Hitting a wall in your marketing results? Avoid these common marketing mistakes.
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One of the tell-tale signs of gaps in your marketing, is feast and famine results, or results that are not predictable. I experienced quite a bit of this in the early days of my business–most business owners and entrepreneurs do.
Here’s the good news… none of the mistakes I’m exploring are irreversable. In fact, with a little planning and the willingness to take action, you can course correct.
1. Tactical Thinking and Doing
There’s a reason you’re a business owner and entrepreneur… and you chose to break out of the mold of being an employee. Employees do, business owners and entrepreneurs create. Employees do by thinking and acting tactically.
Successful business owners and entrepreneurs think strategically, then act tactically.
Strategy is the why + where + who:
- Why you’re creating what you’re creating.
- Where you want to go, or your big vision.
- And, who you’re serving or your ideal most profitable customers.
When you’re thinking strategically and acting tactically, you’re driven by these three things. They become your reference point.
When your thinking and acting tactically, you’re focused on the what and how. Or, what do I need to do and how do I need to do it—the wrong reference point.
Think of it this way.
Strategy knows the destination and maps it out. When you take the road trip, you get there. Tactical thinking loads up the car and drives, hoping to get to where they think they should go.
Or, think of a dot-to-dot drawing (one of my son’s favorites). Strategic thinking has a vision of the picture they want to draw, the creates the dots to create it… and does it. Tactical thinking, throws a bunch of dots on the page and tries to figure out how to connect them to draw the picture.
Here’s the problem with tactical thinking. Inefficiency is the enemy of real success.
If you don’t understand the why, where you want to go and the who (your ideal most profitable customers), everything you do is like casting a net in the ocean, hoping to catch fish. A tell-tale sign of this in your business is feast and famine results. Which is a catch 22, because you end up going from launch to launch, campaign to campaign like a politician.
The best way to correct the path on this is to create a big vision business map that outlines your big why and where you want to go along with each step on that journey. And, creating your ideal, most profitable customer profile so you truly understand the who of your equation.
So those three parts of the equation, the why, where and who—become your reference point for everything you do. You end up thinking strategically and acting tactically, to achieve your big vision faster and smarter.
2. Not Identifying and Understanding Your Ideal, Most Profitable Customers
Most business owners and entrepreneurs focus on quantity, rather than quality. They see a stadium full of people and try the bullhorn approach to getting attention. And, the smaller your business, the more detrimental this is to your marketing results.
They key to turning this around is to identify your ideal, most profitable and to create a marketing plan for them.
Bill Cosby once said, the surest way to failure is to try to please everyone. This is a huge problem in marketing.
A sure sign of this is the be everywhere strategy in your marketing.
Think of it this way, its the difference between visibility and opportunity.
Visibility is the art of investing resources and time in as many marketing strategies and places as possible… And, ultimately you end up being mediocre at all of them.
Being in the right place, with the right message, to the right people creates opportunities.
And, increases your success.
I always illustrate it like this:
Visibility and the “be everywhere” strategy is like standing in the middle of a stadium full of people and using a bullhorn to get their attention.
The problem is, there are many other people standing by you who are offering the same thing, with their own bullhorns, shouting at the same crowd with the same message.
The best and really only way to get on the right path is to identify and understand your ideal, most profitable customers.
3. Not Designing and Understanding Your Ideal Customer Journey
Most marketers call this your customer lifecycle, profit path, customer sales funnel, etc.
I call it your Ideal Customer Journey, because that’s what it should be—a journey or experience.
Here’s the difference. When you see your ideal, most profitable customers as cattle you’re herding to a destination (like becoming a lead or sale), you make marketing decisions based on an overly simplified understanding of the real journey customers take… and you miss big opportunities.
I teach my clients to think of it as an Ideal Customer Journey, one that is not linear, simple or as straight forward as you think. You’ve seen the sales funnel analogy, upside down funnel that moves people from awareness to lead to sale to more sales… The idea is that you move people in, through and out.
But, in reality, the process is less linear, more complex and requires greater consideration of factors that influence your customer.
Sales funnel thinking views three major steps: before sale, sale, after sale.
A customer journey should involve thinking about seven steps, each with its own considerations:
- Opportunity (or targeted reach)
- Being Relevant (or lead generation)
- Resonating (or nurturing)
- Expectations (or converting the sale)
- Excellence (or exceeding expectations and up-selling)
- Amplifying (or getting 1:1 referrals)
- Velocity (or building a street team)
Mapping out your ideal customer journey is like having a panoramic view of the experience your customers will go through so that you can maximize your conversions and profitability and minimize the rest.
