You built your business from the ground up, so why wouldn’t you do your own marketing? Although sculpting an advertising campaign might not seem difficult, making a few missteps might put the final nail in your company’s coffin. Here are four marketing mistakes you should avoid, so that you aren’t haunted by the memory of a failed business:
1: Enchanting Customers With Supernatural Claims
Most business owners understand the dangers of false advertising, but what about making subjective claims? After all, since you can’t physically prove that your coffee tastes better than your competitor’s, what’s the harm in putting a sign out front that states that you offer the “World’s Best Macchiato?” Although these types of claims might seem harmless, they could cause these issues:
- Disappointed Customers: How will your customers feel if they order an iced latte, only to be disappointed with artificial flavoring and a flimsy paper cup? If you can’t actually deliver on your claims, customers might be disappointed and angry.
- Lack of Loyalty: You might be able to convince a few tourists to try your coffee with those boastful claims, but how will you fare when vacation season ends? If you don’t focus on offering high-quality, reputable products, you might have issues retaining local, long-term customers.
- Damaged Reputation: Word of mouth is powerful in business, with research showing that a single dissatisfied customer tells between 9 and 15 people about their experience. While it might be impossible to keep all of your guests happy, a few mislead customers is all it takes to destroy your reputation.
To ward off problems, focus on offering honest, accurate advertising. Adhere closely to the Federal Trade Commission guidelines on truth in advertising, and carefully consider your wording before you start any advertising campaign. For example, instead of advertising that you offer the “World’s Best Coffee,” you might make your signage say “Famous For Our Espresso.” Keep in mind that customers respond well to substantiated claims, which is why some businesses post framed newspaper clippings, awards, and critic reviews.
2: Tricking Employees Instead of Treating Them Well
When you think of marketing mistakes, employee morale might not immediately come to mind. However, your employees can act as a team of company cheerleaders or cutting critics—depending on how you treat them. Unfortunately, if you lure workers to your business with the promise of a positive, impactful career and then you don’t deliver, they might not market products effectively to your customers.
Research has shown that businesses can suffer when employee morale is poor—resulting in increased absenteeism, employee turnover, and angry customers. In fact, an estimated 70% of United States employees report feeling disengaged, costing businesses between 40 and 50 billion dollars each year. Fortunately, you can tip the scales in your favor by focusing on your employees.
As a management team, take the time to interview your employees and evaluate benefits packages. Listen to suggestions from your workers. In addition to making your employees feel valued, you might be able to infuse your business model with fresh ideas.
3: Leaving Customer Comments In The Catacombs
When was the last time you checked that suggestion box or responded to an email from a customer? What are people saying about your business on websites like Yelp, the Better Business Bureau, or Google Reviews? Although it might seem overwhelming to respond to comments in a timely manner, leaving suggestions and complaints in the catacombs can make your business look like a joke.
Online reviews are a powerful marketing tool for your company, because an estimated 88% of customers read reviews to determine the quality of local businesses. To keep your customers happy and your reviews positive, always respond to comments as soon as possible. If customers complain, do everything in your power to remedy the situation. If you can, hire employees to scour the web to look for reviews and comments about your business. By linking to positive reviews and taking feedback in stride, you can build traffic to your web page and improve your customer service.
4: Being Invisible Online
You might assume that customers would be able to find your website easily, but with millions of results popping up with every search query, your business might be invisible online. Believe it or not, the first listing on Google’s organic search page tends to enjoy a staggering 33% of the traffic for that query, as opposed to a measly 18% for the second place in line. Unfortunately, the further down the list your company is from the top of the page, the harder it will be for customers to find your website—and the lower your traffic will be. In fact, the number 10 spot, which is still posted on the first page, only receives about 2.4% of the traffic.
Fortunately, you don’t have to hang your head in despair if your company doesn’t list anywhere close to the first page. Companies that specialize in SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, can help you to rise in the ranks. However, not every SEO company is created equally. Because of an ever-evolving Google algorithm that evaluates content, it is increasingly important to find an SEO company that offers insightful posts, helpful links, and relevant information.
By avoiding these marketing blunders, you might be able to attract and retain customers, drive more traffic to your website, and create exciting, impactful campaigns to boost your sales.