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10 marketing mistakes you should avoid

1. Focusing your content marketing on yourself instead of the customers is a gross mistake
This applies to your letters, your ads, your business cards, your sales calls and everything else related to your company's connecting with customers. Does this seem obvious? Look through your previous ads and at your ads in the yellow pages. Ask yourself the following question: If I were a customer of this company, would I know all the benefits that this company offers me or is it that they rather focus on how amazing they are themselves?

2. Letting go of the focus and aim everywhere at once is a common mistake

Make a profile of your best customers and focus on them. Find out what kind of problem your product solves for the specific audience you are aiming at and tell them.

3. Not professional looking
All of your marketing materials are selling your business and shows what it stands for. If you hand out poorly printed material that you made yourself or received as cheaply as possible, it tells people that your company doesn't care too much about how it looks. That bad impression scares customers away.

4. Neglecting to test and finding things out before you make your marketing is deadly
It's not enough that you believe in what you advertise or send out letters about it. It's not enough that you guess that the price is right, the packaging is right or that your appearance is right. You must make sure. You need to compare prices, you have to compare journals, ads another, headlines and so on. Test everything.

5. Ignoring your existing customers and focusing only on new ones is an incredibly common mistake
It not only costs more to acquire new customers, it's also more time consuming because you must establish trust all over again. Keep a good address book and sharp ideas on how to keep existing customers aware that you are there for them.

6. Failing to measure the results of your activities is a mistake
There is no point in just keeping on and hoping that everything goes well. Stop and evaluate right away after each activity.

7. If it ain't broke, it doesn't have to be fixed
If your advertising is working or if your direct marketing gives you satisfactory results, don't make any changes just because you're tired of them. When you begin to notice that the results are getting worse, then it's time to look for new angles, not before.

8. Not getting customer names at every contact situation is a big mistake
How can it be that companies that outsource a lot of money on getting customers just let them out of the store /website/office without making sure to get customer names? Those who don’t even bother to keep track of their main customer's names and where they live are clearly not interested in retaining any customers.

9. Not making it easy for customers to buy is a big mistake
If you're making yourself unavailable when the customer wants to order or get information about your product, that signals that you don't want to do business. Ask yourself a question and answer honestly:
What kind of reception do your customers get when they get in touch with your business? Do they meet a nice person who is interested in the customer (even if it's only information he/she wants right now)? Is it easy for the customer to find out if you have a store? Is it easy to find the store? Is it easy to get that kind of information even after business hours through a website or from a message on an answering machine? By making it easy and pleasant to do business with you, you will get many more customers who will return again and recommend your business to their friends .

10. Not being able to discern what it is about your business that will make customers want to do business with you
This is the main mistake you don't want to make. What is your USP (Unique Selling Proposition)? Think about why customers should buy from you. What do they get from your company that they can't get elsewhere? What are the benefits for your customer? What makes your business unique to them? If your company sells the highest quality in the field – make it a big part of your USP. If your business is selling your product at the lowest price on the market - make it a big part of your USP. Most companies are alike. They sell the same stuff at the same prices and during the same business hours and they have the same kind of guarantees. They're all the same. Good for you!

About the author

Stefan Ekberg has worked in marketing for small business for 20 years and has written around 30 books on how small business owners can market themselves with limited resources. . In 2012 Stefan was nominated as Entrepreneur of the Year in Stockholm.

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"The 5 minute marketer" - the book
You run a small business and you want to get ahead of the competition, but how can you give resources to marketing when you're short on time and the budget is tight? The solution is here! The 5-Minute Marketer is packed with 395 tried-and-tested ways to market your business in 5 minutes or less.