Stop trying to do more.
We see it every time we kick off a client project; every time we do an audit. It’s everywhere and too many people aren’t aware of it. Repeat after me: you are trying to do too much with your marketing. This means different things for different companies. Here are a few examples and what you can do about it.
Expecting high returns
Somewhere along the line, the pressure on marketing to provide trackable results surpassed logic in some cases. Sure, with technology you can track almost everything. But for most small to mid-sized businesses the time you spend tracking and analyzing that data is cost-prohibitive. Social media can work without tracking it to a specific sale.
Recent example: A blog or two a month with some Facebook posts didn’t directly correlate to any new customers over the past four months.
What to do about it: Learn the tools used and find a partner who is going to help you build a realistic plan. Organic Facebook posting only reaches a portion of your audience. If the goal is to really grow your customer base, you’ll need to pay for higher reach. For most companies, thinking of social as a customer service and engagement tool is a much stronger strategy. As your content engages your audience, word-of-mouth and referrals should also increase.
Too many outlets
First it was Facebook, then Twitter and LinkedIn. Now your company is trying to do Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat, and something even I don’t remember. That’s on top of your email marketing, direct mail, tradeshow, and blogging efforts. The number of outlets needs to relate to your resources.
Recent example: A small company with only one marketing person was responsible for updating three social media outlets, coordinating monthly direct mail campaigns, and sending three emails a month. She found tools to make scheduling easier, but didn’t have any systems in place for tracking results.
What to do about it: Take a step back and really look at where you get engagement. Ask yourself a bunch of questions as it relates to your business model. What do people talk about the most? Is it the direct mail or does it never get past the mail room? Is it your email or have open rates dropped? How strong is the audience on each channel anyway? Do they even fit into your core target audience? The more you understand how your business succeeds and the audience that helps you get there, the easier it is to focus your efforts on the right channels.
Saying too much
It’s great that your business has six strong value propositions, but fitting all six into one sentence or even an introductory paragraph is like singing a song without taking a breath. Not only have your chances of successfully getting a message across failed, your audience is lost and can’t remember the first two sentences. And if you’re still holding your breath, the same rules apply.
Recent Example: It might give it away if I used any specifics here. You know the type.
What to do about it: Segmentation is key. Know which messages apply to which audiences and where they are engaging with your brand. Within each segment, prioritize what matters most and makes the biggest difference in their decision process. Use hierarchy to put those messages first and filter down to supporting stories and facts.
Solutions. Customized. Good customer service…. You know the drill. Everyone defaults to these comfortable words that help describe what they do in general terms.
Recent Example: We’re a customized technology solutions provider for small to mid-sized businesses in the Baltimore area.
What to do about it: Know how you provide value that resonates with your audience’s pain points. Go old school and pull out a thesaurus. What are other words that more carefully describe what you are trying to say. Poll your audience and ask them to describe your business. Pay careful attention to what words they use.
In the End
If you only take a few things out of this article, let it be:
- Really know your audience and what they care about
- Focus on a few key outlets that resonate with them
- Make sure company expectations are reasonable
- Craft a unique, meaningful message