As a new business owner, it isn’t easy to sort out which business strategies work and which ones don’t. There’s no standardized roadmap that guarantees success. Instead, success in business is a series of trial-and-error tests that result in a positive outcome, with plenty of mistakes along the way.
When it comes to marketing, many business owners make mistakes without even knowing they’re doing so. If not addressed, these issues can lead to failed campaigns, unjustified expenses and very few results. Below, nine members of Young Entrepreneur Council look at some of the most common mistakes new entrepreneurs make when planning their marketing efforts and the best ways to remedy them.
1. Thinking With A Short-Term Mindset
One mistake entrepreneurs make is having a very short-term mindset. Especially if they are launching a content marketing campaign, it’s a long-term strategy that compounds in its effectiveness over time. When entrepreneurs expect to see results in three months and change strategies if they don’t, they are going to keep running in circles and not make any true progress because they aren’t giving it enough time. – Kelsey Raymond, Influence & Co.
2. Not Hiring Expert Marketers
I made a big mistake of not hiring expert marketing agencies or marketing consultants in the beginning. I started with me doing all the planning and I hired junior staff in marketing. It really hurt me and I learned it the hard way. I corrected this by hiring marketing agencies, who charged a lot but were able to give me the right advice and execute the plans. Once I saw the results, I hired an in-house experienced marketer to execute the strategy at a lower cost. – Piyush Jain, SIMpalm
3. Trying To Market To Everybody
One of the top mistakes new entrepreneurs make is trying to be everything to everybody, hoping that their target audience will eventually find them. But marketing to “everybody”—the largest possible audience—is actually not going to yield the largest possible return. To make sure your brand stands out, you have to be unique. If you want to leave an impression, you have to first be relevant. You have to choose who you want to market to. You have to start from ground zero and craft a creative message that targets a specific segment of the population. – Blair Thomas, eMerchantBroker
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4. Confusing Brand With Marketing
Many new entrepreneurs confuse their brand with their marketing. A brand is timeless. It is slow to develop. It represents who you are and where you want to be as a business. Marketing, on the other hand, is timely. It changes every day. It reacts and responds to the changing needs of the market in order to be more relevant. When approaching your marketing, see it as a constant experiment. If you feel like you’ve found something that works, don’t be too quick to get complacent. Always try new things, and keep it fresh! – Matthew Manos, verynice
5. Not Showing Up Consistently
Entrepreneurs think that showing up once a month or posting every now and then is going to make for a successful strategy. Nothing can be further from the truth. I see this all the time with new clients. They just want to engage with their audiences every so often. It’s about being there every day, engaging with your audiences every day and having a presence every day. – Jean Ginzburg, JeanGinzburg.com
6. Relying Too Much On Data
Don’t rely solely on data to drive decisions. While data is important for marketing, there are aspects of the data that, if not fully understood, could incorrectly drive your decision process. If you are not careful, you may find yourself targeting a poor platform or the wrong audience. Instead of basing your entire marketing strategy on numbers alone, have conversations with your current customers, get to know them more intimately and use this human insight to support the direction of the strategy. –Matthew Podolsky, Florida Law Advisers, P.A.
7. Overspending On Advertising Without Testing
A common mistake is overspending on advertising and marketing without sufficient testing. There’s no faster way to burn through money than running costly advertising campaigns, such as PPC, expensive print ads or even TV commercials (which can still work but are generally best for large, established companies). Some new entrepreneurs are so anxious to get the word out that they sink too much capital into marketing. A better approach is to start small, test everything and bootstrap. You can scale up when you find a method that’s bringing in results. Additionally, look for free and cheap marketing strategies when you’re starting out. – Kalin Kassabov, ProTexting
8. Being Unwilling To Make Changes
New entrepreneurs should not get fixated on ad templates that they believe look good and sound good. Even if you follow all the best practices when it comes to ad copy and visuals, you still need to test your ads by doing A/B testing. So, don’t get fond of a specific color palette or “clever” text. Publish an ad, make small changes and then track what does well and what doesn’t. You’ll then come up with the right ad that creates the most conversions. –Syed Balkhi, WPBeginner
9. Overpaying For Services You Don’t Understand
There is no shortage of marketing services targeted at beginner entrepreneurs and small business owners. Most of the services are monthly subscriptions that continue in perpetuity and never guarantee results. Furthermore, the services and companies rarely allow the entrepreneur to look under the hood of the operation and truly understand what service they provide. The end result is that the business owner ends up paying for a long-term contract and does not understand what value they receive in return. The solution to this problem is to avoid any sort of long-term contract that is not tied to performance and to ask as many questions as possible about what specifically the marketing provider is doing. – Ryan Bradley, Koester & Bradley, LLP / White River Consulting, LLC