7 Scariest Marketing Mistakes Business Owners Make
One thing I tell all of my employees is to learn from their mistakes, and the same should be said for business owners. I’ve seen too many business owners make the same mistakes over and over and wonder why their leads aren’t going up or their sales aren’t increasing. It’s almost like watching a broken record, except the record is on fire. And so is the building.
Since Blue Corona’s inception in 2007, I’ve had a lot of time to narrow down the top mistakes small business owners make, and when you think about the thousands of dollars in marketing spend that go down the drain because of them, it’s scarier than the fact that Halloween marketing started in August.
Keep scrolling to find out if you’re guilty of making one of them, and what to do about it.
#1 Not Tracking It
The ultimate goal of marketing—and advertising, a component of marketing—is to generate sales, yet very few business owners can tell you how many sales they received as a result of a particular advertising and marketing effort.
Every single advertising investment you make should be accurately measured and tracked. Tracking is the single most important key to marketing success. Track, test, tweak, repeat. This should be every business owner’s marketing mantra.
By “accurately,” I mean that you should know exactly how many leads and sales came as a result of a particular campaign or program. When it comes to marketing, too many small business owners continue to rely on their gut intuition. Scary.
#2 No Goals
If tracking is the scope on a rifle, your goal is the target. I use this analogy to make the point that tracking and goals go hand in hand. The same business owners that don’t see much value in accurately tracking their advertising and marketing results typically don’t have clearly articulated, well-defined goals either.
Whether we’re talking about business or sports, you always achieve more when you set goals. I’m not going to get into the details in this post about the value of setting realistic goals vs. big, hairy, audacious goals. At Blue Corona, we leverage both.
What I will say is that you owe it to your business and to your employees to set goals and accurately track your progress toward them. And don’t wait until October or November to start planning for next year and setting goals. In The Great Game of Business, they start the process in July.
#3 Mixed Messages
When was the last time you took all your marketing assets—your website’s homepage, your print ads, your truck wraps (if you have service vehicles), your direct mail pieces, your social media profiles, your email newsletters, etc.—printed them, and spread them out on a conference room table?
We did this years ago and it was horrifying! There was very little consistency, and we had mixed messaging. I know what you’re probably thinking, “how could you have let this happen when you’re a marketing company?!” Simple: fast growth with a prioritization on clients vs. ourselves.
Of course, this situation is far more common for small businesses whose primary business is NOT marketing. As an owner, you’re constantly forced to wear different hats. There never seems to be quite enough time to do anything exactly the way you really want it done.
But this situation can also occur even if you’ve engaged a marketing company to help you, but you haven’t treated them like a partner in the business. They can’t ensure that your website messaging matches your billboard on Interstate 95 if you never told them that the billboard exists!
#4 Over Automation
Technology is like a powerful drug. Under the watchful eye of a highly-trained physician, drugs can kill cancer. But left in the wrong, untrained, hands they can kill the patient too!
This is how you need to think about technologies like marketing automation:
Under the watchful eye of a data-driven marketer, marketing automation can help you grow your business while you sleep. But if you turn it on, set it and forget it, you can also arrive at the office to a virtual shit storm.
No matter what the marketing automation software sales rep claims, you need to recognize that the software is a tool. It’s always more complicated to use intelligently than than what is implied by the sales demo. Any time you invest in marketing technology, make sure you’ve got the right people in place to use it.
#5 Ridiculous Remarketing
Remarketing can be a golden egg for your business or a rotten one, depending on how you execute it. A lot of small business owners think that if some is good, more must be better. But research has demonstrated that this isn’t true.
Sales actually go down when consumers are exposed to your advertising more than 40 times in a month.
#6 Insecure Website
Website hacking is on the rise. Even worse than having your site’s homepage banner replaced with a Viagra ad is having a prospective customer alert you to it! We switched our website from non-secure to secure and Google rewarded us with a serious increase in traffic. That suggests that Google takes website security very seriously.
#7 Missing Customer Service
Watching business owners spend thousands of dollars on marketing to make the phone ring and then turning things over to bad customer service reps is like watching a train wreck in slow-motion. Except it’s not slow. One bad interaction with a customer service representative can completely derail all the other digital marketing efforts you’ve carefully executed to get that person on the phone in the first place.
A lot of small business owners invest thousands of dollars in advertising and marketing to make the phone ring. Little do they realize that the conversations had between their prospective customers and customer service reps conjure up visions out of the Exorcist.
What to Do If Your Small Business Is Guilty of One of the Mistakes Above
First, don’t panic. All is not lost; we’ve brought a number of small businesses back from the brink after terrible marketing mistakes, so we know it’s doable. If you’ve identified an issue you might be having, you’ve already taken the first step on the road to a successful digital marketing campaign.
Chances are, you’ve over-stretched yourself or your in-house marketing. If that’s the case, give us a call. We’d be happy to take a look at your company and your website, and see if there are any other problems we can find that may be affecting your bottom line.
All of this leads me to a little Halloween joke and the reason most web marketing companies fail to deliver for their clients. Most web marketing companies fail to deliver for their clients for the same reason skeletons don’t want to go to work. Their hearts aren’t in it! Har har har.
About The Author: Ben Landers is the President and CEO of Blue Corona, a data-driven, inbound internet marketing company. Submit an inquiry to book Ben to speak at your next conference or event.
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The information on this website is for informational purposes only; it is deemed accurate but not guaranteed. It does not constitute professional advice. All information is subject to change at any time without notice. Contact us for complete details.