Starting a business is an exciting but often stressful time during which some marketing mistakes are inevitable as you learn the ropes of building a successful brand. Nonetheless, considering the unique challenges startups face, such as highly restrictive budgets and limited resources, it’s important to negate the risks involved as much as possible. For this reason, you need to make sure you’re prepared by familiarizing yourself with some of the more common mistakes that could end up costing you dearly. Here are some of the most common marketing blunders new companies make and how you can avoid them:
Trying to Appeal to Everyone
The increasing ubiquity of technology has made inbound marketing the preferred form of marketing in recent years, since it provides numerous opportunities to target your brand-building efforts towards a specific audience. You can use specially tailored content to appeal to the right people, target paid advertisements based on certain demographical attributes and much more. However, if like many novice marketers, you obsess over numbers alone, you’ll end up trying to appeal to everyone rather than targeting a specific audience consisting of those who are most likely to become your customers. Instead, define a specific audience and stick to it.
Not Listening to Feedback
As a startup, it’s often not a bad idea to make yourself known as soon as possible and empower your target audience by actively encouraging them to have a say in the development of your company and its products or services. Social media, email and blogs, for example, all provide a platform for people to leave feedback on, giving you ample opportunity to further tweak and adapt your brand and product so that it better meets the needs of your target audience. You might think that you automatically know best and that your idea is flawless but, ultimately, it’s only your potential customers who will know what they really want.
Overspending on Marketing
Startups usually have very limited budgets and in-house resources to dedicate to marketing but, even if that’s not the case, you should always start small as you find which tools and tactics work best for your particular company. It’s often easy to become overwhelmed with enthusiasm in the early stages, but you should never expect you’ll simply be able to take the industry by storm, no matter how great your idea is. Unless you start small and approach every new marketing strategy with care, you could end up spending money on nothing or, almost as bad, launch a highly successful advertising campaign before you can meet the resulting demand.
Using the Wrong Marketing Channels
Whether digital or traditional, there is no shortage of marketing channels and methods you can use to engage customers. However, there are different channels for different industries, and there’s no point investing time and money into those where your potential customers aren’t. Also, depending on the nature of your industry, you may have multiple target audiences even if you only have a single product, in which case you’ll want to customize your marketing strategy for each relevant channel. For example, B2B industries might eschew marketing on Facebook for LinkedIn, while industries that rely a lot on visual appeal may prioritize Instagram.
Waiting Too Long
Starting a new company is undoubtedly a risky endeavour, no matter how carefully you approach it but, it also presents enormous opportunity. As such, many people find themselves nervous and not knowing whether to proceed or not. If you genuinely lack the confidence to start your own business, then perhaps entrepreneurship simply isn’t for you, since you will need to exhibit confidence in order for your brand to become a known authority in its industry. If, on the other hand, you’re waiting for just the right time to launch your new idea, you definitely don’t want to wait too long only to find someone else beats you to the mark.
No startup should be without a carefully formulated business plan that also takes into account marketing. You might have the best idea for a new product or service, but it means nothing if you can’t put it out there in front of the masses. On the other hand, if you simply don’t have the funding to develop your ideas, let alone market them, you may want to consider the crowdfunding option.
Justin Soenke is a trend-based serial entrepreneur and thought leader in the areas of cyber-security, web design, SEO, social media, eCommerce and managed IT. Justin has overseen the creation and success of over a dozen companies in the technology, security and media sectors, and is the contributing source for his SB Design Blog, SB Tech Blog and SB SEO Blog among regular contributions to many outside blogs and websites, all for our clients.
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