I speak to a lot of business owners who tell me their marketing isn’t working. When I ask a few questions, I often find that they’ve been given terrible advice from people who aren’t trained properly. To set the record straight, I’ve listed the top bits of bad advice I’ve heard and just why you shouldn’t listen.
- Create a very specific avatar of your ideal customer
Whilst it’s very good to have a thorough understanding of your customers, focusing in too closely on one specific type of customer will mean you’re potentially shutting yourself off to a lot of business. The best marketing plans have two or three customer segments. That means you are targeting two or three different types of customer at any one time. They will all be ideal in some way, but no business has only one type of customer. Open your mind to get better results.
- Post every day on social media
There is absolutely no positive to this. Firstly, do you really have time to be posting every single day? Whilst posting on social media may be free in terms of your marketing budget, you still need to factor in a return on investment on your time. There may be far better activities for you to be focusing on that will take less time and render greater results.
Secondly, you run the risk of becoming irritating. If you keep popping up on your customers’ feeds, they could get sick of hearing about you. Or alternatively, they just switch off, meaning your messages simply get lost. Yes, you want to stay fresh in the minds of your customers, but posting two or three times a week will do the same job. The best marketing plans use lots of different channels.
- You don’t need a website
I have been quite shocked when I’ve heard from business owners that they’ve been told to scrap their websites. Apparently they’ll get far more value from just focusing on social media. While social media might have its place, if you don’t have a website, that means there is nowhere on the internet that is 100% yours. What if LinkedIn or Facebook suddenly closed down or drastically changed how they work? Don’t rely on anything that you don’t have full control over. Find your space on the internet and use it to your advantage.
- You must do blogs, podcasts and lead magnets
I hate that word ‘must’. It suggests that there is some golden rule when it comes to marketing. Don’t ever feel like there has to be a tick list of activities. If you have nothing to say, why blog or go on podcasts? There are dozens of ways to capture the attention of your audience. You need to work out which ones will use your best assets in the best way.
- Here is a strategy that’s worked for other clients
Every single business is unique. No two businesses work in the same way. That means what has worked for one business might completely fail for another. There is no way of knowing. I wouldn’t dream of telling my clients what marketing activities are best until I’ve thoroughly understood them. And then I never just copy a strategy from another business, no matter how well that strategy may have worked. Don’t fall into the trap of believing that there are certain things that work as a flat rule. You need to find out what’s going to work for your unique business and your particular customer base.
- You must be on all the social media channels
This advice could actually be detrimental to your business. Firstly, who on earth has the time to be posting on a great number of accounts? Even massive marketing departments are choosy. Remember, you must think about the return on investment of your time. Don’t waste it.
Secondly, different people use different social media platforms. Who are your customers and what are they using? Only focus on that. Don’t be fooled into thinking that if you market on Snapchat they might grow up knowing about you. It doesn’t work that way. We only notice things that may be of interest. Trust me, your eyes have seen probably hundreds of things today that you don’t remember because they’re not relevant. Be relevant to maximise your chance of conversion.
- There’s a formula for success and we’ll tell you what it is
If someone tells you this, they’re lying. I’ve had the honour of being taught by some of the best marketers in our world today. Not once did any of them tell me about a formula for success. If they don’t think it exists, why should you believe someone who’s probably done no marketing training at all? The only thing that works is having a strategic approach that is focused around your business, your customers and the market you’re in. Do your research and make wise decisions. Don’t fall for the get rich quick schemes. They just don’t work.
- You want to do some LinkedIn/Facebook ads
Social media advertising of course has its place, but not as the solution for everything. During a great number of initial meetings I’ve had with potential clients, they’re so often surprised that I haven’t immediately suggested LinkedIn or Facebook ads. Because apparently the other marketing agency they were just speaking to said that would be the best solution for them and it would cost them X amount each month.
If you are going to do social media advertising, make sure it has a strategic backbone and you’ve made the decision wisely. Don’t just do it and hope for the best. You probably won’t see that money again.
The Main Problem
Anyone who knows what they’re talking about in marketing will never tell you what they can do for you without asking key questions first. Marketing has to be bespoke for every individual business. If you’re trying to copy what someone else is doing or you’re following that special five step formula for success, my advice would be to stop immediately. Take a step back and decide how best you can reach your customers with a message that really resonates with them. Ultimately, that’s the only thing that will work.
If you’d like to know more about how to develop a strategic approach to your marketing that will vastly increase your chances of success, why not take a look at my marketing book “How to Write and Effective Marketing Plan”. It’s an easy to follow, step by step guide that will introduce you to how a marketing plan should be put together.