We are at that magic tipping point of the year when we look back to the past year and look forward to the next year and often we wonder what we should do different (or for many of us, we already know). For businesses, this includes how we market and communicate with our customers. Wonder what you should be doing next year to market/communicate with client? Get some ideas from this list of blunders made in 2008 (explanations of each topic are mine).
1. Failure to have an annual marketing plan. If your business is sitting there waiting for clients or customers to just walk through your door, you’re looking for the wrong result. Customers will continually walk through your door, if you have a marketing plan in place for the entire year. This is what is called a marketing funnel. Get it? Customers funnel their way through your communications in order to buy from you.
2. Product/service will sell itself. Nope. Not anymore. You have to tell people what your product or service will do to make their life easier. They aren’t going to know unless you tell them and they aren’t going to care unless you tell them why they should.
3. Promoting products/services without tracking results. Right now, companies just want sales, but tracking how they make those sales may be the most vital of information. Keep an eye out for methods of making sales. Then rinse and repeat for the rest of the year.
4. Limiting marketing to email methods. Email is becoming one of the most least-trusted forms of marketing, because of the volume clients/customers receive and the percentage of spam mixed in with the real messages. What about direct mail? What about a blog? What about becoming the go-to person in your community for your product or service through other means? Read on.
5. Investing only in advertising. A simple advertising slogan won’t do it. You have to back up your advertising promises with something solid people can count on. This can be your personal reputation for good work, to a specialization in a particular area in that your company is the only one that comes to mind when people are looking for a solution.
6. Ignoring social media outlets. Social media may be a boon for online companies, but don’t disavow yourself from trying it out. Social media is now the way that millions of people communicate, purchase, review, critique, and rate services and products. You can’t afford NOT to look into social media.
7. Slashing marketing budgets and programs. This is a bad idea. With the plethora of affordable and simple marketing programs out there, why not utilize at least one to your advantage. You don’t have to hire a sales rep or recruit your entire staff to follow some marketing program mantra, but you can try a few simple methods that help you and your team realize what works to make money.
8. Failing to understand why people buy. Why do people buy your product or service? Because they want to look good, stay warm, be safe, be more productive, make more money? You need to know and you need to investigate every angle of why your customers and clients buy from you so that you can make better decisions about your focus in 2009 about how to market and communicate to them.
Larry Golden, co-CEO of RSVP Publications writes, “Avoiding these blunders can make for a healthier 2009 for most businesses. By targeting messages toward the right audience, monitoring and participating in social networks and measuring results after each campaign, businesses can demonstrate the all-important return on their marketing investment. And the level of investment in marketing may well be the deal maker or the deal breaker in such a tight economy.”