Brand and marketing specialist Jamie Thomas lists the cardinal sins that many business owners commit when it comes to marketing. Take heed or repent at leisure!
The ability to effectively market your business is key to delivering a stream of qualified leads to your door and ultimately determines the level of your business success. A study by Yankelvich Consumer Research, NY, suggests that the average consumer is bombarded with between 3,500 and 5,000 marketing messages per day, every day. Therefore the challenge to be heard above all others increases daily. In such a crowded space costly marketing mistakes will inevitably occur. So for all you sinners out there, here are the seven deadly sins that many business owners commit. How many ‘sins’ are you guilty of?
SIN #1: LUST PLEASING THE MASSES (OR GETTING INTO BED WITH EVERYONE)
“If you try to be everything to everyone, then you’re nothing to no one!’ Too many business owners still target the mass market with too general a message.
The misguided belief is that a wider reach with a broader message should produce better results. Cast your ‘net’ wide and reap the rewards? The trouble is the rules have changed!
Today the smarter strategy requires targeting a specific market niche that shares similar needs and wants. By selecting targeted channels where your best customers are more likely to listen, you’re able to create messages that speak directly to and solve your customers’ problems. The big-picture goal? Dominate the market gradually and build up your niches. So, resist the temptation to jump into bed with any old customer; be selective and start playing hard to get!
SIN #2: GLUTTONY OVERDOING IT WITH YOUR CONTENT
Content is the new king. Business owners who understand how content marketing can help build their business’s profits are often guilty of overindulging in the type of content generated as well as the quantity of platforms they use and the frequency of their postings online. Resist the temptation to create content for content’s sake while blitzing your client database. It’s both a sin and a crime against your brand. Always abide by the first marketing commandment: make all content relevant, engaging and useful and you won’t stray from the path.
SIN #3: GREED OR PUT ANOTHER WAY, BEING SELFISH
Are you always focusing on yourself and never on your customer? ‘Not knowing your audience’ is a business owner’s classic cardinal sin. Absolve yourself. Put yourself in your customer’s shoes and brainstorm campaigns that target their specific interests and problems. Don’t be greedy and just promote your product or services. Share your unique IP in a way that resonates with your audience. Entertain and educate first, then learn about the best ways to reach your audience.
SIN #4: ENVY IS SOMEONE DOING ‘BETTER’ THAN YOU ARE? OF COURSE THEY ARE
There’s always someone doing better than you are. The likely reason they’re more successful is that they’re working smarter than you are; that’s to say you’re not ‘leveraging’ your time and bringing in qualified leads. A golden rule of marketing? Get your message out to the market. With only 24 hours in any day, duplicating your messages and attracting leads using new technology and practices is smart marketing. Don’t get left behind in Biblical times. Get up to date!
SIN #5: SLOTH LAZY, LAZY, LAZY YOU!
Do you always play it safe? Do you adopt a ‘wait and see’ approach? Do you simply follow what every other business does? This only serves to help you blend into the background. Get up and stand out! Be creative; make some noise and make a statement. How? Publish a unique video, look for a niche, or create a unique online community. Get social or get forgotten. Calculated risks all come at a price, but they’re usually the ideas that generate the most results and ROI. Get busy; get creative; get moving!
SIN #6: WRATH: ARE YOU ANGRY OVER A LACK OF LEADS? ARE YOUR CUSTOMERS ANGRY AT A LACK OF CLEAR DIRECTION?
Aside from needing anger management classes, maybe you’re simply not asking for the sale? Remember, always have a clear call to action for all of your marketing campaigns – tell customers what you want them to do next! Above all, make your call to action stand out.
SIN #7: PRIDE OR AS I CALL IT, ‘ME, ME, ME’ CONTENT
Pride: the most common ‘sin’ or symptom of self-obsession. The guilty are easily identified by marketing copy that harps on that ‘company XYZ has been around for 30 years’, or ‘we’re the market leader’ in blah, blah, blah. You’ve lost me already as a prospective customer. It has no place in your marketing collateral anymore. The problem is we’re all masters at marketing to ourselves, and pride has a lot to answer for! Use the words ‘you’ and ‘your’ much more than you say ‘I’, ‘me’ and ‘our company’. Stress the benefits of what your business offers – focus on how you solve problems rather than telling customers how good you are. Here’s a wake-up call: people aren’t that interested in you, but they are interested in what your business can do for them. Always stress the benefits; don’t sell on features. Customers primarily buy solutions, but mostly they buy benefits and invariably they ‘buy’ how you improve their lives, how you give them more time, and how you solve their problems.
If your marketing makes no reference to any of these pain points, you’re committing the biggest sin of all. Worst of all, they’re deadly for your business. Learn the lessons from these seven deadly sins; change your ways, see the results and see your business thrive!
Jamie Thomas is a brand and marketing specialist at Synkd, a Melbourne-based niche marketing, brand, communications and design agency. He is also co-author of Self-Made – Real Australian Business Stories (Busybird Publishing). For more information, visit synkd.com.au or contact firstname.lastname@example.org.