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10 Marketing Mistakes Startups Make

Marketing mistakes that should better be avoided by startups.

Startups require a lot of effort, resources and collaboration to get them off the ground successfully. There very beginning is a fragile state for any new business and there is no room for mistakes to be made, your execution must be flawless.

Of course, being human, our lives and our actions may be plagued with mistakes – it’s in our nature. Alas, we live and we learn and we can learn from other people’s mistakes too.

You want to hit the ground running, and get straight to work. We are here to help you do just that, and avoid making those crucial faux pas that can make or break your startup marketing strategy.

1. Not Doing Thorough Research

Marketing mistakes can be avoided through careful research.

With knowledge comes power, that’s why research is your best friend. Start with the SWOT analysis and Porter’s 5 forces, then figure out your cost of operations and research your ideal consumer.

Not doing proper research can be a costly mistake for any business, big or small, new or old. When you are prepared and have gathered the vital information, you will be more inclined to make the right choices that will benefit your business.

When it comes to marketing doing the proper research allows you to acknowledge the weak-points of your audience. Your marketing campaign will be that much more effective when you know what appeals to your consumer.

Now this brings me to the next point.

2. Marketing to Everyone

Some startups cast too big of a net and attempt to attract everyone on the market. That is sadly another mistake that should be avoided. You cannot effectively appeal to all the people out there. You must focus your efforts on the few that are the best candidates for your product or service.

Setting your sights on the specific demographic will help you appeal to them more effectively. It’s much easier to find “pain points” of a few and target them than targeting the pain points of the entire population.

When you are a startup, your resources can be rather limited.  Focusing your marketing efforts and resources on the specific audience will have the greatest ROI for you.

3. Choosing the Wrong Channels

There are a variety of marketing channels out there for you to utilize. With so many choices, might be hard to make the ideal decision on what channel or channels would be most effective for you.

Again this goes along the previous points I have covered. Looking into your audience and finding out where they have their eyes glued to. It may be various social media platforms, banner ads, newspapers or magazines, TV advertisements, or even billboards.

For example, social media has become one of the most prominent marketing tools for businesses in the last decade. Most businesses incorporate social media marketing because of it’s immense audience. Now which social media platforms may be most effective will be up to your audience.

Other marketing channels may also have to be incorporated but how you execute your strategy will differ – based on your target demographic.

How to Create a Social Media Plan Social media has swept across the digital marketing world. See how you can implement the best social media plan in your marketing strategy. READ MORE

4. Spending Too Much Time On Brand Perfection

Focusing too much on perfecting your brand in the beginning may be too time consuming and can lead to a waste of your scarce resources. Many startups change their name or their brand message once or twice before they find something that sticks.

Investing too much of your energy into the brand image at the very start can be costly. Your primary focus should be on your product or a service you offer and letting people know about it through marketing. Branding will come into play once your product has gained some traction with the consumer.

Get your product out there and listen to how the consumers respond.

5. Not Gathering Feedback

Feedback is essential for any startup. Helps you adjust and amend mistakes.

Listening to your customer’s feedback is one of the most effective ways to improve your product and gain consumer trust. Being a startup, you may still face imperfections in your product or a service that you and everyone within the organization may have overlooked. Feedback is essential for ironing out those faults that you may have missed with those watchful eyes.

Include a feedback box or a questionnaire on your website, or a an easy way for consumers to reach out to you. You want the feedback process to be as accessible and painless as it can be to your users.

You don’t always have to wait for feedback to come to you. Make an effort yourself to reach out to your customers and ask them questions. Be proactive while gathering information and continuously strive for improvements.

6. Going In Without Goals

You need to have expectations of your business and for the people within. Those expectations lead to accomplishing goals that will help progress your startup forward. Set your sights on goals for the future. Having something to work towards will help everyone stay on track and stay motivated.

Create short-term and long-term goals for your startup. Goals help you understand why you do the things that you do, and what to look forward to.

Short-term goals motivate, give sense of accomplishment and long-term goals are big picture objectives. Long-term goals are the culmination of short-term goals that you accomplish along the way.

Think about S.M.A.R.T. goals

S – specific;

M – measurable;

A – attainable;

R – relevant;

T – timely.

7. Being a Copycat

Marketing relies on creativity and the ability to find new methods of attracting valuable attention. Avoid mimicking your competition too much, it can quickly backfire and you will appear unoriginal in the eyes of consumers.

Your competitors and their actions may provide you with some valuable marketing strategies, but refrain from copying them too much. Stay true to yourself and implement a marketing strategy that is uniquely your own. Being a copycat won’t make you stand out, in fact it can make you look like a knockoff.

8. Expecting Instant Results

Marketing results need time to accumulate. If you expect instantaneous results after implementing a new marketing strategy, you may be left disappointed. Especially when it comes to digital marketing and cultivating a solid online presence, you will need to dedicate some time to see it pay off.

Remember, just because you don’t see instant marketing gratification, doesn’t mean you’re doing things wrong. You will need to stay consistent, and continue to engage your audience. As a startup, people may be reluctant to give their money to you at first. Establish yourself as a trustworthy company, be personable and educate your audience. In time you will see consumer trust grow.

9. Not Analyzing Performance

Marketing analysis is crucial in maintaining a marketing campaign and validating it’s effectiveness. Your startup needs to be aware of all the costs associated with your marketing and if it’s generating the necessary awareness to benefit your startup. Without analysis, you can’t gauge your strategy and can’t make the necessary changes to your marketing efforts moving forward.

When looking at digital marketing, you have plethora of tools at your disposal that allow you to gather data and see what strategy gathers most attention. Your blogs, websites, social media are all marketing channels that are able to extract vital data through analytics to help improve your marketing.

Use data to your advantage. Like I have previously mentioned, knowledge is power. Data will help you maintain an edge with your marketing and help you make the right improvements for any future marketing campaigns.

10. Doing Too Much Yourself

Avoid doing too much by yourself. It can be ineffective long term.

There is a saying – “if you want things done right, you do them yourself”. Of course there is a lot of truth to that, but that is not always feasible. Sometimes your shoulders just can’t bear the weight you put on them.

Doing too many things yourself can put a lot of strain on you, and can actually adversely affect the integrity of your startup. Find trustworthy individuals to bring onto the team and if necessary outsource some tasks to freelancers and other agencies.

Now Get To Work

What’s left for you to do now is to focus on your startup and keep working hard. Take this advice into consideration to improve your marketing efforts and get the most out of your marketing resources.

Your budget may be tight, and you want to be sure anything you implement will pay off in the long run. When it comes to marketing, you want to start off strong and keep the momentum going. Avoid these mistakes and your marketing campaign will surely bring great results.


James is one of EvergreenFeed's content wizards. He enjoys a real 16oz cup of coffee with his social media and content news in the morning.

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