3 Mistakes Business Owners Make with Their Marketing

I received a great direct mail piece from marketing strategist Michele Pariza Wacek, who wrote an interesting article about common flubs business owners make with their marketing campaigns and sent it through the mail. It was essentially a blog post, delivered by post. Not something we've ever thought to do at our Internet marketing office here in Houston. It was actually pretty cool. According to Michele, most unsuccessful campaigns can often be traced back to one of these three missteps. Has your team committed any of these marketing cardinal sins?

1) Your Target Market is Too Broad

Good marketers identify a niche and pursue that one until they've saturated that small market. Then, and only then, do they pursue another one. Even if you sell a product that everyone can use, you'll wear yourself out and waste your money trying to sell to everyone. Pursuing everyone leads to "media waste," reaching people you don't really want or need to reach. Narrow it down however you can — gender, age, ZIP code, household income or people who support nonprofits, buy green products, or enjoy art festivals — to focus your marketing campaign.

2) You Picked the Wrong Target Market

So you already narrowed your market down by gender, age, or even nonprofit donation status, but you weren't being realistic. Generally, small business owners are using good logic to arrive at their decisions, but left out an important detail that would have made all the difference.
  • How INTERESTED in my product or service is this person? I see a lot of small biz owners who are so passionate about what they provide, they lose sight of who is actually in the market for their product. Passion and excitement are great, but you need to apply your marketing strategy to hit the people who are at least a little bit excited about your product too.
  • Can this person AFFORD my product or service? Business owners like to believe their offering is worth every penny — and I'm sure it is — but that doesn't mean people will save up for it. If they can't initially afford what you're selling, your message will go in one ear and out the other.

3) You're Not Putting Your Message Where Your Target Is

Putting your marketing message out into the world is a lot like dating. If you want to meet the quintessential, clean-cut Nice Guy, you're not going to be hanging out in your local pool hall. If you want your message to meet your target, it has to be in the right place. That means you have to go where they hang out. Is your target full of heavy online users? Your marketing should be online. If they go to industry conferences, you should be there too. If you want to be successful in your marketing efforts, regardless of whether it's social media marketing or old-school tactics, you need to know your audience, find your niche, and go to where they are. By taking these three basic steps, you'll be able to find success where other small businesses struggle.
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1 comment (Add your own)

1. Lisa wrote:
Well put.

My blog isn't a service or a product, so much as it is informative...which may lead to other things (consulting, workshops, speaking, books, articles, or secondary opportunities). It's easy to think I should cast a big net, but that hasn't big worth my time.

I need dedicated readers who really dial-in with my ideas, and have the same sort of passion and willingness for growth/improvement as I do. (it's a small net). Thins that drive traffic to my site aren't helpful at all. I need a loyal base of faithfuls!

In the same vein, What ideas do you have for the best ways to use $500-1,000 in marketing and advertising?

Tue, June 8, 2010 @ 1:19 PM

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