“Marketing doesn’t really work for us, we don’t need it.”

Fortunately I don’t hear this too often – but I certainly have heard these very words uttered before when asking a new connection about their marketing strategy.

There are a whole host of free/low-cost marketing tools readily accessible to any business owner who cares to look – from social media and email marketing to online directories and of course, ‘user-friendly’ WordPress (other CMS are available!)

With all this at their fingertips, it is easy to see why many business owners choose to go it alone. After all, why pay someone else when you can do it yourself?

So if it’s that easy, why aren’t your marketing channels performing as well as you’d hoped? Here’s just a few of the typical mistakes that could be putting a spanner in your spokes…

Be Relevant

It’s vital to be clear who your marketing activity is targeted towards. Engaging with the wrong decision maker, in the wrong market with the wrong application is a sure fire way to waste both time and money.

Come Again?

It is all too easy when you’re up against the coal face to make assumptions about the knowledge of your audience. Using technical language, internal lingo or telling half a story can easily alienate those who are unfamiliar with the ins and outs of your product or your business. If they just don’t ‘get it’, they can never understand how you can help them.

Wrong Time, Wrong Place

If your promotion is for a specific time (e.g. product launch or event) it is important to get the timing right. Too early and it will be forgotten, too late and there will be no time to act. Are your potential customers browsing Instagram at 11am or are they more likely to be found on LinkedIn at 8am? Every channel and every audience has its peak times and favoured channels so be sure to find out where and when these are.

Oops!

It’s unfortunate how many marketing messages are riddled with basic mistakes. Poor formatting, spelling errors, pixelated images and inappropriate language all detract from the integrity and professionalism of a brand. Substance is key to engagement, but consistent style will catch the eye.

Are They Still in Business?

Remember – you can’t build a presence if you’re not there in the first place. Many go through phases of boundless enthusiasm where they publish several blogs in a single week and spend hours and hours engaging with connections on social media. But after a while, its back to the day job and working in the business becomes a higher priority. Unrealistic goals lead to inconsistent, irregular activity that fragments and weakens your brand presence.

If You Build It…

No matter how fantastic your content is, if the reader isn’t prompted to take action it will be a wasted opportunity. Without a clear call to action signposting the next steps or a facility to collect the prospect’s data for follow-up (in a GDPR compliant manner) then their journey comes to an end and the lead is lost.

So what?

If you’ve made it this far, many thanks – you shall be rewarded with my top tip. Your marketing is not about you. That’s right. Your customers probably don’t care how many components your widget has. They need to understand that you will solve a problem or enhance their life. It is time to forget about features and focus on value. Every time you write anything, put yourself in the customer’s shoes and ask – so what?

“Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half.” – John Wanamaker

Some of the mistakes I’ve listed seem pretty obvious but it’s surprising how easy they are to make. Even if you do get it right – how can you be sure you aren’t just flinging mud at the wall in the hope that something sticks? You may identify with John Wanamaker – without the time and the patience to review the activity you won’t even know what’s working and what isn’t.

Marketing is an exciting and frustrating mix of art and science that’s constantly changing… and that’s why we love it. If you feel like your marketing is not as effective as it could be and you’re struggling to find the time to make it work – reach out to an experienced marketer to give you a helping hand and let them help take the weight off your shoulders.