Marketing can seem like a massive task and it’s easy to start making mistakes when you’re ill-prepared. To get the most out of your marketing good planning, knowing who your audience is and using the digital tools to your advantage are all important. We’re going to take you through four marketing mistakes that let people down. And hopefully, by the end of this article, you can start to change those behaviours or learn something new to help you market online successfully.

Lack of planning

It’s easy to just go hammer and tongs at marketing, being excited and enthusiastic is great but detailed planning is better. If we fail to plan we can very quickly become stuck. With disastrous effects. You could end up with disjointed social media feeds, newsletters that don’t reinforce your brand and an identity that doesn’t represent you the way it should. It also makes it nearly impossible for colleagues, staff or outside vendors to get on board with creating a strong, coherent brand and identity.

So how do you combat a lack of planning, in the simplest terms… plan. It takes time, to begin with, but the results you’ll receive are guaranteed to improve your marketing tenfold. It only gets quicker when you do it frequently, putting learned formulas in place. Setting some time aside for your marketing, be that an hour a week or a day month, gives you the opportunity to produce campaigns and content that drive results.

Get yourself organised by having spreadsheets in place with three weeks worth of content ready to go. Be that for social media, newsletters or an advertising campaign. Use the free tools online to save yourself time and effort, for example, use a social media scheduling tool such as Buffer or Hootsuite to get everything ready to go weeks in advance. By doing this you give yourself time to edit and change your marketing without the stress and lack of foresight.

Not knowing who your audience is

We all like to think we know exactly who our audience is. But without proper research, knowledge and data to back that up, we just don’t. Knowing your audience informs everything you do whilst marketing. You need to make sure you’re targetting the right people, at the right time. If you don’t it could end up being a waste of time and effort. Not to mention you won’t achieve the results you truly desire.

When studying who your audience really is you need to think about several things. Like demographics, are they male or female? What’s the age range you’re targeting, is it 20 to 30-year-olds or maybe it’s 40 to 60-year-olds. Maybe if you’re selling local or targeting a local audience you need to know what area they come from. You may also want to think about their interests.

All of this helps you target and hone in on your ideal audience. For example, there’s no point targeting someone with adverts designed for a younger audience that like cats if that audience, in fact, is older and likes dogs. Once again it will just be a waste of your time and their time.

Think about where your target audience might be on their customer journey. Are they looking for inspiration and aren’t quite ready to buy yet. Maybe they’re researching the product they want to buy and perhaps you can provide them with some information about it. Or are they ready to buy and need a little help being pointed in the right direction?

No idea what your goals are

When we do anything with marketing we need to have clear and measurable goals. Otherwise, how do we know if we’re getting the results we desire. So what goals could you be aiming to achieve? Well, the list is almost endless but it could, for example, be things like website clicks, sales, email signups or membership. It’s a good idea to have a good think about this before you start any marketing campaign.

It’s not only important to know what your goal is. It’s also important to set out how you’re going to measure if you’re achieving them or not. So, for example, website clicks could be measured by checking your website analytics and seeing where people have clicked through from – is it your email campaign or have they come from another route? Email signup could be judged by the number of people you’ve had signed up since your campaign started. It’s the same for sales, using the right tracking and analytics enables you to see where people have found you and when they’ve purchased from you.

Unwilling to learn from your mistakes and adapt

Sometimes your marketing doesn’t exactly go the way you wanted to or you didn’t achieve the goal you set out. That’s okay. It’s important to remember this is all a process. It’s important to look at the data in front of you and analyse where you might have gone wrong. Ultimately we should adapt. Be that using new technology, discovering new platforms or changing tack with your campaigns. If you start to learn from your mistakes and adapt to them you’ll be in good stead.

Have you found yourself making one of these four marketing mistakes? What did you do to rectify it?