How to Avoid the 8 Most Common Startup Marketing Mistakes

Running a marketing campaign can be somewhat challenging, as you don't yet have the data and experience needed to make all the right decisions the first time around. In fact, in many ways you might be pioneering a new marketing position or type of plan that is specific to your niche or industry. Plus, chances are you'll run into your fair share of mistakes and oversights along the way.  With that said, here are the eight of the most common marketing mistakes made by startups and what you can do to avoid them:

1. Lack of Lead Targeting

Lead or audience targeting is the act of putting your ads in front of people who are inclined to be interested in the content of your advertisements. Proper targeting will increase conversion rates and other crucial metrics by putting your advertising budget towards the prospects that are most likely to convert. There are many ways to practice lead targeting, but most startups tend to get it wrong at least a few times. If you've been noticing that your ads are returning unimpressive conversion rates, you may want to learn more about lead targeting before proceeding.


2. Settling for Low-Quality Content Creation & Distribution Services

You might have heard the saying “content is king” before. The fact is, there's no getting around the need for quality content in any online marketing campaign. Your brand will be largely represented by words or videos on a screen, so it makes sense to invest in the production and distribution of high-quality content and media. Likewise, you need to be guest authoring on authoritative blogs and sites in your niche, so it's best to network using comprehensive distribution services. After all, there's no sense in paying for the development of top-notch content if you're not going to have it posted on a worthy site.


3. Excessive or Unjustified Ad Spending

When you first start marketing a startup, it can be easy to feel like you need a generous advertising budget to get the ball rolling sufficiently. While a liberal budget can certainly help you achieve your goals, one of the most common mistakes is dumping too much money into an ad campaign too quickly. Before you start pouring funds into ad creation and posting, try to set precedence and find a strategy that appears to be working so you can scale up based on legitimate justification rather than the simple approach of spending as much as you can afford as quickly as possible.


4. Poor Site and Landing Page Preparation

Another major mistake you see made by many startups is failing to utilize quality web design services for their site or landing page. There's no point in having great content and an effective marketing plan if you're not going to have the site aesthetics and functionality to match. While this can be easily fixed by hiring a better team of developers to do a site overhaul, it’s better to avoid poor web design altogether if possible. Alternatively, there are many extensions for content management systems (CMS) like WordPress that make it easy to design landing pages and other web pages.


5. Lack of Analysis-Based Process Refinement

In marketing, every change and adjustment should be based on an analytical conclusion of some sort. Lack of data-based decision-making is easily one of the most common fundamental mistakes made by startups as managers and owners look to expand quickly without leaning on any sort of statistical precedence. To make sure you're not making this mistake as well, you'll want to become familiar with a web analytics suite and platform like Google Analytics. This will give you access to the site and keyword data needed to shape your marketing campaigns into more efficient efforts.


6. Lack of a Strategic Marketing Plan

Going through with a marketing campaign when you have no solid plan is never a great idea, and yet so many startups do exactly that on a daily basis. Developing a strategic marketing plan is something that can be done in the course of a few hours and will provide tremendous value for your company going forward. With this simple agenda laid out, you'll have a set of specific goals, deadlines, and approaches lined up and ready to deploy. Creating your first official marketing plan may seem difficult at first, but once you get a hang of the process, you should be able to draw up a strategic marketing plan (SMP) in no time at all.


7. No Unique Selling Proposition (USP)

Your unique selling proposition (USP) is essentially the one thing that fully separates you from the competition. Do you even have a USP already? Failure to clearly set aside or indicate a clear USP is easily one of the most common mistakes made by startups in all industries. Oftentimes, a company will have a great USP but they don't do a good job of highlighting it within their marketing material. If you have no clue what your USP is, then you'll need to start with that before you take care any of the other steps on this list.


8. Not Focusing on the Customer's Needs

Finally, another common mistake made during marketing campaigns is overlooking the actual needs of your customer base. Is there a specific feature that most of your prospective customers would love to have but other competitors aren't offering yet? In essence, you need to find a way to fulfill a need that isn't adequately being filled by another company. This has a lot to do with designing a good USP, but it's also about knowing what your customers need and how they need it done.


Marketing Doesn't Have to Be Difficult

Ultimately, with so many marketing courses and free lessons available online, there's really no reason why every startup manager can't become a highly proficient marketeer within a matter of weeks. It's certainly an aspiration that's worth your time and dedication when you consider all the advantages it can provide for your startup.


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