There’s no shortage of marketing advice at our disposal these days. Does it ever seem like the list of marketing tools and tactics just keeps getting longer? Set aside tactics for a moment. To achieve a successful, sustainable marketing program, start by keeping a few important don’ts in mind.

Regardless of what marketing tools you use, avoid these three marketing traps. Approach your marketing with purpose – your customers will thank you.

1| Be everything, to everyone, all the time.

Take time early on in your product’s lifecycle to carefully consider your target audience. Start with questions, such as:

  • What problem or challenge are you solving?
  • What luxury splurge does your service fulfill?
  • Who needs or wants this product? Do you have multiple target audiences for the same service?
  • Who can afford this product, or who is willing to spend their extra money on it?
  • Does your service fix a one-time problem or an ongoing challenge for customers?
  • Is your buyer an individual or a business?

All of these questions are important as you develop your buyer personas. They’ll also help you plan effective, targeted marketing campaigns that resonate with each type of customer.

 2| Over-promise and under-deliver.

It’s pretty easy to feel let down by companies these days. Disappointed and angry customers abound because of tricky, misleading product labels and marketing messages. Service companies promise to be best in class, and yet “stellar” doesn’t describe the outcome. Unfortunately, many products and services simply don’t live up to their own hype.

The solution? Be authentic. Provide details about what customers can expect from you. Be clear about what your product doesn’t do. Fulfill your brand’s promises. If you’re pitching an expensive luxury service, don’t pretend it’s affordable to the masses. If your service is the cheaper, no-frills solution, own that distinction and market it proudly. If your product is for a quirky niche customer, let your marketing reflect it wholeheartedly. These are called differentiators. What sets you apart from your competition is what will help you market effectively and authentically to your target audiences.

Want to go a step further? Answer people’s questions up-front on your website. Prospective customers appreciate when they can quickly get their questions answered. If they discover that your product isn’t what they need and don’t purchase, you still win – even without making a sale. You avoided an angry customer service call, a returned product, shipping costs – and your honest reputation remained intact.

3| Nagging your customers to drive sales and create loyalty.

There’s a big push these days to engage your audience with content, and loads of it. Whether it’s tweets, Instagram photos, blog posts or email campaigns, hit the pause button. Large quantities of content are only a good thing if they are relevant and not so frequent that they go unread or become annoying.

For emails, let your opted-in customers decide the frequency of marketing messages – daily, weekly, or monthly, for example. This way, your constant marketing doesn’t result in unsubscribes. You can also let customers choose between different categories of content – say, just coupons versus articles with helpful tips.

In addition, use some of those tech tools to ensure your emails and coupons are as relevant as possible at the individual level. Thanks to ubiquitous cookies, systems know exactly who’s browsing for what on your website. How can you use this data to customize emails with targeted images, product recommendations and more?

Remember, your customers lead busy lives and value their limited free time. Don’t send them content that doesn’t relate to the products they’ve purchased or browsed, and don’t waste their time showing them coupons for irrelevant products. Even worse, if your product solves a one-time problem, then your audience probably isn’t interested in building a long-term relationship with you via email. Be respectful of this dynamic.

Rise to the challenge.

The pressure on marketers is higher than ever before. Customers know the technology exists to deliver relevant, engaging, right-frequency marketing. The rest is up to you to be authentic, properly distinguish your offerings and nail the execution each and every time.

 

 

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