5 Expensive Marketing Mistakes to Avoid at All Costs

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Have you ever made brownies and forgot to spray the pan? It’s the worst! 

After smelling them bake and looking forward to indulging in their chocolatey gooey goodness for 35-40 minutes, you can’t get the brownies out of the pan. Your invested time, energy, and a whopping $ to turn your sheet pan into an excavation site. The brownies are yummy, but they’re nothing like they could have or should have been

Haphazard marketing or trying a random marketing technique that was successful for someone else is like making brownies and forgetting to spray the pan — you might get some traction and some increased engagement, but nothing like you could or should have with an intentional marketing strategy

Marketing requires time, energy, and money — much more than $5. 

In an effort to help you “grease your brownie pan” when it comes to marketing, we identified five expensive marketing mistakes to avoid. Avoiding these five marketing mistakes will help you increase conversions, stop second-guessing your marketing, and maximize your influence. 

Let’s get to it!

1. Making Assumptions Instead of Taking Intentional Action

At Carter and Custer, we believe that data tells a story

It tells us what content our audience is engaging with, when they’re engaging with it, and the return on investment. Posting content and running marketing campaigns doesn’t have to be a shot in the dark — in fact, it shouldn’t be. 

By tracking the following seven metrics, you and your team will be able to serve your audience more intentionally and with the confidence that you’re investing your marketing budget in the right areas:

  1. Click-Through Rate. This metric reaches across all of your platforms — social media, landing pages, website, emails, and linktree. You’ll get valuable data on which call to actions, web pages, and social media platforms are working.
  2. Session Time. This data should include Bounce Rate. In other words, you’re learning which pages your audience click on once they reach your website and how much time they spend on each page. 
  3. Customer Engagement. This metric tells you at what point people become uninterested in your sales funnel. You’re discovering when your subscribers stop opening emails or start opting out all together.
  4. Website Traffic Sources. This data answer the question, “Where is my website traffic coming from?” From this information, you’ll learn which social media platforms, influencers, and marketing campaigns serve your brand best.
  5. Social Media Engagement. This information will help you know which content you should create more of based on what is already resonating with your audience.
  6. Customer Retention. Customer retention tells you two things: whether or not your marketing represented your offer well and if your offer is truly helping your audience reach their goal. Knowing how long your customers stick around or participate in the program they purchased from you speaks volumes about your marketing and product quality.
  7. Marketing Return on Investment (MROI). This can be broken down into several essential metrics: cost per conversion, cost per lead, and ROI on the entire marketing campaign. Understanding these numbers will help you more strategically budget for future campaigns.

Most buried dreams are the result of someone giving up too soon. The reality of marketing is that navigating algorithms and internet shifts can feel next to impossible. You may have applied a successful strategy to your marketing that didn’t work because it simply needed tweaked, not because the method was broken. 

Tracking your data allows you to test and update your marketing based on current performance results. More importantly, tracking your analytical data can help you play the long game so that your dream doesn’t end up buried because you gave up too soon.

2. Not Knowing Your Audience

After introducing yourself to someone you just met, what’s one of the first things you ask them?

“What’s your name?” Right?!

We want to know who we are talking to. Next, you probably find out what they do for a living or if they have kids. In other words, after you know someone’s name, you look for common ground — something you can relate over. 

Not getting to know your customer or defining your customer is a super-expensive marketing mistake. When you know your audience and customers, you can find common ground with them and tailor all your content and marketing to them. 

Instead of being another person selling another product, you can make your audience feel seen! This connection will allow you to serve your customer well, which usually creates raving fans and loyal customers.

If you don’t know your audience or haven’t defined your customer yet — some people call this an ICA, Ideal Client Avatar — here are five steps to get you started:

  1. Identify current customers or content consumers. Who already follows you on social media, is subscribed to your email list, and reads your blog posts? Who has already purchased what you offer? 
  2. Narrow down your previous list. Identify your current audience that is the most engaged and most likely to purchase. Then, specify their age, occupation, annual income, daily habits, and shopping routines. Pro Tip: If this step feels daunting, identify a customer from your “most engaged and likely to buy” list that you love working with or serving. Identify customer specifics from there. Don’t forget that your preference has a seat at the table throughout this process.
  3. Name their goals. What are the people already in your orbit striving to achieve? Where are they trying to go?
  4.  Identify their challenges. What are the people in your sphere of influence struggling with in relation to their goal? Why are they NOT getting where they want to go? BONUS QUESTION: Why might they not purchase from you?
  5. Identify how you relate to them. In the same way, you look for common ground with someone you just met, you need to find common ground with your customer and audience.

Identifying your audience equips you to serve with more clarity and confidence because you’ll know what content is relevant to them. Instead of hoping and praying your audience likes the blog post you spent hours writing, you will be able to create content that you know, with confidence, will help them. 

Creating high-value content that serves and converts your followers starts with knowing who your audience is.

3. Putting Your Social Media Presence on a Pedestal

Have you ever announced a get-together with a Facebook event, and people you hoped would come didn’t show up because they didn’t see the invite or weren’t on Facebook? It happens all the time! 

