We see some really great marketing out there, but more often we see a lot of marketing mistakes–ouch! In many cases, these businesses are not just missing some great opportunities–they’re actually harming their brand by turning off customers. With more than a decade of marketing experience under our collective belt, we wanted to share the top marketing mistakes we see to let business owners and marketing directors in on important ways they can powerfully grow their business.
- Being inconsistent. You would not wear a mismatched outfit to a business meeting, so why would you let your business “wear” matched logos, fonts, colors, images, and messaging? Being the entrepreneurial embodiment of Pippi Longstocking isn’t whimsical–it’s unprofessional, and that means you are confusing your customers, making it harder for them to remember what your business is and what your brand stands for. Takeaway: Make it a priority to hone your logo, fonts, colors, images, and messages into the consistent design that most powerfully converts shoppers into customers.
- Amateur photography. You may see through poor lighting, stiff expressions, and blurry products, but your customers do not. Amateur photography is a marketing mistake that is definitely damaging your brand because–whether true or not–it sends the message that your business is more of a hobby than a professional endeavor. That damage to your brand could take years to undo, as well as a lost opportunity to showcase the true quality of your products and services. Takeaway: Start saving up for professional photography, an investment you’ll use here and here and here for many years.
- Typos. You’d be surprised how often we spot typos and unprofessional messaging on the websites and marketing materials of relatively large businesses. It is safe to assume that unless a professional copywriter edited your website and marketing materials, there will be mistakes. Even if you’re a great writer with an eye for proofing, it’s nearly impossible to catch your own typos. (No judgment here: Our chief copywriter always needs another set of eyes on her own work too!) For instance, a full-page newspaper ad by the Vermont National Guard misused “its” and “it’s” in ad copy for a major publication. What seems like a minor mistake can leave a monstrously outsized negative impression. Takeaway: At the very least, have someone (or better yet, several someones) proofread your copy for typos and grammar mistakes.
- Being quiet. While some businesses devote considerable resources to “pushing out” their news, specials, and trends, a lot of businesses do not make enough noise about themselves. We get that it can be uncomfortable to toot your own horn (kind of like writing your own resume). But neglecting social media, public relations, email marketing, and more means that new customers are not hearing about you, and past customers may forget about you. It’s a mistake to think that just because your storefront is open or your website is live that customers will flock to you. Takeaway: Your business need to win hearts and minds–and stay ahead of your competition.
- Crappy websites. Your website is your new storefront, and more often than not your brand’s critical first impression. If your web visitors can’t get the information they need easily, they’re not going to stick around. Is your site clear and concise? Easy to navigate? Are you showing up in web searches? Does it smoothly lay out a path for visitors to become customers? If visiting your website leaves visitors feeling frustrated, they’re going to associate that emotion with your brand. Takeaway: Investing in a well-designed site is a necessary investment in your business’s future.
Are you making any of these marketing mistakes? Take steps today to remedy them one at a time. Hire a professional photographer or visual designer. Ask trusted colleagues for feedback on where your brand could use some polishing. Reach out to a marketing firm for a proposal. We love to see good companies investing in good marketing so businesses can prosper!