4 Marketing Pitfalls Small Business Owners Should Avoid
Jun 27, 2019
Marketing can sometimes be overwhelming, especially for new business owners. Today I want to focus on four marketing pitfalls that all business owners should avoid. Avoiding these mistakes will help ensure that you stay on the path to marketing success.
1. Confusing your Audience
Don't try and jam all your marketing points into one marketing vehicle. We live in a world of quick and instant gratification. You have about 8 seconds to get your message across to your audience (5 seconds if you are targeting millennials). If your audience starts to feel overwhelmed with the amount they have to read, or they have to concentrate on what you're trying to tell them, they will quickly lose interest.
Avoid overusing words or technical terms in your marketing messages. One way you can ensure you're not talking over their heads is to write your messages as if you're talking to a group of third graders. If third graders can understand what you're saying, then you know you're clear for your targeted audience.
Competitors are just around the corner, so don't confuse your audience to where your competition can easily win them over. Stick with simple, compelling marketing messages that are easy to understand, but will leave a lasting impression.
2. Losing Sight of Your Marketing Goals
Some business owners lose sight of what's effective when they let their egos dictate their marketing spending.
An elaborate grand opening event may be a great way to impress friends and family, but if it means you have to cut corners in areas that may bring in more customers, it's a waste of your marketing dollars.
Similarly, don't be tempted to overspend when approached by agencies or advertising salespeople looking to help you spend your marketing dollars. Just because it's an exciting idea or it's currently on sale doesn't mean it's the right fit for your business right now. Always refer back to your marketing plan to make sure you're in line with your marketing goals BEFORE you commit to spending.
Advertising, public relations, and marketing consulting agencies come in various sizes and with different price tags. If you need to hire outside help, but you're on a small budget, make sure you interview multiple agencies and get comfortable with who is taking control of your marketing. Their ideas and budget recommendations should be in line with your marketing plan. Be realistic! Don't get so wrapped up in the excitement of all the great marketing opportunities that you lose track of the reality of where you are in your business, at this moment. The worst thing you can do is get partially into a plan only to find you don't have the funds to see it through to the end. Start small and grow your marketing plan as your business grows.
3. Wanting Everyone to Be Your Social Media Friend
Not everyone needs to be your friend. We get it, I promise. You want to increase your social media followers, and we want to encourage you to work toward that increase as well. To do this, you need to start with clear goals to be successful in your social media platforms.
You need to know your target audience and what message they need to hear in order to take action. You shouldn't be worried about growing your social media followers in terms of numbers, but rather on increasing quality followers who care about what you are selling or providing. Your goal is to turn those quality followers into clients.
Quality followers will build social media platforms. People will follow your business because they trust the content you are providing and because it's relevant to them. You're helping them solve problems, and you're bringing value to them, day in and day out. Your reputation is built over time, so as you gain trusted followers, you'll see them engaging more with you and your brand. They are then more likely to share your content, which in turn leads to more quality followers, and the cycle continues.
4. Talking About Yourself
Your clients are much more interested in themselves than they are in you! They aren't interested in hearing anything you have to say until you start talking about issues relevant to them.
When planning your marketing, you need to be focused and in tune with your customers. You need to know them better than they know themselves. You need to speak their language, show up where they show up, and focus on speaking directly to them. You know their pain points and how your services can help them with their pain points, so let them know what they can get from your products or services, not what you do.
Here is an example of a situation in which you can turn a conversation around to where it centers on them. Someone asks you,
"Why don't you tell me about your company and what kind of clients you focus on?" Resist the temptation to delve right into your story. Instead, redirect the conversation with something like, "Sure, but first do you mind telling me a few things about your company so I can be sure to discuss issues that may be most relevant to your situation?"
At this point, ask pointed questions about THEM to get that conversation started. I bet you'll find that by keeping the discussion focused on them, the conversation lasts a whole lot longer than had you gone directly into your company pitch.
In conclusion, communicate your marketing messages effectively by stepping back to the basics. Don't confuse or stress out your audience with information overload. Always keep your marketing goals at the forefront of your mind. Don't try and make friends with everyone online. Lastly, people are selfish by nature, so talk about them, them, and then them some more.