Starting a business has many terrifying aspects of it and marketing is just one of them. But it doesn’t HAVE to be terrifying. The main thing is to have everything all lined up and ready to go!
Below I have outlined the 5 most common mistakes people starting their own business make when it comes to marketing.
1. No marketing strategy
This is the biggest mistake most start-ups make. Trying to market a business without a strategy means you have no road map to follow. Without objectives, you have nothing to quantify success against.
A marketing strategy is not the same as marketing tactics. Tactics are the individual initiatives you put into place to work in line with your strategy.
A marketing strategy is a long-term approach to planning with the fundamental goal of achieving a sustainable and competitive edge. Do not underestimate the importance of strategy if your marketing is to be successful.
“Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.”
― Sun Tzu
2. Scatter gun marketing:
With no strategy in place, there is no clear goal and that can lead to a ‘scatter gun’ approach to marketing tactics. This basically means trowing everything at it in the hope that something will hit the mark.
This can lead to huge unnecessary marketing costs and very little return on investment.
The way to avoid this comes back to strategy. Doing a strategy will make you really consider who your customer is, and then you can decide how best to target them. For example, if you are trying to market a care home, is there any point in being on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram? Is your target market using these platforms? Maybe. But there may well be something that is going to be much more effective, that these platforms can work alongside to support. So rather than doing huge campaigns on everything, think about how each platform can support the other and where your money is best invested to optimise your return on investment (ROI).
3. No management of marketing tactics
What you can’t do, once you have taken the time to do your strategy, put a comprehensive list of tactics together in order to keep in line with your strategy, and set up your campaigns, social pages, blog page, website etc is not manage these things.
Social media is a great example of how not managing the platforms, you have set out to market on, can be hugely damaging to a brand. A dormant business Facebook page, for example, tells the customer, you don’t really care, or can’t be bothered. This looks much worse than if you didn’t have one at all. Remember, consumers look for companies on social media platforms to reassure them that the company they are about to do business with is reputable, busy, and trustworthy. If you have a page that has not been posted on for 2 months, no reviews, barely any followers or likes, no informative or engaging content, those customers are likely going to look elsewhere. That is a fact. So once set up, keep on top of managing it.
Websites also need to be managed, content needs to be up to date, images need to be up to date, news needs to be relevant and so on. By making regular amends to your website copy your organic search engine optimisation (SEO) will also increase as Google will like to see you are actively offering searchers fresh and new information within your website.
Management also means looking at any reports you can from campaigns that have been set up. Either social media campaigns or digital marketing campaigns and also the analytics for your website. By managing this and understanding what has been successful and what hasn’t you will have a better understanding of where to invest your money going forward.
4. No brand consistency
One thing that many start up businesses forget, is that while building business is the main aim of the game, building your brand needs to be part of the process. Brand reinforcement is something that should be in every aspect of your marketing.
Business cards, websites, social media pages, direct mail, digital marketing, uniforms, posters and so on all need to reinforce your brand, as well as sell your services or product.
If you were to line up all your marketing outlets, would you know they were all marketing your business? Brand is not all about your logo, although of course this is a huge element of the brand. It is about how your consumers perceive your business. The tone of voice in your content, the types of images you use all go towards building your brand. If your social media pages are light hearted, jokey and flamboyant, but the product you are selling is serious and your packaging simple, your brand is disjointed, and consumers will be left confused.
Your consumer wants to know and understand you as a brand. Think of the big players, for example Apple. Apple consumers trust the Apple brand, they know what they are getting from every Apple product they purchase. The success of Apple is almost entirely down to the brand. There are many other phones that can do what the iPhone does, many other tablets that can do what the iPad does, but their consumers love and trust their brand and are therefore loyal to the brand. Apple are consistent in their messaging, tone, visuals and consumer experience.
Take the time to consider how you want your brand to be perceived and then ensure this is reinforced in every aspect of your marketing. This is the only way to build a successful brand.
5. Try to do it all themselves
Starting up a business is time consuming, exhausting and stressful. There is huge amounts of work to get done and taking on the challenge of marketing a new business can tip the work load over the edge.
To market your business successfully, you need to dedicate time, and not everyone has that time, or indeed wants to dedicate the time.. don’t tell anyone, but it is OK not to like marketing!
Hiring a full time member of marketing staff is out of the question for most small and medium sized businesses, so it tends to fall onto the list of things to get done. That is where I can help! What may seem like a huge task to you (as a non marketeer) is actually not too huge a task for someone who knows what they are doing. So why not consider using a virtual marketing assistant to help you get on your way? We can work with you to create a strategy and marketing plan, to ensure your marketing is focused and effective, and we can make sure your brand is consistent across all areas. The best thing is that we can also work to most budgets, so you don’t have to worry about that either. By doing this, you can focus on the running of the business, safe in the knowledge the marketing of your business is being taken care of.
If you would like to find out if we could help you, get in touch. We would love to help you build your brand, and your business.