I got a call today to pitch 3-4 marketing-related topics for a virtual annual conference in November. I quickly jotted down the 4 ideas below, and am waiting to hear what their choice is, but in the meantime, I thought this might make a good story for any business owner/operator.
These were my starting points:
- The 5 Best Practices for Virtual Meeting Success
- The Best 4 Tips for Getting Found on Google
- The 5 Things Every Golf Course Needs in its Marketing Arsenal
- The 4 Biggest Mistakes Most Businesses Make in Marketing
I chose “The 4 Biggest Mistakes Most Businesses Make in Marketing” to talk about here. While there are probably more than 5 mistakes we all make in our marketing, I’m going to tell you my thoughts on these:
- Too much/not enough/wrong information
- Wrong place/time/channel
- Not following the brand
- Not knowing the customer
Let’s take it one step at a time.
- Let’s talk about your information first. I often get asked, “How often should I communicate with my followers (social media) and what should I say?” Well, that’s a question that I only can answer as “It depends.” What are your target audience’s (your desired customers) habits and responses to your posts on social media? If you get engagement (Likes, Clicks Comments, Shares), that’s the true measurement of success. If you don’t, the problem could be too much information (posts too long, and too involved; not enough information in the posts (like a call to action) to elicit a response from the reader; wrong information links, phone numbers, hours, and more can cripple a post’s performance and not reach your audience. Use your data analytics and Insights to learn when your followers are most likely to engage by time of day, day of week, type of post, and use that information to decide when and how to get a post in front of them. (I’ll be repeating this often!)
- The wrong place/time/channel question is usually somewhat along the lines of, “What channels should I be using,” and “What time should I post?” Depending on your target audience (see above) you should choose channels carefully, and only take on the few you can manage well. You don’t need to be everywhere. Nay, you can’t be everywhere! Find out where the people you want to call customers and clients are and go there. Teens and tweens are going to be on a completely different platform/channel than boomers. Business people who are on LinkedIn may be there for business-to-business connections…but don’t forget, they’re could also likely be on Facebook. Choose the channels that will provide the best investment for you. Again, use your analytics to see how many people engage, when, via what kind of device, from what country…the list goes on, and it’s a data-based way to develop and implement your marketing plan.
- Not following the brand happens when someone in the organization posts, blogs, writes, designs, or otherwise represents the “brand” of your business in a way that impedes your followers from recognizing it’s actually your business they are referring to. Take, for example, McDonald’s golden arches. If you saw them in green and orange (for, say, Halloween), it might take a second for you to make the association with the McDonald’s brand. I have a client who likes to let staff members design various promotional materials, menus, web images, social media images, and, well, anything they need. I have discovered they have no brand guide and as a result, many of these pieces are posted in what I would call “off-brand” ways. In this case, it also goes to the actual readability of the post when a decorative font and random colors are used. People won’t know you’re you. Stay with your brand, colors, fonts, logo uses, always. There’s not really an analytic for this but you certainly can learn a lot when you ask clients or potential customers what they THINK about your brand! That feedback could be the difference between recognition and awareness, and not. You want to opt for the first choice.
- Not knowing the customer is when you make an “assumption” about the audience that’s just not accurate. I had a regional roofing chain client who assured me that men were the buyers of roofs. I chose to challenge that by running an A/B Test ad (more later on that) with the difference being simply gender. Now, given there ARE more women than men on FB, you would have expected the difference in results to be significant. It was greater than significant: the ad targeted to the women performed nearly 60% better than the one targeted to men. We changed tactics and began marketing to women shortly thereafter. But, because the “old guard” was driving the marketing bus, they were out of touch with who they’re real target audience was.
Drill down into the geographic, demographic similarities and behaviors your perfect customer has, then think like they do. Go on the channels where they hang out. Try various audience combinations for ads (A/B testing is where you run the same ad but substitute one variable – in this case gender. It can also be a different photo, different link, different content…you’re sending the same message in two different ways to see which one “fires” the best. Then that’s the data you follow.
If you’re making any of these mistakes, there’s good news! You can stop it! It may take some time and effort to learn the reasons why your marketing efforts aren’t performing at their optimum…these are just a few of the reasons that could be contributing to your struggles. A marketing audit with a marketing expert can help you discover what efforts you might be making that could be better directed to another, more profitable, activity. Work smarter not harder. And know when it’s time to ask for help.
Concentrate on identifying your audience—where they are and what they’re doing—then go put your message in front of them. What have you got to lose? Give me a call if you’re stuck! I love to talk Marketing 269-341-3786.