Starting a business is no simple task—there are often few or no guidelines to follow, the risks are usually high, and the pressure is always on. Despite this, while most entrepreneurs consider digital marketing to be an incredibly important part of success, only a precious few consider receiving formal training in the subject.
As a result, startup marketing campaigns tend to range the entire spectrum from brilliant success to disastrous failure. However, even the finest marketing campaigns can suffer from crippling—and entirely preventable—problems if they are not approached correctly. This article will take a look at the some most common mistakes that entrepreneurs make when launching their campaigns.
Mistake number one: Vague goals
Far too often, entrepreneurs rely on pouring some money into a digital marketing campaign and working on great content only to later complain about not being successful enough. Only much later does the realization dawn that, “success” was never properly defined from the beginning. Where do you want this campaign to take you? Do you want to get your name out there and attract investors, or immediately start turning a profit?
Often, entrepreneurs claim that setting too strict a goal limits their flexibility in the marketplace. This couldn’t be further from the truth. A flexible, adaptable marketing plan has a clear goal and offers many different means of reaching it. The more concise your plans are, the better you will be able to react when the unforeseen occurs.
Mistake number two: Ineffective representation
It’s normal to have faith in your product. You know it better than anyone else and you’re understandably excited about what it can do. All of those millions of customers you expect to have, however, don’t know anything about your product and often can’t be bothered to find out about it.
As a result, it’s on you to represent your product in a simple, effective, and faithful way. Simplicity means letting the customer know what to expect and advertising the value that you’re offering him or her; don’t make your customer’s life complicated. Effectiveness means getting the product in their hands successfully and without incident, and being faithful to your product means delivering on its promises—if you promise to deliver a pizza in 5 minutes, nobody is going to be happy with having an Angus steak in half an hour.
Mistake number three: Not measuring success
By far one of the most common mistakes made by otherwise successful entrepreneurs is not having the foresight to measure the means of their success. Your future does not rest on the results of your first digital marketing campaign—it rests on the results of a lifetime of marketing campaigns. If you take the time to measure and analyze the effects your marketing choices have, you will be better equipped to reproduce successes and avoid failures in the future.
One of the benefits of digital marketing is that you have access to almost instantaneous results by using split tests. Test your methods frequently and conclusively to understand the mechanics beneath your success.
Mistake number four: Bad budgeting
Bad budgeting comes in two basic forms: overspending and underspending. Both of these two are equally damaging to your business’s ability to succeed, so take the time to plan ahead and create a comprehensive budget for digital marketing. Remember to include hidden costs and most importantly, create a budget that includes predictions for the next three months or even longer, depending on your specific needs.
Don’t worry if your budget predictions end up being completely inaccurate—that’s normal. What’s important is that you continuously monitor and adjust your expenditures to compensate. Any potential investor is going to want to see evidence of good budgeting on your part, so put in the work to keep your spreadsheets organized.
Mistake number five: Spreading too thin
While some marketers suggest entrepreneurs start small and scale their businesses upwards, many marketing professionals suggest that startups and new businesses should jump on as many platforms as the budget allows. Operating multiple, parallel marketing campaigns to get business started as quickly as possible can show quick results, but can also be risky.
If you find yourself drawn to the growth hacking camp, keep in mind that even if your budget allows for quick expansion, you may still find yourself spread too thin to be effective in any of the markets you are attempting to penetrate. Don’t be afraid to spend some time improving the effect of your campaign on the people who it has already converted.
About the author:
Blair Strasser is a business and marketing enthusiast, also Founder and CEO of eMerchantBroker.