Saturday, August 23, 2014

4 Common Marketing Pitfalls and How to Avoid Them

 There’s no shortage of articles out there claiming to have the best advice for your small business marketing.

  While much of the information you find can be helpful, the sheer volume of advice often only adds to your ever-growing to-do list. It’s understandable if you start to feel like you’re in over your head.
But maybe what you really need is someone to help you weed out the less important items on your list.

This week I spoke with Jennifer Smiga, owner of inBloom Communications and a Constant Contact Solution Provider.

Jennifer founded inBloom Communications to help brands bloom in a digital world. Offering solutions to help simplify online marketing is just one of the ways Jennifer helps clients succeed.
Jennifer had some great advice to help you prioritize your marketing efforts. Here are four common pitfalls to watch out for:

1. You’re too focused on getting new clients

It’s easy to think that more customers will bring more business, but don’t forget that your existing customers can be the missing link between you and a larger customer base.

“Most people I work with think they need new people,” Jennifer says. “But what they really need is to engage their current customers or clients. The current customers are the ones that bring in new people. Even all of my own clients came to me through referrals.”

Dedicate your energy to the customers you already have and you’ll develop loyalty and trust. By giving your current customers more attention, you’ll plant the seeds for a strong relationship where your current customers will have no problem spreading the word about you and your business.

2. Your approach is almost always reactive

Many of Jennifer’s initial consultations are with clients who have recently felt the pressure of increased competition.

It makes sense that this would be a powerful motivator, but Jennifer encourages small businesses and nonprofits not to put off online marketing too long: “Don’t wait for competition to come in to react. Connect with customers, understand their needs, and keep in touch with them. You need to be building your online presence proactively, before there’s a fire to put out.”

Improving your email, social, or event marketing before a moment of panic will allow you to be more strategic and will make your efforts feel more genuine.

3. You’re trying to do too much

You’re used to working hard and wearing all sorts of different hats, but it’s important to remember your biggest payoff is going to come from doing a few key things really well.

Make sure your online presence is up-to-date and gives visitors a good idea of what you’re all about. Be sure to have a plan for keeping your contacts engaged with a regularly scheduled email, then focus on building a presence on just the social media networks that will be most useful to you.
Jennifer uses a similar strategy when marketing her own business. “I do think there’s a sense of people often being overwhelmed by information,” she says. “For my own site, I initially wanted to keep things clear and manageable. My social accounts and blog were my first vehicles for marketing my services and offering visitors valuable content. My new site will offer downloadable content and videos taking my company on its next journey.”

4. You’re not embracing your specificity

Trying to appeal to a wide audience might sound like a good idea initially. You don’t want to leave anyone out, right? The problem with this one-size-fits-all approach is that your business or organization will no longer seem unique.

“People are starting to see the value of targeted marketing more and more,” Jennifer explains. “You can’t just throw something out there and expect to have results. Social media is also great for specificity. Imagery is really important, so using photos to show off a new product or an event can give your audience a clear sense of your brand.”

The more specific your web or social content, the more likely it is that it will really resonate with someone in your audience. If you’re worried about sending out information that isn’t relevant to all your customers, you may want to try segmenting your list to make your communications more personalized.

Don’t let your to-do list get the best of you.
Keep these four pitfalls in mind and start prioritizing the small things that will have a big impact. By utilizing your existing relationships and taking a proactive, focused, and personal approach you’ll start seeing results and growing your business without the risk of feeling overwhelmed or burnt out.

 

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