The evolution of the internet has generated endless opportunities for businesses, but has also created an environment of fierce competition. It takes research, practice and a great marketing plan to stand out from the crowd and be successful.
Here are five of the most common marketing mistakes a new business might make when launching their products or services.
1. You don’t have a website
According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), almost half of Australian businesses don’t have a website.
Even if your small business only deals with a local market, it’s important to have a business website, as your customers are connected online more than ever – with over 61% of consumers searching for and purchase products and services online.
Websites don’t need to be expensive or elaborate. You can set one up by using a content management system (CMS) such as WordPress or Joomla, which are free and easy to use. Ensure you set up tracking, such as Google Analytics, to report your traffic, as marketing in action means nothing if you’re not measuring your results.
2. You don’t track results
The backbone of your content measurement should revolve around your website analytics. If you’re not tracking your marketing efforts, you don’t know what’s working and what’s not, and this could lead to wasted expenditure.
Tracking may involve using Google Analytics to monitor your web traffic, conversions through your pay-per-click ads, or calls and foot traffic from a big sale. A good place to start is reporting on:
- Page views
- Time on site
- Crawl rate
- Bounce rate
- Inbound links
It doesn’t need to be complicated – for ideas, read our blog ‘3 Simple Ways to Measure Your Marketing Impact’.
3. You believe marketing is an expense, not an investment
For some businesses it would be easy to believe that everything you do in marketing is an expense. This is a dangerous mindset and could be setting your marketing goals up to fail.
Marketing doesn’t have to be expensive and there are plenty of reputable websites that can provide you with ideas and inspiration. The best approach is to lay out your marketing objectives in a simple, well thought-out and fully documented plan.
Track your marketing expenses easily using online accounting software such as QuickBooks Online and you’ll always know where you stand.
4. You blow your marketing budget on one big thing
In the lead-up to a launch or any other big event, it can be tempting to use your marketing budget, believing it will help you attract a large crowd and get business faster. You might throw a party, do opening specials and put everything you have into making an impact.
However, marketing requires sustained and consistent investment to increase your visibility and demonstrate your expertise. Remember, it takes time to build a following. If you set aside a long-term budget (and you’re tracking your results), you’ll know where to tweak your plan as you go.
5. You fake it or lose your cool
It’s important to be mindful of what others say about your business. The reviews you receive on product marketplaces or review/opinion sites can make or break your reputation.
Be aware of what people are saying and if the reviews are negative, tread carefully. You’ll never please all your customers, so how you respond is critical. There’s nothing more damaging than reacting badly and losing your cool online.
Before you reply, consider the response you’d want if you were the customer. Best practice is to apologise for the frustration caused and ask how to you can help resolve the issue.
Also, don’t create fake reviews about your products or services. If the customers don’t find out, the review website will, and you can be blacklisted for life. Ask your customers to provide reviews when they’re happy, and your reputation will be built over time.
Marketing might feel like a minefield, but there are plenty of online resources with information and ideas to get you started. Even if you hire a reputable marketing manager or consultant, it’s advisable to have at least a basic understanding of what’s out there and to keep informed.
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