Tackling the beast of marketing is no easy task. Whether your company has been around for a while and you want to try something new, or you have a brand new company with zero marketing, the process is equally important and potentially difficult. With thousands of tools, ebooks, videos, and courses, it can quickly become overwhelming as you start the process of creating a new marketing campaign. To avoid the common pitfalls many businesses fall into on their marketing journeys, consider these three non-negotiable steps to start things off the right way!
Marketing campaigns serve a purpose. That purpose will vary from business to business and what stage they are at in their journey toward growth. A small business’s campaign may be more awareness-focused, while a more established company will use new campaigns to launch a new product or attempt to nurture their customer base into organic brand ambassadors. Whatever the desired outcome of a new campaign, it needs to be clear, concise, and laid out in achievable steps that everyone on your marketing team can follow.
Often, a company starts with lofty goals or benchmarks that are out of touch with the company’s current status. Setting the to-do of: “Get 100k followers by the end of the month” isn’t a realistic goal for your company to strive toward, or a fair burden to place on your marketing team if your current reach sits at only 1,000. Instead, a measured approach can keep expectations manageable, and success is more attainable when broken down into smaller goals and benchmarks in reasonable, quarterly, or monthly increments.
By auditing your current market status, or the market as it stands before you put a campaign together, your initiative has a far greater chance of success. Start by gathering data on the type of customers you would like to reach. Knowing how to create a customer or buyer persona is essential in the process of setting goals because you have to know the pain points your product can solve, and who to target in your campaign that will most likely resonate with your product or service’s function.
Poor research can mean wasted time as you direct efforts trying to reach the wrong community, direct money to the wrong media outlets, or create unbalanced inbound and outbound strategies that don’t move the needle on your goals. Knowing where you stand helps you better see where you need and are able to grow!
Avoid Marketing for Marketing’s Sake
If your business wants to get things right from the beginning, make sure that everyone’s motives are in the right place! Putting a marketing campaign in motion without proper planning, direction, goals, or purpose other than to just “do marketing” is the fastest way to ensure failure.
The saying “quality is better than quantity” is nothing new, but it applies to marketing and should be a high priority for any marketing campaign. Quality marketing offers your customers something worth purchasing, subscribing to, or becoming a member of. You must also be able to convey the qualities of your product that set you apart from the competition.
Keep on top of current trends and their pricing to avoid being priced out, as well as what tactics competitors employ that attract their customer bases. Marketing with quality also means your campaign is interesting enough to catch people’s attention (offering a hook) but also making sure that the content they see isn’t a distraction leaving them with no recollection of what product they just saw. This is termed “brand awareness” and is important to balance with the catchy wording and imagery that goes into your marketing campaign.
The most important factor in having quality marketing is budgeting appropriately. Too often, new companies eager to get started on spreading the word and hoping to grow quickly will allocate a small budget to quick fixes that yield little results. Hiring inexperienced marketers, or paying for cheap tools that create sub-par marketing assets only creates more work in the long run as you will eventually have to go back and make up the lost time where customers clicked away because of ineffective promotions.
Avoid spending money ineffectively by first researching the going rate for marketing firms or consultants and what they promise to deliver. Second, review their client’s past performance, and third, create a budget around what outcomes you want to see.
Often, companies start with their budget first and attempt to get the desired results without the appropriate budget to match. This misalignment will lead to frustration on the end of the business owner due to undesired outcomes as well as those who were hired to deliver without the means to do so. Lastly, if the budget is tight, but you want to be able to jump on something as soon as possible, it might be best to explore funding options such as a small business loan or a business line of credit to boost the ability to retain both quality talent and marketing assets!
It’s tempting to go all out on your first campaign with as many tactics and channels as you can handle going all at once. However, if your company isn’t well-known with a solid base of trust between your brand and the customer, it’s time to lay some groundwork first. Starting small can be the best way to put new marketing campaigns in motion. The smaller the campaign, the more you can personalize the customer journey, making it outstanding from start to finish, and leading to better awareness via word-of-mouth.
It’s also best to focus on a limited number of media channels to avoid spreading your team too thin. If the “spray and pray” method is your go-to way for starting campaigns in the past, try narrowing it down to one or two places where you can focus on building a great presence and engagement reputation. Otherwise, it will be hard to see what all of the business spent on maintaining and running campaigns is actually doing for your bottom line. As your company grows, and data is trending upward, you can scale your marketing efforts to match!
With all of these tips, the overarching mantra that needs to be repeated is making sure that at all times your team is able to pivot. Ensure that tracking, analytics, and reporting are built to identify issues as they arise. If for whatever reason something is not working during the course of a campaign, and changes need to be made to keep things as effective as possible, don’t waste valuable time and money hoping something different happens with the same methods.
Conversely, staying current on best practices and trends is important, but should not be switched up so often and chased at every opportunity to the point that your goals suffer.
Make sure your decisions are well-informed and get ready to see some measurable success on your next marketing campaign!