Before reading this blog post, I want you to first think about this: On a scale of 1 to 10, how did your marketing efforts perform in the past 12 months? 

If you have a smile on your face thinking about it then you must be doing something right (cheers to that!). Now, all you have to do is remain inspired. I’m sure there will be more bright ideas coming your way throughout as you go along your entrepreneurial journey! 

If you rated your efforts a 5 or less, don’t worry. There will always be chances to tweak and improve your strategy. But before you jump right into thinking how you’d like your business to turn out in the coming years, I need you to reflect first. In this moment, don’t focus (yet) on your next step. Instead, look back in the past couple of months and ask yourself what hasn’t worked. 

Don’t worry as this happens—sometimes even to those who’ve been in this field for years! Remember: Failures are GOOD, no matter what anyone says. I personally believe that your greatest mentor is failure as it helps you grow and learn. 

That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try to improve though. That’s why I compiled a list of 18 things that your business might need so you can scale to the next level! In this article you’ll find the first 10 marketing mistakes I see/hear all the time. In part two you’ll find the following 6. If this series sparks something in you – reach out to me by emailing ( stephanie@stephaniesmolders.com ). I’m here holding space for your success. 

Marketing Mistake #1: Limited to no online engagement

When you don’t engage, you won’t connect. This emphasises the “social” in social media marketing. Nowadays, people often look more towards the person and the story behind the brand. They look for authenticity and the usual sales posts won’t work. 

How to fix this: Make it a point to always show 👏 up 👏. Schedule in your calendar to go online and interact with your community, even if it’s just for 15 minutes per day. 

Marketing Mistake #2: No Unique Selling Proposition

How can your brand stand out from other businesses? Think about it. It’s great that you have a planner business but there’s at least a THOUSAND other entrepreneurs who offer the same thing. Give the customer a reason to buy YOUR product over the other ones offered in the market. 

This can be your planner having a journaling section when the usual ones in the market only allows weekly planning and scheduling, or maybe your packaging gives it a more handmade feel that gives it a different unboxing experience. Sit on it and brainstorm all the reasons why they should choose you. 

How to start with setting up your USP today: Make a list of the pros and cons of your product/service. Now, think about why they MATTER. How relevant they are in solving your target customers’ problems? One way you can do this is to rate each feature from 1 to 10. The first two features will be a part of your USP. 

Track results! Who knows, you may be amazed with what you’ve achieved.

Marketing Mistake #3: Not tracking results

Yay, you’ve made countless sales over the year! But have you noted them down? It’s great to see your bank account filling up but if you’re not keeping an eye out on your actual growth then chances are you won’t really go beyond what you’ve achieved in the past year. 

But this goes beyond just accounting and sales. Seeing how far you’ve come will give you perspective on what you’ve done right and what needs improving. These results are a MUST when reflecting on where your marketing is headed towards and it can serve as a guide for creating your strategy for the upcoming year. 

How to track your results starting today: Get a project management system and set up a section where you can include strategies you’ve done and the results. This can be as simple as tracking it in Excel file. If you want it to be fancier, I recommend creating a board on Trello dedicated to tracking your results. The tile for each card can be the strategy itself and the details can include the timeline, who it is assigned to, and maybe a screenshot of the results. 

Marketing Mistake #4: Hiring people to do your marketing without understanding it first

One of the marketing mistakes that most businesses don’t think they’re making (or don’t know that it’s a mistake). It’s great that you’ve finally tapped someone who has the expertise but you should still have some grasp on marketing as it will affect all other parts of the business. 

Your marketing strategy can affect your sales strategy, your product development and even your administrative duties. Marketing is the core of a business as its main purpose is to reach out to your target market-which is also how your business will earn revenue. 

How to start learning marketing: If you’re still unsure what to think of or how to do marketing, you can always join my Facebook group. I often do live videos and post news and updates about marketing! 

Marketing Mistake #5: No marketing plan

While a great product or service is what makes people come back, your marketing strategy is what will attract them in the first place. If you’re just constantly releasing new products without even taking into account what’s doing well, what the market wants, the time you schedule your posts, it’ll be unpredictable what will work well for your brand in the future. 

Your marketing plan is what will direct your business towards the path you’d like for it to take. And like what’s stated in the previous point, it will affect other sectors of your business. 

How to create a marketing plan: Start listing all your business goals. Where do you envision your business to be three years, five years, or a decade from now?

Marketing Mistake #6: Targeting everyone

When you target everyone, you target no one. Believing that your product is for ALL is one of the biggest marketing mistakes you can make because the reality is that it isn’t. 

Your rose-scented perfume won’t fit younger women who prefer the smell of fruits. Your leather luggage bag won’t be bought by someone who delights in quirky backpacks. You won’t fit everyone’s tastes and that’s why it’s important to look instead to those who will. 

Create marketing plans and products on what THEY would like and not what fits everyone’s lifestyle and preferences. 

Marketing Mistake #7: Lack of research

One of the marketing mistakes that business owners commit is not doing market research. While it’s important that you’ve focused your time in developing your offers, research can help you gain insight on your competitors and why they’ve captured your target consumers’ attention and can give you insight into your customers’ pain points. 

Want your new venture to be successful? Research. It’s the best way to understand the market.

Looking at people’s buying patterns and the industry’s current trends will give you some hints on how you can make your offers better so that they stand out. 

Marketing Mistake #8: Not looking at your competitors

I personally believe in community over competition but it won’t hurt to see what similar businesses are doing. If it works for them, that means they already connected with your target market too. 

Learning more about your competitors is one of the major parts of marketing research. Find at least three businesses who sells the same types of products and list down strategies and trends on how they market and brand their product. Now, think of how this can be applied in your own business. This way, you’ll be applying things that make your target audience click while still staying true to your message. 

Mistake #9: Looking too much at your competitors

I know this contradicts the previous point but keeping an eye out on your competitors every waking second won’t do the trick. While it can help to study what works well for them, implementing everything they do won’t help you stand out in the market. 

As stated in the previous tip, make sure you only pick ones that you feel will work with your branding and what you offer. 

How to find the right balance: When you feel like you’re comparing yourself to others and it’s affecting your mental health, the best thing to do is to unfollow or block these accounts. Remember that you only followed them for research purposes, and not for them to make you feel uninspired or inadequate. 

Mistake #10: No website

Walk inside a mall and you’ll notice that a well-designed store draws in the most visitors. New business owners make the marketing mistake of believing that they can promote their products simply through social media. I believe it can be done, but you’ll have to be great at sales in order to pull this off. Or you already have a warm community who is ready to buy from you. Either way, having a website will up your expertise status and make it 10 times easier for your clients to believe in you/your product and buy from you. And that is what we want right? 

Display your brand personality and connect better when you have your own space online!

It’s not always easy for people to simply hand out their hard-earned cash to someone who’s on the other side of the screen. So make it as easy as possible and invest in a website. It doesn’t need to be fancy or expensive. 

Bonus Mistake!: No professional domain

This also goes hand-in-hand with having a website. Imagine going to a site with “yourcompany.wordpress.com”. Will you trust that business? 

There are some who don’t give a damn about your domain name but Google cares. There’s always a chance that you’ll also lose customers who believe that you’re a more legitimate business with a “.com” domain. You may even opt for a domain that has your country’s code but this depends if you want to target a local over an international audience. 

How to get a .com domain: There’s a lot of providers online and most of them will walk you through how to set up your domain. 

Well, that wraps up part 1 of this article. 

And yes, there IS a part 2 (there’s 6 more things you may not be aware of)! I want to give as much value and to guide you through all the ways you can improve your marketing. 

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