8 marketing mistakes new businesses make - Patch

8 marketing mistakes new businesses make

Common marketing mistakes new businesses make and how to avoid them

At Patch we’ve seen, prevented and solved the same common marketing mistakes for over ten years. When it comes to starting a new business, marketing can be a minefield: we’ve shared the most common mistakes new businesses make and how you can avoid them yourself.

Targeting ‘everyone’

You want as many new customers as possible, right?

When launching a new business, it’s all too tempting to target anyone and everyone with your products and services but honestly, little good can come of this. Generalisation isn’t a great tactic and it’s almost impossible to effectively target differing demographics with the same message. This is likely to result in reaching more people with a diluted, poorly targeted message and may cause you more harm than good!

Instead, you’ll need to be aware of who your target audiences are from the get-go – this gives you valuable insight into who you’re targeting with what and how you can be different to your competitors. Why would this particular type of person choose your business over another?

Before we begin any marketing project, we ensure that we know the target market(s) inside out and use this to fuel all future activity.

Choosing the wrong channels
In a similar vein, the wrong audience usually leads to the wrong channels: you can’t identify where to find your prospects if you don’t know who they are. And sometimes, even knowing your audience doesn’t mean you’re choosing the right channels.

Email? Social? SEO? With so many available, how do you know which channels are right for you?

Digging deep to understand your target markets is key to identifying where to target them and the typical buying journey they will take. For example, if you have a new product range designed for millennials in a highly saturated market, you’ll probably decide that social media is the way forward. Facebook isn’t likely to do much for this market, so you choose Instagram. You prioritise feed posts to save time and get launched, but your targets are spending their time on influencer’s reels.

Choosing the quickest channels – or even those you know best – isn’t always the best way forward. You might not be an SEO expert, but if you identify that your target markets start their buying process with research using Google, you’re going to miss a trick by ignoring it. Try not to rule out marketing disciplines because you don’t know them well – you might find that they’re the best use of your budget.

Insensitivity for reach
As a new business, reaching as many people as possible and being memorable might be the goal – but do it right.

You might be tempted to create a social media storm to get your brand ‘out there’ and remembered by creating something controversial, but this rarely works out for the best.

Remember when Pepsi got Kendall Jenner to demonstrate how the fizzy soft drink could put an end to police brutality? The brand ended up condemned by the likes of Madonna, leaving Miss Jenner feeling ‘so f***ing stupid’ – let alone Pepsi’s marketing team. Let’s not even go there with the numerous ‘beach body ready’ campaigns from brands who are feeling the effects of a generation of ‘cancel culture.’

Ultimately this is subjective – what comes across as insensitive to one person may seem funny or genius to another. At Patch we tend to avoid anything political as a rule, depending on what we’re working on and with who.

Poor tracking and budget management
A common marketing mistake for new businesses is poor budget management – especially within services like pay-per-click marketing (PPC) where there is real opportunity to maximise or waste budget with your keyword choices. Once again, large reach might appeal but if they’re not the right people, it kind of doesn’t matter – and you’re going to use up your budget on window shoppers, those with no purchase intent or people who aren’t actually interested in your products or services whilst your target markets choose competitors with more effective targeting.

We’ve created a guide to Google Ads for SMEs, or you can check out Google’s recommendations and resources on how to maximise your PPC spend and get the most out of your campaign.

Measuring the wrong KPIs
To gain a solid understanding of how your marketing activity is working, you need to know what to measure. It’s all well and good to see all your stats in green, but it’s not much use to you if you don’t know what it means.

When it comes to SEO metrics, you’re likely to immediately think of rankings but there is much more to it: different industries have different search landscapes. You’ll need to be thinking about search verticals, conversion and bounce rate and more. For social media, your objectives will determine key metrics (are you looking to engage or acquire?) and so on.

As soon as your website is up and running, you’ll want to implement Google Analytics for insights into how your website is working for you, what your visitors are doing and where your traffic is coming from.

Speed over value
Much like our Instagram reels example earlier on, fast isn’t always effective (in fact often, it isn’t effective at all). As the famous Chinese proverb states, “the easy road leads nowhere” – and boy, ain’t that the truth.

Don’t choose activity because it’s quick and easy, choose it because it’s right. Filming a few reels or TikTok each week will take more time out of your schedule but if that’s where your audience is, you can expect much greater ROI.

Ignoring conversion rates
‘We’re getting more traffic!’ – great, but are they buying anything?

If your goal is to get in a load of web traffic regardless of who they are and whether they’re interested in you, great, box ticked (note we would advise against this and would expect any other decent marketing agency to, also) – if you want to know whether the right people are finding you, look into your conversion rates.

When you set up Google Analytics, include goals so that you can monitor their conversions. This might be newsletter sign-ups, reaching a checkout page or clicking a button to find out more info. If you’re working with SEO, you can also use Google Search Console to see how your search results convert.

Forgetting about existing customers
As a new business, we know you might not have tonnes of customers yet… but for when you do, think about how you’re going to retain them. Don’t focus so hard on new biz that you forget about your existing customers. Whilst acquisition may be your priority, retention should be pretty high up there, too (depending on the types of products and/or services you offer.

Are you a start-up trying to stand out? Get in touch with our experienced team of digital marketers for a chat – we’ll put the kettle on.