- Written by Tim Knowles. Google+
- Published: 17 February 2014
If you've been in business for any length of time you're sure to have promoted yourself in some way, that's for sure.
Did it all go to plan and earn buckets of cash?
I often see some recurring oversights not only from my clients, but also as i walk down the street or browse the web. These mistakes can be costly in terms of marketing budgets and more importantly to the impact of a marketing campaign. Luckily these things are easily fixed if you spot them to begin with that is!
The chances are you've made some if not all of the mistakes I'll cover in this post. There's no point crying over spilled milk, so just relax and realize you can spot the errors before you commit your marketing budget to the great beyond.
The top 3 mistakes
1. Failing to really know your market
Knowing and understanding your market is essential to getting results from your marketing campaign. If you already know your market then all well and good, but time after time i see clients who omit the market research step and make assumptions on who their target market is and what makes them tick. I think it's safe to say we've all guessed and presumed things about our target markets at some point, but it's actually more damaging than first meets the eye.
Let's take for instance the pricing of your product: you know the product inside out, you've slaved over the composition and tweaked it to satisfy your target market's (assumed) needs. You know exactly what your product is worth and you've set a price which you think is reasonable. Why wouldn't everyone buy it - they really need this!
The harsh truth is that people will only pay what THEY think its worth not what you think it's worth. This is why people often shop around and try to get lower prices. Of course there's always exceptions and some people are just plain frugal, but the point stands that people are happy to pay for something if they think its worth it. A price that's too low can be as detrimental as a price that's too high.
So, how do you avoid this mistake?
Simple - get some market research on the boil! I'm not talking about chatting to your friends about what they think, i'm talking about actually hitting the streets with surveys, talking to your existing clients and investigating your competitors. To be honest, if you were to do this yourself you may end up with the same conclusions you've already drawn or assumed so it's probably best if you hire a 3rd party to do the research for you. Hey, i didn't say the resolution was going to be cheap - but in the long run this is where you are going to make more money, so a few beans sown here will blossom into a stunning fruit tree.
2. Blurred or non-existent USP (unique selling point)
A business can't stand out from the crowd if there isn't any difference or perceivable difference from its competitors. Your USP is your marketing message!
Alright, you know your business and you know what you do, and in fact you've probably got some basic knowledge of what your competitors do. You can see there are clear and obvious differences between you and your competitors, but can your prospects? Do you communicate these differences?
Many a time a client comes to me with a need for an advertising design, when i ask "What's your USP?" i often get a silence or sometimes a vague response that won't translate into a marketing message. This isn't true in all cases but it does crop up a lot.
Your USP is a marketing message and is related to your brand, if you want to think about it in a different way consider that your marketing message as a tag line. Need an example? Think of an Aussie D.I.Y store beginning with the letter "B", now get a picture of their store in your mind and read the red letters. OK if you're still with me now consider their TV adverts and recall their closing statement of EVERY advert - its the same as what you see on the store front and it's their USP - this makes them stand out. Additionally it also sticks in your mind because its a strong marketing message.
How do we rectify this mistake?
Fixing up this mistake is a lot easier (and cheaper) than the point above. Just stop for a moment and figure out what extra value you can give to a customer that your competitors don't. Once you've figured it out slip it onto your promotion in a nice obvious place, and in fact put it wherever your logo is like on your invoices, statements, emails etc.
3. Retaining customers
Keeping hold of a customer and getting them to continue buying is where you make the real cash.
Unless you're a fly-by-night company, which i'm guessing you are't because you're reading about how to avoid marketing mistakes then you probably get most of your revenue from your existing customers.
A lot of business get approximately 80% of their revenue from repeat business which is just as well since the cost of acquiring a new customer can be staggering.
Nurturing an existing customer is much less time consuming and less costly than trying to attract a new one (which still needs to be done). So, a little thought towards retaining clients is a giant leap forward and the difference between making your business a success or allowing it a bumble along and drawing a mediocre salary.
And how can you retain clients?
A good start is to make sure you grasped the two points above because if you understand your clients you can then give them what the need and want at a price they are willing to pay for it. And if your USP is clearly defined and perceivable it creates a separation between you and your competitors and then fixes you in the mind of the customer. There is much to be said on the subject of how to retain customer which is best as a separate blog post, but the take-home point is this: nurture your customers with less attention on hard sale techniques - they already bought from you so they don't need convincing to buy, but they do need gentle nudges and reminding to buy more from you.
Are you ready?
OK, that's the top 3 mistakes, and there are more! Let's just take up a few points at a time and make it a manageable exercise to get your marketing working for you rather than the other way around.
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