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Common Mistakes to Avoid When Marketing Your Business
If you knew what not to do when considering marketing choices for your business, just think how much money and energy you would save! Put these helpful tips in your marketing toolbox and pry it open before you make any costly decisions!
1. Putting all of your eggs in one basket
Could be very costly. If you bank of success with one thing and one thing only to promote your business, you won't begin to realize the return on your investment. Keep in mind that marketing is an integrated process. That means that it must consist of a variety of strategies to be successful. By diversifying your efforts, you will increase the reach of your message and stretch your marketing dollars.
2. Shooting in the Dark
You don't have a target. You're just hoping something will stick. If you find that you are throwing yourself at every marketing opportunity coming your way, step back and realize that's it's better to have a plan. Set your objectives first. What goals do you want to accomplish in what time period? Define your target market. Set your budget for the next 6 to 12 months. When you have a plan, there is no reason for "crises marketing." This eliminates advertising rush charges and prevents you from straying to far from your plan.
3. Having a Rigid Marketing Plan
This means an earthquake couldn't get you to change your mind! Remember that marketing plans must be flexible. You must always be adjustable to marketing conditions, new opportunities and other factors. Your marketing plan should be re-evaluated at least every quarter. This doesn't mean that you need to add more money to your budget. If a great opportunity comes along, eliminate one piece of your plan and move the money to your new idea. I always find it helpful to include a "contingency" line item in my plans. This is kind of like "emergency" funds.
4. If it Ain't Broke, Don't Fix it
If your advertising and direct mail is producing results for you, don't change it just to try something different! Once you see that your returns are slowing down, then look at changing your ad of your message or your offer. Just remember with every new thing you want to try, test it first. Don't sign long-term ad contracts or send out 5,000 direct mail pieces. Send 250 and look for a 3-5% return. If you don't get that, change your message or offer or re-evaluate your list or target market.
5. Ego Shmeego
It happens to everyone at least one time or another. You've got this brilliant idea and even though your co-workers, employees or husband/wife thinks it may not be so great, dog-gonnit, you thought of it, so you're gonna to do it! Ego tempts some very bright people into irrational behavior. Base your marketing decisions from a non-emotional point of view. Think of it this way; if you were giving a friend advice about his business is this what you would advise them to do? Step back and look at it outside of your own business. I have to do this all the time when promoting my own business. Kind of like, physician heal thyself. Here's a good example of the big "E" getting in the way: Placing ads in magazines you like, but are not your target market; Creating a very expensive looking brochure when something more simple would do.
6. I have a good feeling about this
Here we go again. You're relying on your feelings or a hunch without concrete facts or projections. Investigate new opportunities completely. When it comes to business marketing decisions, get ice running through your veins.
7. Not Measuring Results
How do you know if your marketing efforts are working if you don't evaluate your plans? Measuring the results from your strategies will tell you what to continue with and what to eliminate. Try tactics like survey's, coded coupons, focus groups, ask when someone calls "How did you hear about us?"
8. Canceling Marketing Efforts When things Get Tight
This is the very worst thing you can do, yet it is what almost everybody does! Cash flow starts to flow and you look at your marketing budget as something "extra" you can eliminate for now. Wrong! No marketing, no money coming in. Now you may want to change your strategy of how you are marketing, but not eliminate it all together. Keep your communication going even when times get tough.
9. Not Getting Help When You Need it
Penny-wise, pound foolish. If you're too busy to handle your marketing efforts, lack the knowledge or want to have a more professional look, you must call back-up! Hire a consultant or a small marketing person/agency on retainer to handle these very important marketing decisions. The money you pay them should come back to you many times over!
www.downanddirtymarketing.com Copyright 2002-For permission to use: Karen@Hippmarketing.com
Karen E. Hipp is a nationally recognized marketing consultant and the author of the ebook "Do-It-Yourself Marketing." Karen has been honored with "Marketing Director of the year in two separate industries and has won 54 Addy Awards. Karen's business, Hipp Marketing, focuses on small to medium sized businesses that need marketing help.