Who hasn’t let a typo slip by or misspelled the CEO’s name or printed the wrong phone number somewhere? Those marketing mistakes don’t warrant an article. In fact, just one word of how-to-fix-it advice is sufficient: proofread!
Here are a few more important marketing mistakes that just about every business manager out there makes, along with a recommended fix that will help you attract more business and get better results from your marketing, regardless of how big or small your marketing budget is.
Mistake #1: We think that marketing is something we “do.”
“We need to do some marketing.” It’s the first thing you think when you need to boost business. Problem is, when you think of marketing as something you “do,” you’re usually thinking about publicity, direct mail, flyers, email, ads and promotion. Marketing is much more than merely promotion, and it’s rarely a quick fix.
The real fix is to expand your definition of marketing. Instead of thinking of it as something you “do,” think of marketing as anything that helps or hinders the sale or use of your product or service. This includes: your location, the attitudes of the person who answers the phone, your name, pricing, policies, proposals, personality and more.
Before you write a promotional word, do a “help or hinder” once-over. Make a list of what’s helping you attract business and what’s getting in the way. Figure out what obstacles you can quickly fix or remove. What “helps” can you enhance or spotlight? Until the help-or-hinder homework is done, working on promotion is premature.
Mistake #2: We breathe too much of our own exhaust.
We are such big believers in our businesses that we can’t wait to show it off. We admire our attributes and inhale our excellence. Then we exhale it all into our marketing communications. The problem is, when you do that, your marketing is all about you. And people don’t care about you. They care about themselves.
If your marketing is going to get any response at all, the first thing it must do is connect to something prospects care about. Connect before you convince. Try this four-step exercise:
- Describe your products and services. Get the exhaust fumes out.
- Identify one or two attributes or “attraction factors.”
- What is the benefit, the need or the want, that is satisfied by those attributes?
- Why is that benefit important, personally, to the target audience?
For example, Joy dishwashing liquid (descprition) has real lemon (attribute) that cuts grease and leaves dishes shinier (benefit). “What a nice reflection on you!” (Connects to what she cares about.) Connect to what people want. Not to what you do.
Mistake #3: We all look alike.
A bank is a bank is a bank. Realtors, lawyers and consultants are a dime a dozen. The list goes on. But here’s the good news: the more two businesses look alike, the more important each difference becomes, and the more impact even the tiniest difference will have on setting you apart. Why?
Consider identical twins. What’s the first thing you do when you meet a pair? You try to find a little something to tell them apart. The same is true for your business. Your prospects are looking for a point of difference – just about anything – they can use to set you apart from your competition.
To find your points of difference, start with your points of contact, or “touch points” in your company. Make a list. Business card, fax cover sheet, invoice, phone greeting, front door, home page, etc. Then look at what the competition does and ask yourself how you can do it differently. Just a little bit will make a big difference, because your prospects are looking for them.
For now, try the Help or Hinder, Connect Before You Convince and Find Your Points of Difference tools to make your marketing more meaningful and effective. Be wary, too, of unrealistic expectations, faulty research, deadly bullet points and lack of follow through — four other common marketing mistakes.