don’t try to save money where it shows. A basic website says that you’re a new business strapped for cash. Black and white flyers say ‘don’t take us seriously’. When it comes to what your customers see, whether that’s your product, website or marketing material, you should spend what it takes to get everything looking right.
6. Viewing The Prices, Then Selecting The Advertising Space
It happens all the time. Businesses approach a publication to enquire about the cost of advertising. ‘Far too expensive’ is the conclusion. So what do they do? They go and advertise in a cheaper publication that their target audience doesn’t even read.
Remember what the former president of the United States once said – “Never buy what you don’t need because it’s cheap.” This also applies to untargeted advertising space.
7. Running An Advert Once
How often have you heard a company director say ‘we ran an ad in that edition once. It did nothing. I’m definitely not doing that again.’ It may not have worked because it was the wrong place to advertise, but a lot of the time companies never gave it a chance.
In business-to-business marketing an ad must be run 3 to 7 times before it has any effect. If you don’t ever repeat your advertising you’ll always struggle to get a decent response.
8. Forgetting Your Unique Sales Proposition (USP)
Small businesses in particular are prone to changing their advertising message all the time. They run one advert, fail to get the response they hoped for, and then change the image and message of their advertising the next time around. The result is that there’s no consistency and along the way their USP is lost.
Carefully select one message at the beginning and systematically repeat this message again and again.
9. Not Following Things Through
Small business owners tend to have so many things that they’d like to do and try but too little time. As a consequence too many marketing ideas are never seen through – company newsletters and blogs being two of the main ones to be ditched because they take a long time to show results. Don’t waste time and money starting something that you can’t follow through.
10. Ignoring Repeat Business
You don’t always have to attract new customers. For established companies repeat business tends to account for around 80% of sales. Don’t be afraid to focus your marketing efforts on building relationships with existing customers – it will often prove to be your most cost-effective marketing.