You might be thinking, Okay, so send a text or email invites. Better yet, invite guests in person.  And we agree! Email, text, and in-person invitations to an event are important parts of getting your guest list to the party, but they’re also incredible and often overlooked marketing tools.

Social media is fantastic — it’s basically free advertising. 

But before social media, marketing happened by word of mouth or paid advertising in newspapers, TV ads, and billboards. The challenge with social media making marketing so accessible is that many people forget about marketing tools that very often have a higher return on investment. Here we want to highlight three:

Tool #1: Email marketing

319.6 billion emails are sent and received daily. In other words, email marketing isn’t dying, and, more than likely, it’s here to stay. Average ROI for email is $42 for every $1 invested, and some top performers report achieving an ROI greater than $70 per $1 investment. So, email marketing is a successful strategy, but it’s also great for businesses’ bottom line. 

Tool #2: SMS marketing

How many times a day do you check your phone? Too many to count, right? And how many of your texts do you open and read? Our guess is 100%, and you’re not the only one! 

That’s why text marketing, while not a free marketing platform, tends to be a very successful strategy. The data says that the average open rate for emails is 20%; on the other hand, the average open rate for text message marketing campaigns is 98%. Don’t miss out on connecting with your audience via text!

Tool #3: Investing in a relationship

Digital marketing understandably leads when it comes to marketing strategy; however, providing a quality, high-touch experience to current and potential clients can make you unforgettable. A thank-you note sent by snail mail, a personalized direct message on Instagram, or a celebratory package upon completion of a program could yield substantial dividends in various ways. 

  • Increase your referrals and social media mentions. Showing off products and brands we love on social media is more than a trend these days. Sending a thank-you note via snail mail or a package gives your current customers an easy opportunity to show you off while clearly communicating that you value them.
  • Increase your sales. Forbes wrote, “According to the book Marketing Metrics, the probability of successfully selling to a new customer falls somewhere between 5-20% while the probability of selling to an existing customer is 60–70%.” By investing in your current customers with a thank you note or celebratory package, you’re increasing the possibility that they’ll buy from you again!

Social media is a powerful marketing tool, but it can’t replace good old-fashioned practices of acknowledging another human being. No matter how digital your marketing campaign is, you’re relating to humans, not a bot or another computer screen. In what ways can your brand think outside of the “digital marketing box” and help your audience feel seen?

4. Skipping Best Practices for Mobile SEO 

You know the sinking feeling you have when you approach traffic and gradually watch it slow you to a dead stop? No one wants to be in traffic like that — ever! Cue Waze, the GPS app that routes you around stopped traffic!

There’s such a thing as stopped traffic online, too. It’s called the second page of a Google search. 75% of Internet users never scroll past the first page of search results. The good news is that there’s a way to route around it. Instead of a GPS app, you can route around this stopped traffic by utilizing SEO best practices. 

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization and is achieved by positioning your content for the internet to recognize as solutions to what people search for online. Leveraging SEO in your content includes a myriad of strategies, but we’ve found that these three work best:

  1. Strategically use keywords and phrases that people search on google in your content. This allows the search engine to match your content with what is searched and offer it as an answer.
  2. Regularly share content with strategic keywords and phrases. The regularity of your content is where you compete with other organizations for higher ranking on google search pages.
  3. Optimize for voice search. More and more people are using voice search devices such as Alexa as well as their smartphones. Furthermore, optimizing for voice search could provide a competitive advantage because 62% of businesses aren’t doing this yet.

If internet users can’t find you, you are missing out on sales, and they’re missing out on the goodness you bring to the world. Leveraging SEO is what we specialize in — it has been our privilege to help countless brands move to the first page of Google and expand their impact and influence. 

5. Allowing Sloppy Mistakes

Have you ever been surprised by finding raisins in what you thought was a chocolate chip cookie? It’s so disappointing! 

Not optimizing your website for mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets and sharing visually unappealing content is like putting raisins in a cookie instead of chocolate chips.  

Over half of website traffic occurs on a mobile device instead of a desktop or laptop. You may have a very polished and professional-looking brand, but you’re losing valuable clicks if your site is not mobile-friendly

The first marketing mistake we covered in this post was tracking data. Part of the data you’re tracking is time spent on any page. If your website isn’t mobile-friendly and someone looks you up on their phone, they probably won’t spend much time on your site.

Furthermore, it’s estimated that 90% of all information transmitted into and through the brain is visual. Additionally, the human brain can process images 60,000 times faster than plain text! That means you can communicate a lot more and faster with well-designed visuals (btw, visuals are not limited to graphics and most certainly include video!). 

Having a mobile-friendly and visually appealing brand is vital to capturing and retaining attention. Our client, Gusto, knocks this out of the park. Even though Gusto provides a vast array of information and services, they carefully maximize their user experience on desktop, mobile devices, and social media by ensuring their presence is mobile-friendly and visually appealing. This allows Gusto to invite their audience into a calm and clear solution instead of driving them away with overwhelm caused by sloppy mistakes.

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