Creating a winning marketing plan has nothing to do with outsmarting the competition. It’s not about getting clever with your ads, or redoing your packaging, or being on all the latest social networks.
In order to craft content that your customers will love, you only need to understand one simple thing: what your customer wants.
Understand the process your customers take to get to you, serve them content that helps with that process, and continue to test if what you’re doing is working. Though it seems straightforward, an insane amount of marketers get it wrong by making silly mistakes like these.
The 4 Biggest Mistakes Marketers Make
- Basing strategy on opinion:
As a business owner, forcing a customer to follow your agenda rather than their own is a recipe for online disaster.
A bad web experience lowers a customer’s opinion of you. It makes it seem as if you didn’t bother to ask them the right questions — to find out what they want or need from you.
- Trying to be everywhere:
Too many business owners think that just because a social media channel exists, that they need to be on it. The downfall to trying to be on every single channel—and not doing any one of them particularly well—is that when people do find you there, they’re going to be let down.
Too many marketers think that these online tools are just a digital extension of the brand. But what they forget is that there is a personal aspect to this.
- Guessing at what works:
Marketing needs to be a series of tests. A continual evolution. In order to make your website resonate with customers, you need to examine what the customers think about you, your product, its value, and why they need it.
And you need to use data to inform that process. If you can continue to test that everything you’re doing is working (and adjust when it’s not), then you’re headed in the right direction.
- Trying to close the deal too soon:
I call this “proposing on the first date.” When you’re trying too hard to close the deal, your customers will notice — and it well send them in the other direction. Pestering your customers at every turn — to “buy now” or “download a free trial” — is only going to turn them off.
So now that you know all the things that marketers are doing wrong, here’s what you can do right.
The Solution Is Evidence Based Marketing
Discovering your value proposition—why people buy from you—is critical. Even companies that have been in business for decades struggle with this, because they’ve never been taken through a proper process to understand their differentiation in the marketplace.
At Marketing CoPilot, this is a process that we take people through right at the beginning. What’s your value proposition? Who buys from you and why?
That value proposition is then used to identify your buyer persona. Who is the buyer? What are the obstacles, proof points, or things that a person needs to know in order to make a decision to buy from you?
Answering these questions will lead to a buyer map—the types of content they need from you, and what they want to understand about you before they engage with you.
Once you have that buyer map, you can create a content marketing plan coupled with constant online testing and data analysis. Eventually you can begin automating the process to mine data and understand that.
The businesses that are getting this right all have one thing in common: a really clear articulation of their value proposition. They’re committed to the purpose of why their business exists and why people are buying from them.
Follow Your ABTs—Always Be Testing
You can only win at this game once you get a real sense of why people care about what you do. In the film Glengarry Glen Ross, the famous line is “ABC—always be closing.” But this is a dangerous game to play in marketing. In marketing, you should always be testing—ABT.
We’ve had clients who thought their value proposition was simple. They put it on a home page, and nobody clicked where they wanted them to click. Nobody downloaded what they wanted them to download.
There was a time when they would’ve looked at their marketing person and fired them. This is still a common reaction. But the real winners online realize that marketing is a constant series of tests.
To develop a culture of testing means you have to have an assumption and willingness to sometimes get it wrong—and a plan to change it up when you do.
The sad truth is that many people don’t want to take the time to do this. They think that it’s time consuming, and they just want to get a new website or an email marketing campaign or the latest social media channel. But what they don’t realize is that by taking the time to do this, the output is just so much better.