Hateful Eight + Dirty Dozen = 20 Ways to Waste Marketing Money (for SMB)

With a tight marketing budget, you can’t allow yourself for bad resources allocation, yet small companies and start-ups tend to repeat the same mistakes all the time

Hateful Eight by Brian Sutter

Brian Sutter listed top 8 SMB marketing missteps:

  1. Over-investing in social media. You have little control over these platforms, and each change of algorithm can affect your relationship with the audience dramatically. That’s why you should use SM to build your email list and drive traffic to the website, but never rely on one-and-only channel)
  2. Not knowing your audience.How can you address the messages that will appeal to your audience, if you don’t try to discover and map your target group?
  3. Overblown expectations. You want it all and you want it now. Looking for hacks and shortcuts, you lack the patience to invest in old-school organic methods. Many businesspeople hold out unrealistic hopes of quick results.
  4. Not tracking the efficiency of your campaigns. As a result, you don’t know what works for you and what doesn’t.
  5. Not knowing how you’ve attracted your mega-customers. You probably already spotted them in your business. They spend more, engage with the brand, respond to your messages.If you don’t know how you got them, you can’t repeat the success and find more perfect buyers.
  6. Not adjusting the strategy. With the marketing world changing quickly, new tools and platforms emerging and consumer behavior evolving, you should take care for ensuring that the tactics remain accurate and adequate to the current situation of your business.
  7. Choosing too many marketing channels. With limited resources and small marketing team, you can’t split your budget to myriads of channels. Choose one way of communication and resign from others.
  8. Going for a one-time ad campaign. The opposite approach is wrong, too. When you put all your resources into one major news outlet, it will surely backfire. One post — no matter how splendid — can’t possibly deliver much if isolated and not backed-up. So try to find a golden mean between dispersing scarce resources in too many channels and focusing them all in one place. Neither can benefit the company in a long run.

These 8 deeply hurt SMB marketers. But there is more.

Let us add our Dirty Dozen.

Dirty Dozen (of SMB digital marketing sins)

  1. Spending too much money on generating traffic. Do you put a lot of resources in campaigns that attract massive traffic of one-time visitors? Remember that if you can’t make them stay with you, the effort is futile. A lot of marketers can’t find the right proportion between finding new audience and communication to people who already are on the site or gave you their email addresses.
  2. Underestimating marketing to existing customers. Tapping into upselling, cross-selling and marketing to the customers differentiate top performers from the rest.
  3. Lack of personalization. With a short contact list, many SMB decide to adapt “spray and pray” technique: they send blast emails, because they believe they have too small audience to segment it. But open rates of generic messages declined 4 times over the last 5 years, says Ian Michiels. Users simply ignore irrelevant messages.
  4. Taking loyal customers for granted. 8 out of 10 consumers will walk away from the current provider if offered a better alternative.
  5. Focusing on vanity metrics. Do Facebook likes translate into sales? Do your Instagram followers become customers? Be sure that you don’t fall into an echo chamber of fads and buzzwords. Track what matters.
  6. Being a copycat. Although great artists steal, as Picasso claims, mimicking the leaders of your niche won’t deliver the same results. Be critical about adopting other’s techniques and tactics. Better start from getting to know your actual and potential customers deeply and treat that insight as your signpost.
  7. Losing authenticity. Do you try to please everyone and make all possible customers love your products instead of focusing on the targeted group with a defined profile, sharing a set of defined qualities or values? You will waste a lot of time and money, addressing issues you could ignore. Not to mention, that lack of a clear vision will make your business dull and similar to anything else.
  8. Building brand, instead of solid work. As Jeremy Hendon points out, “sales drive brand, not the other way around.” Devoting too much attention to become recognizable fast might lead to neglecting the basics.
  9. Putting “pretty” over “effective”. When designing your website, landing pages or materials, ensure that the creation is clear and easy to understand for someone who sees it for the first time. Is the core message delivered instantly? Is the navigation intuitive? Sometimes being functional involves adding some ugly pointers or simplifying the design. Don’t let your idea of visual perfection overshadow you the real aim — conversion. We wrote about the problem exhaustively in the post “Why Ugly Websites Sell Better
  10. Not testing. From Google to Barack Obama to the lady next door who runs her cat cookies ecommerce, everybody loves A/B testing. This practice helps you learn what your visitors really think and do. It’s far more accurate than surveys or blind guessing. If you want to decide on what colors to use, or which headline performs better, just test it. The more elements of your communication get tested, the more intuitive and user-friendly your website is.
  11. Poor choice of tools. When you begin, it’s easy to invest in a shiny new system for social media or tracking your staff productivity, and miss the essential tools that show actual ROI and undoubtedly improve your communication with customers, such as CRM or Marketing Automation. With the overwhelming marketing technology landscape with more than 4000 solutions to choose from, it’s easy to be distracted from your true needs.
  12. Wanting to grow too fast. With self-proclaimed growth hackers lurking around every corner, eager to share their tips and tricks for rapid development, marketers and SMB owners might feel tempted to find shortcuts and become a multi-billionaire in a year, even if they own a local grocery shop or a niche ecommerce. The growth hacking hype blurs entrepreneurs visions and lifts their expectations way too high, shifting their attention to less mundane and realistic issues.If you’re one of those people who wear “Always be yourself, unless you can be a growth hacker. Then always be a growth hacker” or “I’m a growth hacker. To save time let’s just assume I’m never wrong”, stop.

Your turn!

SMB owners and marketers, share some more! What obstacles did you encounter and what mistakes have you made?

The post appeared originally on Marketing Automation blog.