Seven marketing mistakes to avoid

Here, Gemma Richards, marketing manager at Fluid Branding, gives seven tips to avoid making marketing mistakes.

Marketing your business doesn’t need to be hard or expensive. In fact, the more creative the better. This approach can often lead to more traffic, customers and conversions. Sounds great, right? Well yes, but going off-script also has the potential to land you in some serious hot water.

So, what’s causing these issues? People often make silly, avoidable mistakes when they fail to plan ahead. With that in mind, here are seven marketing mistakes to avoid.

Avoiding self-promotion

You need to get the word out there. You could have the best product in the world but if you fail to market it effectively, don’t be surprised when no one knows about it.

Think of it this way: a movie producer has a great script, hires the best actors and creates a fantastic movie, but fails to promote it. Will the movie be a great success? Can they rely on the notoriety of the director and the fame of their actors? Perhaps, but it won’t be as successful as it could have been if marketed properly.

Assuming that your project will be a great success because you believe in it doesn’t guarantee that you’re going to see your name up in lights. You need to put in the hard work to get the results you want. There’s no shortcut to success.

Reaching the wrong audience

It may sound obvious but you would be surprised how many businesses fail to take the time to define their audience. Many are segmenting their audience using demographic data when in fact they should be focusing on psychographic segmentation to get a true understanding of who their main audience base is.

If you jump straight into creating marketing campaigns without first establishing who your key audience is, they are unlikely to perform well. Failing to focus on your potential customers’ needs will make them less likely to think of you again.

Persona workshops in addition to qualified Google Analytics data will help you identify your audience from the get-go and keep your marketing approach on track.

Lack of competitor research

We’ve all come up with brilliant marketing ideas only to realise that it’s been done before. However, without thorough competitor research you may end up reproducing something that they’ve done in the past, making you look somewhat out of the loop.

An analysis of your competitors and their on-site and off-site marketing approaches and material can help flag up themes, content types and topics that could work for you. It can also uncover things to avoid. This approach will save you time in the long run as it means you’re not fully committing to an idea without gauging how well it could perform.

Failing To identify your USP

It can be all too easy to compare your business to your competitors and replicate their marketing approach. But what is that going to achieve? Ultimately, you would be joining in an ongoing conversation but adding nothing fresh.

Identifying what makes your offering unique gives you a much better chance of standing out from the crowd and resonating with your key audience. It may be a long process, but trust me: I cannot stress the importance of uncovering your USP enough. Don’t be vanilla. Avoid the ‘me too’ approach. Dare to be different and you’ll soon notice the difference.

It’s also vital to ensure that your branded and marketing material, both in-house and external, stays on point. The tone may be different but the overall marketing stance should be the same.

No defined marketing plan

It’s staggering how many businesses take a sporadic approach to marketing, but this can have dire consequences. Jump on the right hashtag at the wrong time and soon enough you’ll be included in an article listing the worst marketing fails.

Without a cohesive plan, you risk blowing your budget on one big idea. If it works out, that’s great, but if it doesn’t, you’ll soon find yourself in a very uncomfortable position, having to explain why you don’t have much to show for your efforts.

A detailed marketing plan helps to keep you on track and gives you something to refer to throughout your campaigns and to help you evaluate their success.

Not tracking results

If you never track results, you will never know whether your marketing efforts are working for you. However, many businesses are doing just that. This relaxed approach means that you will fail to identify key issues before they become major marketing nightmares, whether that’s loss of revenue or reputational damage.

By tracking your marketing campaigns, you can clearly see what is performing well and what needs tweaking. It will also help you spot trends, for example the type of content that your audience is engaging with the most, or the top five products on your site and those that need an additional push.

Failing to share your expertise

While no one wants to give away their secret ingredient to success, nor do you want to hold back too much either. For example, if you only ever share promotional content on your social channels, it just turns people off. People don’t like to be sold to. Make sure that you’re adding value and giving something back.

Helpful content resonates so much better with audiences. Also, don’t be afraid to shout about other relevant content in your industry.

We’re all so used to keeping our knowledge to ourselves, but you’ll soon see the difference when you start providing helpful advice to your colleagues and peers.

If you have something that you think would benefit other people without any negative implications for your company, share away. By actively sharing your expertise with your peers, you will position yourself as not only an industry thought leader but also a very down-to-earth business.

Final thought

Marketing mistakes will happen. Unfortunately, they are inevitable, but with the right contingency plan in place you can help minimise the situation before it goes too far. These mistakes will also help you refine your research, plan, campaign and launch approaches and define your strategy going forwards.

Gemma Richards is marketing manager at Fluid Branding

Further reading on marketing mistakes

Owen Gough, SmallBusiness UK

Owen Gough

Owen was a reporter for Bonhill Group plc writing across the and titles before moving on to be a Digital Technology reporter for the

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