So this is the year that you are going to really try out marketing your business to see what happens. Even experienced marketers make mistakes; so if you blow it, donít let it get you down. Learn from it and go on. However, there are many marketing decisions that are pretty much guaranteed to fail each time. Here are just a few:
Marketing mistake #1
A huge marketing mistake relates to your formula for advertising. It may seem like a good idea to spend a little here and a little everywhere else, but itís not. With a short run or small presence in advertising, you are all but throwing money away and this is a consistent rule regardless of what medium you are advertising in.
A small banner on the bottom of someoneís webpage is not a good way to test the waters to see if it will be profitable or now. It wonít be. Skyscraper and top banner ads are costly for a reason. They work! Bottom banners are cheap for a reason. They donít and nobody wants them.
Neither should you expect a quick in and out to give you any idea what your ROI is going to be like for any ad presence. If someone is not expecting to see your ad, they are only going to respond to it if they are impulsive or desperate. Most people take awhile to think on things and then they go back later to find it.
If you advertise on radio and do it only once, thereís no chance that you will get any significant business from it. However, if you advertise regularly, those who have heard your ad before will have the chance to hear it again and pay even closer attention. Many people donít respond until the 10th or 20th time they come across an ad. Others store it in their memory and know that when they do need to find the service, they know where to find such ads.
You donít have to opt for incredibly expensive ads. But be consistent in what you do.
The same thing holds true for every place you could market your services. A small ad on page 46 of the newspaper will probably generate very little if anything. It might if you left it there forever and people would remember to come looking for it later, but a few days run is worthless.
When it comes to tradeshows, consider the same effect. If you set up in the back corner of a small unadvertised tradeshow because itís cheaper than a nice booth at a well-known and popular tradeshow, donít expect business to result from your lack of willingness to spend. Instead, do one good one instead of 4 bad ones and you will be money ahead.
Marketing mistake #2
The biggest true marketing mistake that many people make, has nothing to do with advertising. Itís all about marketing. Many companies, small and large do not measure where they get their traffic and business.
Many small businesses are the worst at defining their best referral sources and apparently assume that clients will volunteer this information. They almost never do.
If you place 20 ads in different locations and you donít have any way of tracking what works and what does not, you have no idea which ad locations work (or which ads work) and which donít. If you want to trim your ad budget or make it more efficient, where do you start cutting? You are just as likely to cut off your biggest lead source as you are to cut off the worst performer.
Tracking performance for a week or even a month isnít effective either. One place might have a rare but superior performance due to getting some unusual press and the normally good performer, just didnít hit the luck of the draw that month. At minimum, you should look for at least 3 months to track performance.
Donít forget about those leads that come in through other means. If you make the assumption that Internet leads come in via email and phone calls are the result of other ads, you will simply be wrong. You have to knowÖ and you have to sometimes dig deep. If the customer tells you he found you on the Internet, GREAT, but where on the Internet?
Marketing mistake #3
One kind of marketing mistake will chew up your budget and sometimes, even land you in serious trouble. It all starts with the thought, ďI want to find free or incredibly cheap ways to contact thousands of people.Ē
When you chase this dream, you can go in several different directions, but all of them lead to no new business. Simply put, if something is effective, it will cost you time and/or money. If it costs you little of either, it simply isnít going to work.
Some people go the route of taking the cheap or free advertising, or those that offer advertising on a trial basis. Ask yourself this question. If it had value, would they be selling it so cheaply? No. But many entrepreneurs will piddle away their entire marketing budget, wasting their resources on cheap advertising that is ineffective.
The second direction people will go to find cheap mass advertising is to email marketing, or (as it is called if you donít have the receiverís permission) spam. Sending out an email notice of your company services might seem like a good idea to you because itís cheap. One spam can ruin a business.When it comes to free and cheap advertising, remember that if it was any good, everyone would be doing it. Itís not only the money that bad advertising choices can cost you. Itís also your time and effort and most of all, your companyís reputation. You DO NOT want to be seen as the cheap company that is a sucker for every fly-by-night offering that comes along. A bad reputation is worse than no reputation at all.