In my role as a marketing consultant, it’s rare that I visit a business and discover they are on the right track. Usually I see a range of horrors, which gave me the idea of writing an article on marketing mistakes. In my first article published in March 2015 I mentioned only three mistakes so I thought it may be useful to create a ‘Part Two’ adding 3 more common mistakes / poor practices to the list. I wonder how many of these your business is making?
1. The belief that marketing is only used to attract new customers.
How wrong could this be!
A customer is someone who has purchased from your business before. They may have purchased one or many times. However, you cannot afford to assume that they know everything about your business, the products or services you offer and all of the special promotions you introduce throughout the year.
In my article on the three ways to grow your business, you may recall that one way was to entice your existing customers to buy from you more often. How can you do this if you do not communicate with them? Are you really expecting them to be so loyal that they visit your website frequently and/or telephone your office to talk to your sales team? It’s most unlikely.
Have you ever wondered why you lose customers? Most customers who leave a business do so because they do not feel valued or appreciated. Occasionally they find the same goods elsewhere at a better price but, for most people, price is not the main factor for buying from you. Perhaps they are looking for value and a strong and trusting relationship. How can you offer or develop this if you do not communicate with them?
By creating separate marketing to existing customers you can engage with them in a completely different way. You can ask for opinions to help you devise new products or services, ask for referrals which in turn grows your customer base, ask for stories on the results they gained from being a customer of yours. These stories can lead to case studies and/or testimonials.
You can also create special offers as part of your growth strategy which are only available to existing customers. Again, this helps build the community and loyalty to your business. You should never underestimate goodwill created by looking after customers well.
As a rule of thumb, your sales can grow exponentially by focusing your attention on looking after your customers, helping them get what they want. If they stay with you longer and spend more money with you, your investment in marketing will be far superior to that spent on attracting new customers.
2. The business only uses one media for their marketing.
Considering the diversity of marketing tools available today, it is a high risk strategy to rely on only one media for your marketing. What would happen if this marketing channel suddenly stopped working?
Reliance on one media is simply too high risk for most businesses. It is critical that you find as many routes to market as possible. Of course, social media is playing an increasing role in the marketing mix, especially if your business sells to consumers. However, if you are a B2B business, this does not mean you should rule out social media. There are many good uses for media such as LinkedIn or YouTube, with the latter being one of the largest search engines at the moment.
With the rapid rise of online marketing, it is very easy to neglect “old” media. Be warned, one of the biggest opportunities for businesses today is using direct mail because competition has reduced significantly over the last ten years. This means you can still stand out from the crowd by literally going direct.
The important point here is to continue testing other media, as you can never tell when you may unearth a rich vein of leads or sales. Success in more than one media provides greater stability to the business. If one media slows down or fails to perform, then at least you have a second media continuing to deliver a stream of leads or sales. This gives you time to test in the hope of finding other lead sources.
3. Many business owners consider sales and marketing are, in reality, the same.
In some respects I understand where this view is derived from. We send sales letters to market to our prospects. Actually, most of the time we send marketing letters to sell to our prospects. This is where the confusion begins.
The issue I have with this thinking is that if you dissect professional selling or professional marketing there are a number of common practices but the paths to the end goal, a sale are very different.
With marketing, the goal is to entice a prospect to contact our business so that we can engage. This moves the prospect from the marketing funnel into the sales funnel. Have you got either of these? If not, then you really need to develop your marketing and selling systems.
There are some products which can be marketed which ultimately leads to a sale without a salesperson being involved. That’s great and the faster this happens the better. Marketing is therefore the tool to educate a prospect, convince them that the product or service is perfect for them which ultimately moves them to the next stage – contact with your business with the view to buying.
The selling process begins when contact is made. This could a simple telephone order or a detailed meeting to decide which variation or combination suits the prospect best.
As I said earlier, the importance of marketing is to educate and entice. Is your marketing fulfilling this role. Why not undertake a review and ask the question whether a prospect can fully understand what your product or service does for them and whether you educate them as to why they should buy your version. Have you then created a simple method for the reader to contact you without the fear that they will be at the mercy of an aggressive salesperson. By the way, fear of talking to a salesperson is one of the biggest barriers to a sale.
The more professional you are at marketing and selling, the greater success you will have. Take time to create your systems with empathy for the prospect in mind. Pay special attention to the barriers you are building or removing through the use of good marketing.Have you ever wondered why you lose customers? Simple marketing mistakes... Click To Tweet