Now that we’ve discussed the end results of good marketing, let’s talk about some of the common mistakes people make in marketing.
1. Confusing advertising with marketing. Advertising and marketing are very different things. There are many ways to market your business, and advertising is only one way to do it. In fact, advertising is often the most expensive way to market your business. If you think advertising is the same thing as marketing, you have just limited yourself to only using the most expensive way to market your business. There are lots of ways to market your business that are cheaper than advertising, and often times more effective. We will be talking about these methods throughout this article.
In fact, let me give you one method right now. Talk to 3 of your customers and ask them about their overall experience. What is the most dissatisfying thing about your service? Their answers will tell you exactly what you need to do to improve.
2. Throwing money at advertising without understanding the big picture of marketing. Most people think that if they spend X dollars on their website and online marketing campaign, they will get Y amount of business. If you want to get more business, you just need to spend more money in advertising, right? This is absolutely wrong. Spending more money on advertising does not necessarily mean more business! More often than not, it just means you’ve spent more money, and you now have less money in the bank account. Spending more on advertising may or may not be the key to bringing in more business. As you’ll learn, effective advertising requires you to deliver the right message to the right people at the right time in the right way. Simply having more website ads, or a bigger Pay Per Click budget is often not the way to bring in more business. How effective are your PPC ads? Are you advertising in the right place? Who is seeing your ads? Are these people the best customers for you? Your consultant will be going into great detail with you regarding the effectiveness of your advertising.
3. Thinking that effective marketing must be expensive. If all you do is listen to the sales pitch of some search marketing rep and sign up with them, you might be misled to believe that effective marketing means spending a lot of money. These sales reps want to make you think this way, because the more money you spend with them, the more commission they make. If you become emotional and start thinking how this one advertising will bring in all the business in the world for you, you become an easy prey for these sales reps to take your money. The truth is – effective web marketing does not have to be expensive. If your marketing is done right and done methodically (rather than emotionally), it’s not as expensive as you might think.
I cannot emphasize enough that marketing is a lot more than advertising or selling. It’s about providing an excellent customer experience, which involves putting systems in place so that customers get a consistent, high quality experience no matter which employee is working that day.
Remember McDonald’s? No matter who is working there that day, you will always get the same experience. They always put X amount of salt into the fries, you always get your food within X number of minutes, and the employees always greet you the same way.
That’s how you want your business to be. The key to marketing is offering an excellent customer experience. You can’t just offer excellent service one day and crappy service another day. No matter how busy you are, no matter who is working that day – every customer must get the same customer experience every single time. How do you do that? You must implement systems and procedures, and make every employee follow them. This is how we do things around here. They either follow it, or they are out the door.
You see, since marketing is how customers perceive you, there are lots of ways to improve how you are perceived. Buying a bigger ad might increase your visibility when people open up the Yellow Pages, but do you see how there are a lot cheaper and more effective ways to improve how you are perceived? It might be as simple as training your employees on how to answer the phone. This is what you say when you pick up the phone, this is what you say when a customer asks for this, this is what you say when a customer shouts at you…so on and so forth.
You begin to set rules that your employees must follow. For example, answering each online visitor questions in a courteous and efficient manner. The exact rules and procedures will depend on your business, but you must have some kind of rules that everybody follows. And guess how much it costs to write down a couple of rules and make every employee follow them? It costs nothing. And guess how much better you’ll be perceived in the eyes of your customers? A lot. Is this effective marketing? You bet it is.
I am not saying advertising is not important. Advertising is one important way to attract new customers. In fact, we will be dedicating a large portion of this article to the subject of advertising. But you should always remember that marketing is how you’re perceived by your customers, and advertising is only one way (and often the most expensive way) to improve that perception.
[Via Visual Scope]