For most businesses, marketing is a necessary expense ensuring they keep top-of-mind with prospective customers. Marketing expenses often run 5 -10% of projected sales, or more depending on the marketing objectives. Deciding on a marketing budget and how to allocate the budget is a challenge for business owners and marketing professionals alike. As I meet with prospective clients (and existing clients) I hear a theme of pitfalls that have caught many businesses. With little time to allocate to marketing, planning it is easy to be ‘sold a bill of goods’.
After noticing a theme of common pitfalls I was inspired to create this blog, shedding light on some of the common ways businesses have spend their marketing time and funds, that are not likely to further their awareness.
This first blog post recaps just 4 of the common pitfalls I come across. This blog post will be a two part series because, unfortunately, there are as many marketing pitfalls as our Nova Scotia potholes after a long hard winter….
1. If it seems to good to be true… it probably is.
I’ve heard many clients tell me of companies that promise to get their site ranked number one in search for a nominal monthly fee – either a cost per word or a monthly subscription. Search Engine Optimization (SEO), is well worth the investment, but optimizing your site for search isn’t usually effective with a “pay up and forget about” it strategy. Coming up high in Google’s search results is all about having up-to-date quality content on your site—like the right content, links, optimized pages and more. This blog post by Hubspot, Answers to 18 SEO Questions You Were Too Afraid to Ask, addresses many questions that I am regularly asked by clients. But as a rule of thumb, I’d steer away from a proposal that sounds too good to be true. Market takes work!
2. Blogging without a Call to Action
Blogging is a proven tactic to increase your website traffic and SEO rankings. A recent Hubspot study found that businesses who blog get 55% more website visitors than those who do not. That is a considerable increase in traffic, and a wonderful opportunity. If you aren’t blogging, it’s time to add this high ROI marketing initiative to your marketing programs. But don’t just blog, make sure every blog you write leads prospective customers further down the marketing funnel with a call to action. Need a little direction on growing your business blog and using call to actions? Download my FREE eBook! - How to Grow & Scale Your Business Blog
3. Going for the free tools
Technology is a marketer’s best friend. The right tools can allow you to send scheduled targeted emails, test headlines and call to actions, track your efforts and so much more. Whether its email marketing, social media monitoring or scheduling, there are dozens of apps, tools and programs to make you into a marketing genius. But not all tools are created equal, and once you upload your list, or customize a template, switching to another tool can be a challenge. Over the years I’ve used a long list of different free and paid tools to realize my marketing goals. There are without a doubt some amazing free tools; Google Analytics would be top of my list. But each tool that you embrace takes some time to learn and to customize for your business. Choose your tools carefully and consider not only the monthly cost, but the associated cost of the time it will take you or a team member to learn the tool. My favorite marketing platform is Hubspot, this all in one solution is the same platform for all marketing functions: landing pages, blog posts, emails, search engine optimization, social media monitoring scheduling and more. The time I save using Hubspot is well worth the monthly subscription cost.
4. Improper Use of Social Media
There is so much buzz on social media it can be hard to know how to best allocate your marketing efforts for social media. Social Media should be a part of most any businesses marketing efforts, but there is no one size fits all social media strategy. The three biggest pitfalls I see in terms of social media are:
- Getting into it for the wrong reasons – because the competition is doing it, or somebody else has had great success with it aren’t strategic reasons for getting into any marketing tactic. Your social media efforts need to be strategic and supported by a larger marketing goal.
- Taking on too many platforms – the only thing worse that no social media presence is having a profile that is no longer updated or being monitored. Figure out where your customers are (Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn are all great tools to start with) master one tool and then embrace another.
- Assuming Social Media is a free marketing tool – while a presence on social media is free (or there are minimal hard costs) the human capital should be accounted for. Social Media marketing can be time consuming (especially so if you aren’t trained in it).
If social media has become a pitfall, check out my Social Media Tune Up -- Free Download
Next up, I’ll be looking at other common pitfalls including: website building tools, more on social media, reviewing results, reactive marketing and more. Has a different marketing pitfall put you off track? Share the details in the comment section below.
Looking to get more out of your marketing? Contact me.