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Done right, marketing can be engine that drives your business success. Done wrong, and you can wind up spending a lot of time and money with little to show for it.

But that doesn’t mean you should ignore marketing altogether. According to CB Insightsas many as 17% of failed start-ups can trace their failure to poor marketing.

To help you get started, here are some common marketing mistakes every start-up should avoid:


Making it up as you go along. Not creating a marketing plan is by far the biggest blunder a start-up can make.A marketing plan describes who your customers are and how you will target them to achieve your goals. 


Trying to appeal to everyone. Who is your target audience? If you answered “everyone”, think again. Creating a marketing strategy for “everyone” is not smart business as it means you are potentially wasting valuable time and money trying to sell to people who are not interested in your service. Take the time to identify your target audience: understand who your customers are, how to reach them and how to engage them.   We discuss the value of knowing who your customers are in this post


Not delegating. As a business owner, you have enough to do without trying to be a marketing manager too. Call in the experts. Creating your website, designing leaflets, writing blogs – the more you delegate, the better you can focus on your core business.  Learn more about how to free up your time by creating a team in our article.

Chasing competitors. It might be tempting to do exactly what your competitors are doing, in the hope that this will win over their clients. But a better strategy is to recognise what your competitors are doing and learn from them. Find your competitive advantage and use it. 

Choosing the wrong channels.It’s easy to become overwhelmed by the number of marketing channels out there and think that you need to use them all. The trick is to focus on the channels your target audience is using.  For example, unless your target market is under the age of 35, you shouldn’t be focusing on Instagram. Email marketing, on the other hand, produces the highest returns on investment than any other marketing channel – 91% of consumers check their email every day


Not measuring results. How can you know what’s working and what’s not unless you measure? By measuring everything you do, you can learn what’s hitting the mark and apply that to your future marketing activities. For example, if your letterbox flyer prompts lots of enquiries, you know it’s worth dedicating a bigger portion of your marketing budget to letterbox campaigns in future. 

Not asking for help.Nobody knows what it’s like to market a start-up like other business owners. Go to online forums like Flying Solo and join groups on LinkedIn, ask questions and join in discussions, we covered off some options in our post about business advice – you’ll be amazed how many people are happy to share their mistakes and successes. 


A Final Piece of Advice


Marketing is a marathon, not a sprint.You might have some quick wins with your activities, but chances are you will need to wait before seeing the results you want. Create a plan, measure and learn as you go, and the rest will follow.


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