Don’t Be a Turkey: 6 Marketing Mistakes to Avoid

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Increase Marketing Effectiveness by Avoiding Common Mistakes!

Sometimes we can get so caught up in our marketing and into thinking that we’re doing everything right that we don’t see mistakes that we’re making. It’s important to get up from the trenches, take a step back, and look at the big picture (something we recommend doing on a quarterly basis).

Of course, you might not realize you’re making mistakes if you don’t know what to look for, which is why we decided to create this post and share six mistakes that are easy to miss (or ignore).

1. Not measuring your marketing efforts. Have a website? Running a print ad in the local newspaper? Launching ads on Facebook? Sending out a direct mailer? Great. How are you measuring the effectiveness of each marketing campaign? It’s easy to get caught up in the rush of marketing deadlines and wanting to cross them off your never-ending list. But unless you have a way to measure your marketing programs, how are you going to know what is—and isn’t—working?

Here’s the thing: words and phrases like “analytics” and “measurement” and “leads to customers” can sound overwhelming and may even be reminiscent of high school math class. We get it. You needn’t make the way you measure campaigns overly complicated. On your website, have your web person install Google Analytics. It’s free, and, for the most part, fairly intuitive to understand, at least at a high level. For more “nitty gritty” aspects, such as tracking how effective your Google AdWords campaigns have been, hire someone to set those up and to follow and explain the results in simple language. For print ads or direct mail pieces or anything where you include a phone number, use something like Ring Revenue that allows you to track call performance.

Our point is you need to make sure you have some way to measure your organization’s marketing efforts. It doesn’t matter whether you use a free service, outsource to a consultant, buy an app, or create some sort of internal measurement. What matters is that you measure.

That said, you don’t want to do the opposite and go overboard. Which brings us to our next point.

2. Allowing analytics obsession to paralyze your marketing. “Data diving” is another phrase marketers and consultants like to throw around. They make it sound like a fun summer afternoon: “Look at all this awesome-sauce data we’re swimming in! How lucky are we?”

Don’t get us wrong: we love data and analytics as much as the next marketer, but only if data and analytics can keep the marketing momentum going. Sure—you will encounter times when the data is telling you to stop and rethink things. But most of the time, the data won’t be showing you such bleak scenarios. The data should show the good and the bad, and, yes, you should pay attention to both. But not to the point that it stalls all the rest of your marketing or worse—it stalls you from getting any business done, period.

When you dive into data, you’re essentially jumping into a dark abyss. There will always be something more to investigate, another data point to consider, another story the data could be telling you, a deeper place to dive to. While there is science behind the analytics itself, how you respond to the analytics and what decisions you make next based on “the numbers” is very much a judgment call—and an art.

Don’t overthink things. Listen to your gut. And keep moving your marketing forward.

3. Forgetting who your customers are. Remember what our parents used to tell us about the cruel fact that not everyone is going to like us? That’s OK. You don’t need everyone to like or want to do business with your company. What you need is for your core customers to like you and want to do business with your company. Things like Facebook and Twitter and 24/7 access make it easy to respond and engage with seemingly everyone. But not everyone who engages with you is your core customer.

This doesn’t mean, of course, that you should treat people who aren’t your core customers disrespectfully or that you should ignore them altogether. What it does mean, however, is that you should prioritize your leads and have a way for your staff to identify core customers as opposed to tire kickers—and a process for handling both.

4. Forgetting to thank your customers. Whether it’s new business or repeat business, nothing shows class like a genuine “thank you.” Be it a heartfelt email from the CEO, a handwritten note from the sales rep, or an end-of-year gift (or a combination of all three!), make sure you have a plan and process in place for properly thanking your customers. Check out an example of one of our favorite holiday business gifts to the right – a chocolate business card holder is sure to be a crowd pleaser!

5. Trying to do everything at once when it comes to marketing. This is probably one of the biggest mistakes we see, and we see it most often when it comes to social media. It’s easy to think that your business must be on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, and Pinterest RIGHT NOW. When this thinking happens, we typically see a business owner and his or her the staff starting out gung ho on every social medium imaginable. They’re excited and active. After a few weeks or months, however, tweets start to slow down until they peter out altogether. Facebook doesn’t get updated. A few Pinterest boards become the center of a virtual ghost town.

Marketing is not an all or nothing concept. It’s OK—and recommended—that you add things on in layers over time. For example, if you know you need to revamp your website next quarter, then that should be the main focus. It wouldn’t be the time to also launch a series of webinars, a Pinterest and Google+ account, and a direct mail campaign. Yes, those all sound like great things and possibly all of them are doable IF you have a full-time marketing director (and even then, all the tasks we just listed might be too much to accomplish in one quarter).

This is why we recommend that you create and follow a marketing plan. This allows you to consider your time from month to month, who is responsible for what, and where to cut back if it seems like you and your staff are taking on too much.

The biggest risk to taking on too much is this: you get so frustrated and discouraged that you end up throwing up your hands in disgust, walking away, and doing nothing.

6. Only marketing when business is slow. This might be the biggest mistake we see. Sure, it’s easy to get fired up about marketing when the phones aren’t ringing and there are no orders to take or work to fulfill. You and your staff have extra time on your hands, so let’s market, market, market. And that’s all well and good.

But what do you do when you get busy? Should you stop marketing? Should you take a break because you’re busy? No. No, you shouldn’t. The key to marketing success—and the companies that do it best—are the ones that are always marketing, even during the good times, the bad times, the tired times, the lean times. Again, a solid marketing plan/calendar (yes, one that is fluid and adjusts with changes to your business) is a good way to stay on track.

How about you? Can you think of other marketing mistakes to avoid (either ones you’ve made or ones you’ve seen other companies make)? Share in the comments.

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