Everything that has ever been sold on the internet (or in the world) has involved an element of marketing. Whether you’re selling essentials, like food and drink, or leisure activities, you need to show customers the value they will get from your product. This helps incentivize customers to choose your products over all the competition that’s out there. This can be a daunting prospect if you’re not a marketer by trade. Sure, you know your business, but do you know how to sell?
And what if you are a marketing graduate, but you’re relatively inexperienced in the job market? How do you go about making sales for companies that will get you hired and keep you in prestigious roles? Well, the good news is that whenever you do anything new, you’re almost guaranteed to screw up sometimes! This is a universal experience and nothing to feel bad about.
However, as the saying goes, forewarned is forearmed. One of the most valuable things you can do before you take on marketing roles is to get to know some common mistakes novice marketers often make. This can help you prepare and understand your trade better. Here are the top 5 marketing pitfalls to watch out for!
Top 5 Marketing Mistakes New Business Owners Make
Starting your own business can be an exciting (and terrifying) prospect. Like most business owners, you’re throwing everything you have money, time, energy, creativity – into your venture, all in the hope that customers will love your brand. This is a huge commitment and there are plenty of important mistakes to make along the way.
Although you may have an excellent handle on your product and be extremely knowledgeable in your area, marketing is a field in itself. It can be daunting to try and put on your marketer hat for the first time and reach out to your audience. Some new business owners even find themselves paralyzed by the fear of this and struggle to take the next important steps. Does this sound all too familiar? If so, don’t worry! There are plenty of tricks you can learn to better fit this role. You can also hire other people to help you or to fill marketing roles that you don’t feel comfortable performing yourself. However, if you’re dead set on taking on marketer responsibilities yourself, here are 5 common missteps to pay attention to:
1. They Try to Do Everything Themselves
Business owners and entrepreneurs love control. This is, at once, both their major asset and a potential weakness. You need that driven sense of responsibility and autonomy in order to run your own business. It helps you plan and set goals, achieve your aspirations, manage and organize staff, and keep your focus when things go wrong.
However, sometimes it’s important to learn how to delegate and to bring in outside help. If we try to do everything ourselves, we are likely to burn out. What’s more, we’re not always going to do the best job operating solo. In fact, we may end up cutting corners because we’ve taken on too much and can’t realistically carry the weight of it all alone. This can lead to inferior output in certain areas of our business – something every entrepreneur wants to avoid!
A good rule of thumb for setting up your own business is to set aside a substantial marketing budget before you start. Of course, there is always the chance that you’ll be able to market yourself cheaply on social media, etc. However, if this approach isn’t for you, it’s good to have money set aside so you can hire a marketing assistant or digital media team if necessary.
Alternatively, you could set aside money to hire freelancers or work with a marketing company. When looking for a marketer, hire someone who you feel understands your brand and your vision for the future of your company. This can lead to a fulfilling collaborative relationship where both parties are able to focus on their specific areas of expertise.
2. Their Strategy Is Unfocused
Some business owners approach marketing business with a scatter gun strategy. They want to put their company out there, so they advertise everywhere and in every way with no underlying plan. This can end up costing you money (you can’t advertise many places for free) while achieving very little in the way of results or ROI.
When it comes to marketing, one of the most crucial things to remember is that quality trumps quantity. It’s better to run one email campaign that draws lots of interest and inspires customers to sign up to a weekly mailing list than to send out hundreds of ads. What’s more, when you focus on targeted marketing, you can address certain demographics in your customer base.
This helps you to get to know your customer and to learn who your main target audience are likely to be. Once you’ve worked that out, say, your product really appeals to groups of women who primarily use Facebook, you know exactly where to advertise. Once you’ve established this marketing knowledge, you can expand upon it and discover new ways of bringing customers in from different platforms and different audience bases.
3. They Don’t Understand Digital Marketing
Traditional methods of marketing are fine, but nothing really stands up beside the powerful advertising machine that is digital marketing. Digital marketing can allow you to reach huge numbers of people while simultaneously tailoring your content specifically for your audience demographic. Digital marketing can encompass things like Instagram stories, email campaigns, video promotions, Facebook ads, online promotions, and a host of other creative schemes.
If you’ve got a few ideas of your own about digital marketing, you should definitely give them a try. However, if you have no idea on how marketers use social media to generate profit, there are plenty of great resources available online. For example, you could consider using a marketing training service, such as Digital Marketer.
Who is digital marketer? Digital Marketer can offer marketing training to help you maximize your opportunities online. They have hundreds of online courses, training checklists, and online marketing books available to help you expand your skills and to answer all your marketing questions. This knowledge can be invaluable as you move forward as a business owner or as you branch out into other areas of retail, sales, or commerce.
4. They Don’t Know Their Customer
It sounds cliché but it is really true. To sell a product, you’ve got to know who you’re selling it to! Business owners often know their specialty perfectly, but seriously misjudge who their products might benefit. For example, a restaurant may think their takeaway boxes are perfect for a grab and go, dinner crowd, when, really, they should be selling at lunch hour.
When marketing online, it’s easy to think that everyone will see your posts. However, doing it this way, you’re relying on random internet traffic, rather than on carefully curating content to appeal to your customers. Using modern marketing technologies, like analytics tools, can really help with this. Marketing tools like this can help you actively see and track how customers engage with ads and content that you post online. This allows you to spot patterns of interest among your customer base and plan how to utilize these in later campaigns.
