Top 5 Marketing Mistakes Your Startup Should Avoid
When it comes to marketing your startup, here are the common mistakes
you should avoid
Making mistakes is part of a startup life — for better or worse. Mistakes help us learn and guide our company forward. However, some can be avoided, because they’re mistakes that have already been made by others. It’s common to see startups make the same marketing mistakes that others have made, so if you’re starting out, learn from us, and don’t make these five marketing mistakes.
1. Marketing to Everyone
When trying to market to everyone, you’ll end up targeting no one. Perhaps your company is a social media app like Facebook that can be used by a broad audience, but starting out you should target only one audience (like Zuckerberg did with college students). Finding a very defined market that wants to be early adopters to your product is key; trying to reach too broad an audience will be detrimental for your company when just starting out.
2. Launching on Too Many Social Media Accounts
Similar to the first point, trying to gain attention on too many social media accounts can result in your brand being spread too thin. Instead launching on 2–3 social media accounts, interacting with customers and influencers, posting often with high quality images, etc. will help your startup find a niche audience and connect with them.
3. Not Defining Roles in the Company
Of course at a startup, each employee will wear many hats, but the mistake happens when the hats overlap, especially when it comes to marketing. Your branding should be seamless and consistent across all platforms (from your website to media pitches to social media accounts). If too many people are writing content, the copy becomes inconsistent with branding. Have one person head up marketing, using everyone’s ideas and thoughts, to create a defined voice for the brand.
4. Forgetting to Figure out the Right Burn Rate (and Marketing Expenses)
How long can your company go with current finances? How far are you stretching your dollar (or pound or euro, etc)? In her Medium post Is My Startup Burn Rate Normal? Danielle Morrill talks about her startup’s mistaken burn rate. She includes a great quote by Paul Graham (in “How Not to Die”):
“When startups die, the official cause of death is always either running out of money or a critical founder bailing…”
You can easily be paying the marketer too much or too little, so make sure to factor in an appropriate cost of marketing when figuring out your finances.
5. Accidentally Copy the Competition
Startups should definitely monitor what the competition is doing in terms of social media strategy (as well as newsletters, ads, etc). The mistake comes when you let your competitor’s strategy bleed into your own (in essence, copying the competition). If your competitor does an amazing newsletter, don’t copy it, think about how you can use their idea in an even better way.
Hopefully 2015 won’t be the year of any of these mistakes for your startup’s marketing, but they are pretty easy to make. As long as you learn and move on from them, your company should end up alright.