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Top 5 Marketing F*ck Ups & How to Avoid Them

Even the most experienced business owners can be seen making missteps usually reserved for novice entrepreneurs. Anyone who has the guts to start a business deserves their share of kudos, and if you have made any of these ill-fated moves mentioned below - fear not. It's never too late to recognize the weaknesses in your business and pivot accordingly.

Let's break down a few common (and for a marketing nerd like me, cringe-worthy) mistakes below:


Assuming You Know Your Audience

Imagine for a moment that you've got a stellar business idea. Whatever the business is (tour guiding company, travel agency, etc) you should not (and I repeat - SHOULD NOT) put the cart before the horse. I know you're excited. I get it. Can't sleep at night? Me neither. Despite our mutual excitement, it's critical to take a step back and research accordingly. Who are your potential clients, consumers or users? It can't hurt to devote a few hours to a Sherlock Holmes level of deep diving on the internet.


Think you know who they are already? Mistake #1. I see business owners who insist they know who their clients (or target demographic) are but then are troubled by a lack of sales. In reality, they knew who their clients were, last quarter, last year, or last week - but not today. Being open to new audiences is crucial for any existing business with goals of increasing (or even maintaining) revenue. Don't know where to begin with your research? Hire someone who does.


Getting Stuck in Design

Gorgeous brand kits and mood boards can inspire and eat away at the day (hello Pinterest!) and establishing an aesthetic for your business is important. I strongly recommend a set of basic brand guidelines for any business (be it large or small) but I'm not here to talk about the merits of Helvetica vs Times New Roman. In fact, it can be easy to spend far too long hunched over your laptop trying to commit to fonts for your website. It's important to remember this is not a face tattoo. In other words, you can change it at any time and start fresh. Pick a look and aesthetic that feels right to you, consider asking for a second opinion from someone you trust (pick an individual who isn't going to be your 'Yes Man') and then move on.


Sending the Wrong Vibes

The voice of your business is crucial to attracting your clients, followers, and even staff. Not simply in the written copy, the overall tone of your business can include things like photo selection on your website and social channels, layouts of newsletters, and the creation of paid ads. Is your business sophisticated and elegant? Quirky and fun? Raw and edgy? The style in which you communicate may either draw in or repel potential clients. It's crucial that you show the 'real you' (kind of like online dating!) in order to find that perfect business-client match.


Inconsistent Communication Style

Remember the old adage 'Too Many Cooks in the Kitchen'? Keep that in mind if there are too many 'marketers' in the mix. Often in a small (or disorganized) business, there can be multiple people contributing to web content, managing social media, and writing promotional copy. This leads to an inconsistent brand voice, thus reducing your chances to properly attract your ideal client. Consider creating Brand Voice Guidelines. Similar to a guideline for your aesthetic, this guide would focus on the tone and messaging - and streamline any communication that was created, regardless of who was behind it. These guidelines may include writing templates, focus keywords, a mission statement, and more.


What's in a Name?

Your name doesn't have to be award-winning or come from an earth-shattering moment of marketing genius. What it should be is clear, and make sense to you (and hopefully the end-user). Before you go get business cards printed, do a quick URL search using a site like Go Daddy. You may have the perfect name picked out only to find that someone else owns the URL. Then, take to Google and do a few searches of your name and similar versions. Are there any existing companies with similar names or websites? What will people find when they google your name, or something similar? The last thing you want is to pick a name for your business, only to find an existing business in your space (or completely unrelated) with a similar name already. Why create additional competition for yourself when you don't have to?


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