Avoid these 6 Start-up Marketing mistakes

How to avoid these top 6 Start-up Marketing mistakes! By Marielle Reussink The EMMS, Marketing for start-ups

We all learn from our own mistakes eventually, but wouldn’t it be nice if you could just learn from someone else’s?

Even the smartest founders tend to make mistakes when it comes to marketing. Fortunately, many of the common ones are completely avoidable.

In this post, I’m sharing the six most common marketing mistakes that I’ve seen entrepreneurs make, so you can avoid making them yourself.

#1 Underestimating your marketing needs

For many founders, a marketing plan starts and ends with: Oh, marketing. Yes, I’ll set up an [insert social media here] page!

That’s it. No budget. No plan.

Let’s be clear: the days of free social media are over! If they ever even existed…

Yes, setting up an account is free, but as any good marketer will tell you, social media takes time - lot’s of time, because your audience is not expecting just any content but good content - and when you’re running a business, juggling 101 things at the same time, time will be a precious commodity to come by.

In addition, especially in the case of Facebook, you will need to invest in paid media to reach your target audience. This is no longer optional. Even really good pages only reach 6% of their followers!

#2 Failing to understand which marketing channels are right for your business  

Just because it’s easy for you to set up a Facebook page, doesn’t necessarily mean that should be your main marketing channel… it may not even be a relevant marketing channel at all!  

It really depends on your business, your goals and who you want to reach. Before you invest time and money into building out your marketing channels, do your research to understand what different channels are good for, and consider experimenting with a few before going all in on any given approach.

#3 Thinking digital marketing is cheap

In the beginnings of the digital marketing age, marketers probably shot the industry in the foot by positioning it as cheap. What they meant is cheaper.

Digital is definitely cheaper than traditional media — but that doesn’t mean you won’t need a realistic budget to achieve your goals.

What is a realistic budget? It depends on who your target audience is, how you can reach them, what you want to achieve and how many people you need to reach to achieve your goal.  

If you don’t have enough budget, you need to realign your expectations and/or your plan, or find a way to raise more money.  

#4 Not knowing who your target audience really is 

I don’t know… Everyone!

These are two most common answers I get when I ask entrepreneurs who their audience is, but neither of them is a valid answer.  

If you don’t know anything about your customers, how will you know that your business adds value or solves a problem for someone? If you don’t know who they are, how will you find them? If you can’t find your people, how can they buy what you’ve got to sell? 

Know your audience, what they care about, what they dislike, and what their pains are. Otherwise, you’ll end up spending marketing dollars on people who will never buy from you. 

#5 Thinking that getting your app or website ready for launch is the hard part 

There are millions of apps and websites… Is your product or service going to sell itself? The work really only begins when you launch, because you need to bring your offering to market.  

Too many companies spend too much of their capital on developing that perfect app, site or product and then find themselves left without enough budget or much of a plan for marketing. Don’t let it happen to you!  

#6 Ignoring the importance of establishing and maintaining your online presence 

For people to find you, you have to put a bit of effort into setting up your basic online presence and keeping it up to date with the kind of content that will attract the right people.

Make sure your web developer has a basic understanding of SEO, or hire an expert to do it for you – this is often where you will see the most bang for your buck. Beyond that, think about all the different places people might search for your type of product or service, and make sure you have a profile set up…. join Google my Business, sign up with digital directories, and setup up the appropriate social media profiles for your business.

By the way, as a business owner, your personal online presence matters too. In the beginning you are your business, so be sure to put your best foot forward and polish your own social media accounts as well!  

Is it time for a new headshot? Do you need to revamp your online bios? Are there any posts buried in your history that might look unprofessional? Take some time to audit yourself now and you could save yourself some lost business or awkward moments later on.

One Last Thought 

If there is one piece of advice that you can take away from these six avoidable mistakes, its that marketing should not be underestimated. It’s increasingly complex and it can be hard to get right, even if you do have a decent budget. Don’t let the challenge scare you off though! With the right strategy, marketing could be what makes your business soar past the competition.

 Good luck!

Marielle Reussink - Founder of The EMMS

Marielle Reussink

Founder of The EMMS, Marketing Professional, Entrepreneur, Investor with L.I.C. & Advisor to Start-ups

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