4. Not Optimizing and Testing for Smarter Decisions and Better Results
This one is a big challenge for us to correct, especially for solopreneurs and smaller teams. The challenge usually lies in not seeing the value of investing resources or time, or not being able to do it because the business and marketing itself is not leveraged with best practices, processes and systems.
And it’s really a catch 22—you’re already so busy with running the business, launching, and working hard to get the sale—time for this seems non-existent. Not doing it, keeps you in the same cycle of feast and famine results.
Here’s the deal, with everything in your business, the best first step is to just take the first step.
And, you don’t have to do it big, to see results and start to shift your marketing to smarter decision-making.
For example, here’s the process I take clients through—that leads to starting small in optimizing and testing—so that, at least you start.
- We go through the process of mapping out the why, where and who I mentioned before. This is truly the starting point to self-correct many of the marketing mistakes you’re making—including this one of not optimizing and testing.
- Next, we design and map out the ideal customer journey—every step and path your ideal, most profitable customers would take from opportunity to lead to sale to referrals to becoming a part of your street team.
- Once that is mapped out, at the top of each step we outline the factors that maximize the possibility they will move to the next step. These are the positives at that step in the customer journey that contribute to them moving to the next step. Social proof, credibility, simplified forms, guarantees on your sales page, etc.
- Then, on the bottom of each step, we outline the frictions that minimize the possibility they will move to the next step. These are the negatives at that step in the customer journey that contribute to them saying no or hesitating. Price, no guarantee, not a compelling lead generator, negative reviews, etc.
- Once you have the customer journey and what motivates them to action and what keeps them from action—you now know what’s important to focus on at each step to measure your success or failure. For clients who are just starting to optimize and test, I tell them to pick one metric of measurement at each step to start—the easiest being a friction that keeps people saying no or hesitating.
- Once you know what to focus on and measure, you’ll know what you need to do to get it done.
There are three important things to remember when you’re optimizing and testing:
- Consistency is the most important. You’ll become more efficient at it, which means you’ll do it.
- Start by focusing on things that directly impact the quality of your leads and the conversion rate of your sales. So, we always start people in three areas of their customer journey, optimizing who they target, optimizing how they capture the lead (or get that initial action taken beyond simple engagement) and optimizing the point of sale process. From there you can branch out.
- Don’t micromanage and analyze the numbers, optimizing is a long-term game. Start with one test—like testing types of email headlines. Test it enough, to be confident and keep a record over the long-term about your testing and optimizing for each point so that you’re continuously learning.
A little planning and consistency and you can do it.
5. Mimicking Rather than Modeling Best Practices
This one is tough, we all face this challenge—I have and anyone who is honest with themselves will admit to this.
Mimicking happens because of wanting someone else’s success, so you do what they do thinking you’ll have the same success. It happens when we’re unclear about our own genius and our own marketing. It happens because out fear because we’re insecure about our own value in the marketplace. And, it happens innocently, out of overwhelm because we obsess about our competition or we simply don’t recognize it happening.
The problem with mimicking is really the same bullhorn scenario I mentioned before.
In a stadium full of people with you and your competition all using bullhorns, saying the same things, with the same website, same copy, same offerings… It all looks the same. You position yourself as a commodity.
Your competition says, I’ll teach you how to create a six-figure business and beyond. You say, I’ll teach you the secrets to creating a multi-million dollar empire.
In reality, if I go to each of your websites, take off your headshot, your hyped copy and put it at bare bones—I see the same cookie cutter picture.
How do I choose or compare?
Smart business owners and entrepreneurs start with the right reference point—your why, where and who. They also model best practices but unleash their genius in a way that is uniquely their own. Mimicking says, “I want to be as successful as so-and-so, so I’m going to do exactly what they do, get in front of their audience and make it happen.”
Modeling best practices says, “I see what’s working among my colleagues, now I’m going to use it as a reference point but always check it against my vision (your why), what I want to achieve (your where) and my ideal, most profitable customers (your who).”
I could literally do a whole show about this. We’ll save that for another time.
Be sure to let me know about your a-has, comments or questions. Leave a comment in the show notes or reply to this email.
Until then, onward and upward,