Another way that you can use knowledge of your customers to your advantage is to make use of SEO tools. Obviously, you already know what product or service you provide but, by understanding what people are searching for, you can ensure that your brand is visible to them online. SEO tools can help you identify regularly searched for keywords and, by including these in your content, you can boost your website’s position on search engines.
This means that people looking for the types of services you offer are more likely to see your page and this can increase your online traffic. Examining keyword trends can also help you plan campaigns and content so that you engage with the most searched for topics. This way you know for a fact that you’re giving people what they are looking for!
5. They Fixate on One Area
Just as taking a scatter gun approach is not advisable, concentrating on only one area that works is a sure-fire way to sell yourself and your business short. It’s fine to identify a key area where your marketing works well, for example, your business Facebook page or weekly blog. However, if you never branch out from this, you miss out on opportunities to expand your business and reach new customers.
This tendency often comes from a standpoint of complacency. You know a certain part of your strategy is working, so why bother to do any more than that? However, a truly great business thinker never settles for something working ok – they always want to know how things can improve. Conducting more marketing research and regularly interrogating your own systems are the best ways to constantly build and grow.
Top 5 Mistakes a Novice Marketer Might Make
So, say you’re not a business owner, but a full-time marketer instead? Maybe you’re branching out on your own as a novice marketer meaning you want to help other businesses take their marketing to the next level. As we noted, marketing is an essential industry, and many businesses choose to hire a marketing expert because they don’t have time to do everything themselves.
Starting out as a marketer, whether you’re freelance or hope to be hired by a marketing agency, is a little like starting a business yourself. You’ll likely need to promote yourself as a marketer online and build a brand to showcase yourself as an advertising expert. It’s important to put yourself out there so that clients can find you and to look out online for marketer needed advertisements on job sites like LinkedIn or Indeed.
However, even once you’ve sorted out your online presence, and even racked up your first few clients, you may not be out of the woods. In fact, there are some fairly common marketing basics that most novices fail to pay attention to. Here’s how to avoid these pitfalls and ensure you’ll soon be up for marketer of the year with your new company!
1. They Take on Too Much, Too Soon
A great rule of thumb for anyone setting out as a freelance marketer is to know your limits and to be realistic when you plan your schedule. As a freelancer, you may feel pressure to say ‘yes’ to everything your clients ask you to do. You may also feel that you have to take on every client who shows an interest in you.
Overstretching yourself, however, can be a recipe for disaster, especially when you’re just starting out. It could lead to you letting clients down or missing deadlines when you get overwhelmed. It’s much better to be honest and upfront with clients, rather than take on extra work only to realize you can’t complete it all.
2. They’re Not Team Players
Even if you work solo as a freelance marketer, many of your jobs will undoubtedly involve working with or managing teams of people. One of the top marketing characteristics you should have to do well in this role is personability. Clients need to like you in order to buy from your brand.
You also need to remember that you should be representing clients, rather than imposing your strategies upon them, and that what you do needs to fit with their brand. This will involve putting your ego aside sometimes and compromising. Even though a marketing environment is competitive, it’s still better to be a team player than to talk down to others and lose out on potential collaborations.
3. They’re Not Customer Focused
Some of the most important knowledge for a beginner marketer to understand is to listen to your client when they give you a brief. Now, this may sound totally obvious. That’s the whole point of being given a brief. However, you’d be surprised how many novice marketers discard client expectations in favor of their own unique vision.
They’re completely convinced that when the client sees what amazing work they’ve done, they’ll be won over – even if it’s the opposite of what they asked for. This rarely works out in your favor. Clients are more likely to be confused or blindsided, rather than impressed, by this type of behavior. They’ll probably ask you why you didn’t use any of their ideas and it can be highly awkward and embarrassing trying to explain if you don’t have a good reason.
Not only does this attitude scream unprofessional, but it will likely earn you a bad review. This is not the type of negative publicity you want when you’re just starting out. If you find yourself in this situation, try to keep things professional while taking accountability for your actions. Apologize to the client, offer to do the work again, and be willing to sit down with them again if they want to reiterate their brief. A thoughtful approach will help you recover from most business faux pas.
4. They’re Too Customer-Focused
Of course, it’s not always good to lose yourself entirely in someone else’s vision. After all, your client is coming to you for help. You’re the marketing expert – the one who has knowledge of marketing trends 2021 will reveal and which ones your client should pay attention to. Before you go into a meeting with your client, make sure that you’re well prepared and have plenty of ideas about how to work with their product.
If you stick completely to the brief, without injecting any of your own personality into it, you’re not really doing your job. Your client is paying for your input and you should be comfortable challenging their perspective from time to time. After all, coming up with a great idea that both you and your client love is the marketer definition of success.
5. They Can’t Meet Deadlines
If you’re a marketer, operate in which marketplace feels the most comfortable and enjoyable for you. However, no matter what that marketplace is, know that you will constantly be under the stress of deadlines. When it comes to marketing, deadlines come with the territory.
Of course, you don’t have to kill yourself to have a fulfilling and successful career, but you should be aware of deadlines when you schedule your time. Don’t think you can get away with frequently postponing hand-ins or staying out late when you have a big project due. Remember, the best way to prove your worth to your client is to prove you are reliable and that you respect their time. Then they will feel happy paying you!
Marketing is a competitive career and not one for the fainthearted. However, if you’re determined and prepared to work hard, you can make it through your first few years as a novice. With a good attitude, the sky’s the limit!
Ellen Royce is a business consultant with experience of over 15 years. She specializes in training for web and game development. Ellen is part of the new Dragon King game development team.