In this ever competitive world, having a quality product is simply not enough. Part of being a smart business owner is knowing how to sell your product or service. This is why marketing plays such a vital role in the success of your business. Once you have defined your offer, it’s imperative to conduct through market research, identify your target audience, build your visual identity, and even create your own website.
As a small business owner, you know all too well that the road to success can be a bit bumpy at times. However it’s how you avoid or surpass the pitfalls that matter. When you reach the point of selling your products or services, there are some common mistakes that can be easily made – but more easily avoided. From your social media marketing campaigns to your partnerships, we’ve identified the seven deadly sins you should never commit. Under any circumstances. Think of this as your marketing bible. In the name of advertising, competition and sales. Amen.
“It worked great last time, let’s do it again this year!”
As the saying goes, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. But the truth is, nothing lasts forever, right? You could have the best pizza in Brooklyn but several factors could change that situation very quickly. You have to be aware of changes and anticipate them so that you can prepare your business. It’s far better to be proactive than reactive.
It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that because a campaign did well the previous year you should do it again. Just know that your audience is smart (smarter than you may think) and they will remember your reused idea. So don’t be lazy. Invest the time and push your business to come up with new, unique and creative campaigns every year.
“Have you seen what our competitors did recently?”
Copying a competitor’s idea will only bring up problems. The first, and most important, the legal issue. Blatantly copying or plagiarizing could lead you to a lawsuit which is never a good look for any company. Speaking of image, this is the second problem you may face. Your audience may not “recognize” you and this ‘borrowed’ idea. On the contrary, they will continue to associate ‘your idea’ with the brand who initially made it theirs. Finally, there’s nothing worse than a copycat plus you’ll lose the credibility of your audience faster than you can say ‘loyalty’.
You should embrace your differences. Pick two or three aspects of your business that make it unique and focus on those. Show how your brand sets you apart from competitors by emphasizing those points. Do you offer free delivery? Are your products handmade? Are your prices unbeatable? It’s time to let your audience know all the things that make you a stand out company.
“Let’s go with this option, it will get more likes.”
For the sake of proving a point, imagine you are a law firm. For your upcoming greeting card you decide to dress a dozen golden retriever puppies in shirts and jackets. While no one said you shouldn’t do it, that doesn’t mean that you should. Will you get tons of likes? Obviously (because, puppies), but was the effort and message behind your post really beneficial towards your business? Probably not.
All your marketing material should be based around two main goals: build up brand awareness and increase sales. After some research, you should establish a strategy, and stick to it. In order to remain consistent and “on brand”, you should follow the guidelines you initially set out. Of course, social media can help you achieve your goals but keep in mind they are not a means to an end. Just remember, those “Likes” and “Shares” are not converted into Dollars – or even bitcoin.
“Let’s partner up with as many companies as possible.”
Established brands are always on the lookout for ways to widen their reach with methods such as guest blogging, features and partnerships. It won’t be long before your brand is recognized and will start being approached with multiple “incredible opportunities”.
It is exactly in this moment that you should take the time to really think about this potential partnership. Will this advertising benefit your brand? Are your audiences compatible? Do your brands share the same type of values? These are the type of questions you should ask yourself before committing to a long term agreement. Beware of being seduced by flattery, make a rational and researched decision.
“Let’s send out this newsletter to as many people as possible.”
And that is how spam was invented. When you advertise online or even offline you need to carefully select your audience. However tempting it may be to send your newsletter to your entire subscriber list, don’t! Take the time to segment your list according to your readers preferences.
We get it, it’s an easy sin to commit considering email marketing is free so why not try your luck. The only thing is, by doing this you run the risk of losing valuable subscribers. Before clicking that “send” button, select your recipients very carefully. You may be surprised to see the impact it has on both your open rate and click rate.
“Regardless of the comments, I know my idea is amazing.”
When it comes to creating your logo, building your website or even creating an advertising campaign you, as the owner of your business, are 100% involved in each and every step. In order to achieve excellent results it requires hours of research, analysis and countless scenarios of trial and error. So it’s not surprising that you are heavily attached to every element of your biz. And that’s a good thing, but it can also be a bad thing. It’s crucial to know when to take a step back and look at the bigger picture.
Remember, you are not the one buying your service or product. Potential customers are. Which is why the opinion of your target audience is so valuable. Naturally, they see your product or service in a very different light. Unlike you, they were not there to witness the creative process so their opinion lies only in the final product. So listen carefully to their criticism (even if it’s hard to swallow). From this outside perspective you can think about how to adapt your product or service in order to meet their expectations.
“Let’s hire this athlete, they were the brand ambassador for Nike”.
We have nothing against athletes or Nike for that matter, but be cautious of getting caught up with “names”. It’s not enough to think that spending loads of money and hiring well known faces will guarantee a successful marketing campaign. Often it’s the most basic of ideas that are the most successful. It is possible to achieve fantastic results while still remaining within your budget. Stay grounded and true to your brand. Think about your return on investment. It’s always better to grow slowly but surely compared to trying to be a big shot (and failing miserably).
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