Avoid These 10 Marketing Goofs

by Stephanie Faris on January 4, 2013
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As a competitive small-business owner, it’s easy to get so caught up in the latest trends that you lose sight of your company’s goals. This can, of course, lead to disaster. One way to make sure that you stick with your own marketing strategy is to steer clear of some common pitfalls.

Here are 10 marketing mistakes your small business should avoid:

  1. Playing “follow the leader” — One marketing guru declares that informational videos are the next big thing in marketing and everyone rushes to create their own informational videos. But what works for one small business may not work for another. Instead of trying to keep up with the Joneses, tailor your marketing campaign to your customers.
  2. Forgetting to provide contact information — According to BIA/Kelsey, 60 percent of SMB websites in the U.S. do not list a phone number on their homepage. Yet what’s the point of creating a website — or any other marketing collateral — that doesn’t enable and encourage customer follow-through? Your marketing message is wasted if your customers can’t easily determine how to contact you.
  3. Overstrategizing — The longtime adage “Keep It Simple, Stupid” applies here. Some of the biggest marketing success stories of our time are also the simplest ones. Tell customers why your product is great, where they can buy it, and why it’s better than the competition’s — and you’ve told them everything they need to know.
  4. Failing to learn from the past — There’s a good reason businesses spend large amounts of time and money on analytics. At the end of every marketing campaign, you should analyze its results and put any insights you gain to good use in your next one.
  5. Living in the past — Believe it or not, some businesses still accept only cash and have no online presence, including social media and review sites like Yelp. Failure to adapt to 21st-century consumer reality can cause unnecessary inconveniences for customers and make your business appear less successful than its tech-savvy counterparts.
  6. Skipping traditional marketing — On the flip side, the digital world isn’t everything. There’s still a place for good old-fashioned marketing. Brochures, billboards, traditional coupons, and radio and print ads remain extremely powerful ways to get your message across to a large segment of the population at once.
  7. Neglecting your overall image — No matter how many status updates or print ads you publish, if your business projects a poor image, you’re wasting your time and money. A shabby storefront or neglected signage speaks volumes. Take a serious look at everything — from your building’s condition to your employees’ attire — and ask yourself whether your company is putting its best face forward.
  8. Harassing customers — Repeatedly calling, texting, emailing, and/or mailing customers repeatedly does little but drive those customers away. Contact should be well-timed and infrequent, with special deals tailored to your client base. A new deal every day becomes a nuisance if those deals have nothing to do with customers’ actual interests.
  9. Ignoring competitors — As important as it is to focus on what’s best for your business, you can’t disregard what your competitors are doing. In today’s smartphone-based world, consumers can easily check prices from the aisles of your store. Keep up with what your competitors are charging and price your products or services accordingly.
  10. Putting marketing first — In the end, what really matters most are your products or services. All the marketing in the world means nothing if consumers are disappointed … and they share that disappointment with other potential customers. Focus on delivering a quality experience to customers and develop your marketing strategy accordingly.
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