Learning from mistakes is great when you’re learning from someone else’s
mistakes. Watching the pitfalls and landmines they so kindly show to you.
As long as you’re paying attention.
I worked at a huge ad agency years ago called MarchFIRST. They had a fun series of TV ads showing “firsts” but from unique perspectives. One memorable TV spot was shot from a first-person perspective as passers-by gawked or hid their eyes. Then it simply said: The First Mini-Skirt. Then added the tagline with the logo: Here’s to being first.
Our local agency decided to do a spoof of the ad. We shot a commercial with three BASE jumpers getting ready to parachute off a cliff. “Four” the first one signals to the others. He shakes his head, “No, Five.” The first BASE jumper looks down and questions, “Five?” The others nod in agreement. He jumps and we watch their faces as they count down, then wince. They look at each other and nod, “Four.”
We then called it MarchSECOND. Here’s to going second.
There are lessons you can learn from someone else’s mistakes. That marketing conglomerate ended up going down like the Titanic during the dot-com bubble burst. All of their clients were in tech.
Here are 7 common marketing mistakes to avoid:
1. Not Actively Marketing When Times Are Tight
“I can’t afford to advertise right now,” a nervous business owner will say when the economy dips down. The truth is, you can’t afford not
to. I worked at an agency where all their digital ads were tied to a credit card. The credit card got maxed out without anyone noticing. Google stopped running their ads. A week later a frantic client called, “What’s happened?” When the problem was identified, it became clear that by turning off their advertising it effectively shut off their sales too.
Don’t shut off your sales. Especially when times are tight.
2. Ignoring Email And Text Marketing Opportunities
Build a list. It’s the backbone of your business. Have you noticed how one huge technology company will buy up another large tech company. In 2011 Microsoft bought Skype for more than $8 billion in cash. Why would they do that? Microsoft was full of programmers who could replicate a similar communications platform. So what made the small company so attractive? Skype had 8 million paying users. Microsoft wasn’t buying the technology, they were buying their customer list. And being able to easily and effortlessly communicate with them was a huge opportunity.
What opportunities are you missing out by not marketing to your current customers? Not turning clients into repeat customers? Email and text lists are the heart of your business. Don’t let these leads go cold. Communicate regularly.
4. Not Understanding Your Ideal Customer
I have a marketing friend who stepped in to help his brother’s HVAC business. At the time he joined the company they were running tons of coupon ads. Sure, they were booking lots of cheap tune-up appointments, but they were actually losing money. My friend took a look at the numbers and the clients that they were attracting and made some changes. Some of those changes were drastic. In fact, they lost A LOT of clients. But here’s the kicker—they ended up making more money.
Pay attention to your data. Figure out who is your most profitable client and who is also a client who returns again and again. Then figure out how to speak their language and serve them better.
5. Not Optimizing For Mobile
Mobile accounts for more than 80% of the traffic to your site. Too often companies forget this and create beautiful websites… that don’t really work on mobile. The information flow gets thrown out of whack or jumbled up. The message becomes a confusing mess of text and images tossed carelessly into your customer’s hand.
Test all of your communication on your mobile phone before it goes out. Make sure it makes sense.
6. Failing To Freshen Up Your Messaging
Ads and ad campaigns grow cold. Change it up. Take the opportunity to A/B test things. Find a message you think works, then try again and compare the results. You can always improve.
Try different channels. Different images. Different methods. Open up opportunities for something new.
7. Forgetting Your Business Focus
Company owners forget this all the time. They get clouded on what business they’re really in—the business of acquiring customers. Those who learn this and who do this well succeed. Year after year. After year. Those who get mixed up and think they’re in the HVAC industry, or the car industry, or the movie industry… soon lose the customers who make it all work. Markets change. But the business foundation doesn’t. Keep acquiring new customers.
(By the way, #3 was Not Paying Attention To The Numbers. It was left out to make the point).
Scott Wilhite is a creative director at Concept Marketing in Salt Lake City, UT. Concept Marketing is an agency that specializes in providing premier marketing services to HVAC/Plumbing companies. If you would like to see how Concept Marketing might be able to help you, please schedule a call at https://conceptmrk.com/book/