No one calls us when marketing is running perfectly. So when we meet with companies struggling with their marketing, we see common mistakes that most business owners are unaware they’re making. It’s easy to make mistakes and there are way more than are listed here. However, the problem is that the following issues take additional time to set right, causing more frustration with marketing and increasing the time until ROI is satisfactory.
Issue 1 – Inconsistent Investment in Marketing
We meet CEOs who were unable or unwilling to fund marketing consistently. Every marketer knows that their job is one of the first to get cut during an economic or business downturn. Sadly, marketing is seen as unnecessary and sometimes other departments, like sales are protected, with the thinking that sales people will always pay for themselves. Yet a 2010 Harvard Business Review study proved that companies that spend on marketing come out ahead of their competitors when the economy improves – which is completely counter-intuitive. That same study found that companies that responded to a downturn by cutting back fared the worst.
A different but related issue is that there is inconsistent investment or focus on marketing. This could be because you lost staff, business priorities prevented you from focusing on marketing or you didn’t see the results fast enough so you terminated the tactic.
We know how difficult it is to keep staff and its one of the reasons companies turn to an outsourcing model like ours. Results are dependent on many variables – do you have a good strategic plan? Are your tactics integrated to keep campaigns running long enough to see success while ensuring you’re reaching your audiences on every channel over time? We talk about these issues elsewhere in our blog and the message is to keep consistent, stay the course, don’t cut back and seek expert advice if you have doubts about any of the above.
Issue 2: The Website Has Issues You Don’t Know About
Companies often make a website project more difficult and prolonged than it needs to be. We hear about website projects that last 18 months or longer. And this is in our small to midsize market. We believe a good website can be built in 3-5 months, and we have experience to know what steps complicate and what steps ensure success. So, when we audit a website and find issues, many CEO’s are frustrated and don’t want to attempt another website. Which is completely understandable. We spend a lot of time auditing a website because it is the first place your prospective customers will go to learn more about you. And, the reality of digital marketing is that your marketing campaigns will push new prospective customers back to the website. It needs to be perfect from a copy perspective, a technology perspective and a usability perspective.
We see issues with inconsistent or long copy. Mobile sites force us to select each and every word carefully. Essays are no longer allowed! Another copy issue is that the claims made about the company and its products or solutions are not supported with quantifiable facts, making your site forgettable and lacking in credibility.
We see a myriad of technology issues. And none of them are visible to the naked eye and would require software to scan your site – or someone very knowledgeable and detailed to audit it. Common problems are out of date software, lack of tagging necessary for SEO success or issues with how the site or site map are loaded. Perhaps there is too much unnecessary code.
Finally, usability mistakes occur when content is unnecessarily gated so no one reads it, or your sales collateral is not available in PDF or your site map is just too complicated and important content is buried too many clicks into the site.
Issue 3: The Social Media is Not Smart
We see 2 common issues when we audit social media accounts and both can be traced back to an issue with the marketing strategy. The first is that the frequency is inconsistent with what is required for the channel. If you’re going to commit to Twitter, plan for 3-5 posts per day. If this seems unachievable, consider another channel like LinkedIn (as long as your audience is there) which doesn’t have the same requirement. Companies that haven’t posted in months are also an issue and probably leads back to issue #1 above.
The second issue is that social media is all self-promotion. No one likes that. We always tell our clients that social media is like being back in high school. Share content that is thoughtful and shares your experience with your audience. Contribute thought leadership, not ads. Follow influential contributors in your industry and learn from them. Test your content and make sure its relevant and of interest.
A good social media strategy backed by knowledgeable and talented staff can ensure you don’t make either mistake.
Contact us if you would like an expert opinion on addressing these mistakes, and any other concerns you might have about marketing.