If marketing is a pain point for your business, you are not alone. Deciding how, where, and when to promote your company is a huge task. Whether or not you have a team of experienced marketers helping you navigate the latest trends, there are some marketing mistakes that even the most highly equipped businesses make nearly every day. Ready to maximize your marketing efforts? Avoid these four common marketing missteps.  

Marketing Without a Unique Selling Proposition

You may be familiar with this marketing strategy, popularized in the 1940s. Your USP, or unique selling proposition, is what makes your product or service stand out from the competition. 

Without a USP, your business may easily overlook, or consumers will opt to choose a competitor’s service over your own. As business owners, it is easy to feel overwhelmed by the amount of competition in our market or niche. And in an attempt to grab the attention of our customers, we double our marketing output without necessarily fine-tuning our message

By identifying and utilizing your unique selling proposition, your marketing efforts will immediately go farther without increasing your output or budget. How do you find your company’s USP? Businesses often have a difficult time identifying their USP because it is such an inherent part of their business. Your USP often stems from your mission and vision; it is part of the core values that define your product or service.  

Discovering your company’s unique qualities can take time and a bit of effort, but you can start by asking yourself three simple questions:

  • What do we do well as a business?
  • What do our competitors do well (and how do we differ in those areas)?
  • What do our customers need or want?

Where your strengths and your customers’ needs align is where you will find your USP. 


Not Knowing Your Target Audience

Similar to identifying what makes your business unique, it is also essential to define the unique qualities of your target audience. 

Many businesses can determine their target market based on what they sell. Women’s apparel companies, for example, will target women in the age range that their clothes most appeal to.

For other businesses, however, the market needs to be narrowed down even further for marketing campaigns to have the most significant impact. If you provide legal services, for instance, you may find it challenging to identify just one target audience. Your services need to be both for men and women in a variety of age groups and situations. 

In cases where your target audience is vast, it helps to create a buyer persona—a fictional, but detailed description of each of your different ideal customers. Your personas then help guide your marketing efforts so that your message reaches the customer type you wish to target in that specific campaign. 

Why is the target audience so relevant to marketing? Without identifying your market, you could be creating content—blogs, infographics, social media posts—that doesn’t speak to your ideal customer. Instead of wasting time and energy on content marketing that doesn’t convert, you can increase traffic, conversions, and revenue by merely identifying—and speaking to—your target audience. 


Failing to Capture Repeat Customers

Studies show that it is 5 to 10 times more expensive to capture new customers than to retain current customers. Increasing customer retention by 5% can have an exponential impact on your sales (in the ballpark of 25 to 95% increase in profits). 

When customers purchase from you or hire your services, and have a good experience, it is essential to focus your marketing efforts on offering them new options, discounts, and other benefits that will keep them coming back to your business. 

Many companies focus their energy and budgets on marketing to new customers—which is also essential—but put little money into providing a reason for customers to stay.

Ignoring the Data 

With so many analytics tools available today, businesses have more resources for collecting data than ever before. But what happens when the data is difficult to interpret or fails to help you visualize your key performance indicators? 

Your business is creating data every single day—in fact, every time a user clicks on your website, social post, or Pinterest photo. Maximizing your marketing efforts means utilizing that data to determine a) if your marketing is working, and b) how to improve your strategy. 

The first step to utilizing your data is determining your KPIs or key performance indicators. What aspects of your business will indicate that your company is doing well? Does it need a certain number of followers on Instagram? A 5% increase in sales this month? A lower bounce rate on your website? 

The second step is finding a visualization platform that works for your business. Many companies are using multiple platforms at once, having to bounce around through different data sources to see the data they need to improve their marketing. 

I highly recommend more comprehensive tools like Molecule. This cloud-based platform collects your data from all of your digital marketing forums and transforms them into one, easy-to-use visual data dashboard. 

Determine your marketing strategy and goals based on where your leads are coming from, how well your current digital marketing is working, and your current and historical sales data. All of this information plays a unique role in your marketing efforts and will help avoid making future marketing mistakes. 

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