Many of us who become small business owners - either intentionally or quite by accident due to a lay off or downsizing - don't have any formal marketing training. But to have a successful business, you simply must learn how to market effectively. Marketing is the beginning of the funnel that ends in cash flow for your business. Given that, part of planning for the future is looking back so you do whatever you can to avoid making the fatal marketing mistakes a lot of your predecessors have made.
1. Not knowing who your prospect really is. Your prospect is not anyone; You must take the time to define, specifically, who it is you are after. The more you know, the more successful you will be.
2. Not knowing what problems your prospects want you to solve. Your prospective customers don't care about the features of what you have to offer. They care about what you can do for them. What issues or problems keep your prospects awake at night? Solve those and you're on your way.
3. Marketing inconsistently. You can't market one month, then wait three months and market again. Your marketing efforts need to be consistent over time and be provided through several different mediums.
4. Thinking your company name or logo are the most important components of your marketing message. They aren't. They are actually the least important part of your message. Your prospects care about how you can help them, not how cool your company name or logo is.
5. Not tracking and measuring marketing results. You must track and measure so you can repeat what works. And you need to know how much return you are getting on your investment in your marketing dollars. Track what the payback is to your bottom line.
6. Not testing your marketing materials. A good way to waste a lot of money is to market using an untested message. If you have money to throw away, don't test. Seriously, test your marketing messages.
7. Not creating an in-house list. An in-house list is a list of your current clients and prospects. You should be collecting name, company, address, phone, fax, email address and any other details the person is willing to provide.
8. Not asking your prospects to take action. You can market with all the hoopla possible, but if you don't tell your prospects exactly what to do, you won't make any sales. It seems like a no-brainer, but it's not. You must tell take them step-by-step through all of the actions they must take to accomplish what you want them to.
9. Not knowing the long-term value of your customers. Would you value a $5 customer? You should. They're worth a whole lot more in the long run. Know the long-term value of your customers.
10. Stopping what's working. You stop what's not working, not what's working. No matter how bored you are with it, if it works keep doing it. See #5.
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