What about mistakes ?
“Tell me where I’m going to die, so I won’t go there.”
~ Charlie Munger
Most of the business advice out there is telling you what you should do.
But I've found it equally, if not more valuable, to ask my mentors what I shouldn't do.
What are the worst investments they ever made?
The worst hiring mistakes?
The biggest opportunity they missed?
You can learn a lot from hearing battle-hardened entrepreneurs tell you tales of all the times they screwed up and paid dearly for it.
So today, I'm going to tell you some of the biggest marketing mistakes I have made over the last close-to-decade. The total costs? Easily in the millions.
Mistake #1 is not developing and maintaining a marketing focus. You need to hone in on your best prospects: that core group most likely to become long-term customers. Sure, your market consists of a much larger group, but who do you really want to appeal to? What narrower group do you focus your marketing efforts on? Everyone in your market COULD be your customer, but only a small percentage of them WILL BE. Focus on those prospects.
Mistake #2 is the lack of a compelling offer. You need something that stimulates people to take action now. Most business owners have been misled by image-based marketing, which is designed only to keep your name out there. Brand awareness is too vague to work for small businesses. You must be specific: “Here’s my best offer today and only today, and here’s what you’ll get when you order right now.” One of the worst mistakes you can make is to fail to give prospects a specific call to action, something you want them to do immediately. After all, why should they respond at all, without a compelling reason to do so?
Mistake #3 is not having deadlines. You must include urgency in your offers. Do so and you’ll increase your response rate, regardless of the type of advertising and marketing methods you’re using to acquire and retain customers. As long as you stick to your self-imposed deadlines, you’ll get higher response and conversion rates.
Mistake #4 is not using testimonials agressively enough in your marketing. In most cases, what other people say about you is much more convincing to a prospect than what you say about yourself. They expect you to toot your own horn, but they pay attention when someone else does it. That’s why social media is such a huge influence these days. Word of mouth is very valuable, if you can harness it for your benefit. Gather and use as many testimonials as possible. (This is one of the areas that my company, MOBE, shines the brightest! Nobody that I know of has spent more money gathering the highest quality testimonials than I have. I’ve done this from the start, because I know that this is the best way to prove that my company is the very best.)
Mistake #5 is failing to measure the results of your marketing, and then focussing on beating your personal best. Every single dollar should be accountable, so you know what works and what doesn’t. Don’t just throw a bunch of things out there without a way to track the results. When you know one type of promotion is working like crazy, and another is going over like a lead balloon, you can cut the latter and focus on the former. Have identifiers for each kind of result that comes in. Track everything.
- Michael Halsey