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7 Marketing Mistakes That Startups Should Avoid

AllBusiness.com logo AllBusiness.com 7/10/2017 Mike Wood

Marketing is the lifeblood of any startup, but it’s not always a walk in the park. In fact, marketing mistakes are often unavoidable, especially in the early stages of your business. While there is no surefire method to marketing success, there are plenty of mistakes you can avoid to improve your chances of building your brand.

1. Hiring an in-house staff early on

Being careful with spending and staffing is extremely valuable, especially early on in your company’s development. What you don’t need are any superfluous expenditures when you’re just starting out, and that’s exactly what an in-house marketing staff would be.

It’s more cost effective to hire freelancers, interns, or even an external agency. While a high-value in-house staff might seem like it gives you the best chance of making yourself recognizable, it might just as easily bankrupt you too.

2. Avoiding a website

In this day and age, you must have a website. Most consumers are going to search for your products and services through a search engine before they ever communicate with you directly.

RELATED: How to Build a Website That Gets Results

If you don’t have a website, you may lose a potential client to a competitor who does. On top of that, a website can be a direct line of communication between you and a potential customer. And websites are no longer tedious or expensive to construct. There are plenty of cheap web hosting companies like GoDaddy, Wix, or Weebly that can get you started.

3. Not employing an SEO strategy

Just having a website isn’t enough. Search engines (most notably, Google) are significantly more likely to rank your website higher on relevant queries if you have the right SEO strategy. This includes adding keywords to your content, titles, descriptions, and title tags, while also delivering well-written and useful content.

Don’t know how to insert keywords into your website’s code? There are plenty of online tutorials to help you along the way. Employing the right SEO strategy will get more eyeballs to your website in a shorter amount of time.

Young man gesturing made a big mistake © bagotaj-Fotolia.com Young man gesturing made a big mistake

RELATED: SEO Is Not Dead: Why SEO Must Remain Core to Your Digital Marketing Strategy

4. Ignoring your strategy’s status

Knowing the status and effectiveness of your marketing strategy is almost more important than the strategy itself. If you’re not studying analytics, measuring sales volume, and evaluating your pay-per-click ads, then you might as well not have a marketing strategy at all. By studying this data, you can find out what works and what does not and make changes accordingly. Marketing is not a static endeavor. Indeed, it requires long-term attention and care to roll with the evolution of your business.

5. Advertising to the wrong audience

If you do not understand your audience, there is a good chance that they will miss what you have to say. Finding the right marketing channels to reach an audience that connects with your brand is vital.

Also, focusing on only a single channel may reduce your exposure to another audience that might find your products and services useful. To put it simply, find the avenues that are most likely to get you a return on your investment.

6. Not using blogs effectively

For starters, every business should have a blog on their website to continually refresh content and connect with potential clients. But, there are plenty of other ways to utilize blogs (even if you do not have your own). Guest posting is a hugely successful marketing strategy that is woefully underutilized. Getting a guest post on another popular blog is a great way to drive traffic to your company’s website.

Another tactic you can use is leaving insightful and worthwhile comments on other blogs or news articles. Again, this is a surefire way to drive traffic to your own website. It’s also free and doesn’t take a lot of time to complete.

Regardless of your strategy, blogging must be part of your overall marketing strategy.

7. Focusing too much on competitors

While it’s never a bad idea to take a look at a competitor’s marketing strategy, you should never try to mimic it exactly. Potential customers will inevitably catch on to or get bored by the similarities, and you will not be able to cultivate your own unique voice.

Beyond that, your competitors (even if they are established businesses) do not always have the marketing magic touch. So, study what others are doing and take notes, but do not neglect innovation and new ways of thinking.

Marketing is hard, but it’s often the only way to get your small business startup off the ground. The more you avoid mistakes, the better chance that you will succeed.

RELATED: 5 Smart Marketing Tactics You Can Borrow From Big Businesses

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