I was like most business owners when I
started. I was good at doing the core
product and thought that would be enough.
My training and experience had made me a good CPA. But I had never been trained in marketing and
sales. I thought if I just did a good
job, the customers would show up. I call
this the “Build it and they will come” model.
Unfortunately, I soon found out that the big problem with this model is
not knowing what to do if the customers don’t
Not knowing how to market is the biggest
reason businesses fail. The following
are the biggest marketing mistakes that I have made and have seen my clients
make over the years:
spending enough time on marketing. If you are not spending at least half of your
time on marketing, you are setting yourself up for failure.
to target your marketing.
You can’t afford to market to everyone.
Pick a niche and create an offer that will appeal to them. You are much better off being a big fish in a
small pond than a small fish in a big pond fighting off the sharks.
identifying your ideal customers. You should be able to communicate who your
perfect customers are. Knowing what
those customers look like helps you to design advertising that attracts them.
knowing what problems your prospects need solving. Concentrate on the benefits of your product
or service rather than its features. You
must know, in detail, what keeps your prospects awake at night. What pain do they have? What are they worried about? How can you solve their problems and
alleviate their pain?
being consistent with your marketing. The company that runs poorly-designed
advertising every month will outsell well-designed ads that are only run
once. Whatever advertising you choose
should be committed to for at least six months.
using one marketing channel. Your company should have a full quiver of
advertising and marketing arrows. Once
you find one way to attract customers, look for another to attract even more
tracking and measuring marketing results. If you don’t measure your results, how do you
know what is working, what should be improved, and what should be eliminated?
testing your new marketing before making a big buy. If you are planning on mailing out 10,000
postcards,you should test mail 500 first and make sure the results justify the
including targeted direct mail. Direct mail still works and can be a very
good way to get new customers. Today
many business owners think this is too old-fashioned. Many companies focus all of their time on web
and email advertising. I have found that
only about 20 percent of my customers have signed up for my email list. I would be ignoring the other 80 percent if I
didn’t snail mail them newsletters and offers.
creating an in-house list of your customers. This list is your most important asset. Build this up and you will always have the
ability to sell new products and services quickly.
to include a call to action and a deadline in all of your advertising.
Don’t forget to tell your customers what
step they should take next. Don’t assume
they will know and follow through. Tell
them what you want them to do and give them a deadline. This works.
knowing the lifetime value of your customers. Knowing how much your average new customer is
worth helps you know how much you should spend to acquire them. Cell phone companies understand this and have
built their business model around this key concept. They deeply discount the cost of a new phone
knowing that they will easily make this up with huge profits on the future
monthly service fees.
what’s working when times get tough. If it’s working, never stop. When times are tough, cut somewhere
else. If it’s working, don’t stop, even
if you are bored with it.
using free publicity opportunities. Send out press releases for everything. Get to know the newspaper editors and
bloggers who cover your industry. Work
to become a trusted source.