Here are six easy to make mistakes that will stop your marketing from being as successful as it could be.
1 – Someone else has success with a particular tactic, therefore, I should do that too.
The problem with this approach is that you are missing the ‘why’. Another business might have great success with running events, because they are a particularly engaging speaker. Or maybe they have a fabulous website, because that’s how they source their clients. Without understanding ‘why’, you could easily spend a small fortune on a fancy website or run yourself ragged running events, without either having any impact on your business’s bottom line. Instead, ask yourself ‘why’ you need to improve or change your marketing? Where are you coming unstuck? This will give you much better direction than copying what the next person is doing.
2 – Writing content/copy/advertisements that are aimed at everyone
Early on in my marketing career, I was lucky enough to work with an amazing copywriter, who taught me that ‘if you talk to everyone, you talk to no-one’. Whenever you pick up a pen or start typing, you should know exactly who you want to read the words, and how you want them to react. Imagine your perfect client, and write just for them.
3 – Not playing the long game, or giving up to early
At the end of the day, marketing is about getting people to change their minds, and therefore change their actions. To get someone to change their mind, they need to see your message more than once – a lot more than once. Every time someone hears about you (whether via an advert, social media, seeing you in person, hearing about you from someone else etc.) it brings back the memory of the last thing they saw or heard about you and builds on it. This needs to happen over and over again before the message will stick in their brain. And without that happening, there is no chance that they will think of you when they have a problem that you could help solve. So think of marketing as playing the long game, rather than hitting the single winning shot down the fairway.
4 – Not being consistent
Closely related to number 3, this is what happens when you try a tactic, and it doesn’t work, so you try something else, and that doesn’t work, and then you get very frustrated and think marketing is just too hard and doesn't work anyway. To be successful in marketing, not only do you need to keep at it, but you also need to be consistent in your message. If you want to be known as someone who’s an expert in SMSF, then you need to demonstrate that, over and over and over again. Unfortunately, the point at which you are thorough bored of the message, is probably about the point when it’s just starting to work. You might live and breathe it all day, but for your potential clients, it’s just one of the thousands of marketing messages that they are bombarded with every day. So decide what your message is, and stick to it.
5 – Thinking that marketing the business is ‘someone else’s job’
This is a real bug bear of mine, because as discussed in point 3, every time someone interacts with your business or hears about you, it’s saying something to them. And you want that message to be positive! If your staff aren’t happy, then you can bet your bottom dollar that they aren’t saying anything positive to people about you. If your admin person leaves a potential client on hold for 10 minutes (sorry Shelley!) then that doesn’t say anything good either. The fanciest website in the world doesn’t help if the customer experience is poor. An indicator here is if you aren’t getting referrals. No referrals mean something is going on within your business that isn’t quite optimal.
6 – Failing to plan
Good marketing means thinking strategically, not just the proverbial ‘flinging mud at the wall to see what sticks’. You’d never do that with your clients’ money, so don’t do it with your hard earned dollars either! Take the time regularly (every 3 months is a good starting point) to think about what you are doing to attract business – what’s working, what’s not, and then decide what you are going to do for the next 3 months. As people glibly say ‘failing to plan is planning to fail’. Unfortunately, they’re not wrong! Marketing can be an expensive hobby if you don’t take it seriously.
By Sarah Penn, director, Mayflower Consulting