very scary marketing

The 4 Scariest Marketing Mistakes That Service Providers Make

If you’ve been lurking around my blog a while, you know that I’m a girl who always looks on the bright side.

You may not know that I’m also the girl who brings true crime books to the beach.

I’m the marketing consultant whose website is covered in bright pinks and highlighter yellow. I’m also the woman who researches ghost tours whenever she travels and argues with friends that Jack Nicholson’s performance in The Shining totally ruins what makes Stephen King’s book soooo gooooood.

Friends and clients are often surprised to hear that I love scary movies. And that October is my jam. The temperature finally starts to dip (hello, sweater weather, I’ve missed you!!) and there are plenty of new and classic horror movies to stream as every channel vies for our Halloween attention.

In honor of my favorite season of spooky, haunted, slasher flicks, I wanted to share four of the scariest marketing mistakes I see service providers make in their small businesses.

Avoid these mistakes like you would avoid any masked man brandishing a butcher’s knife.

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Focusing on acquisition over retention

As a business owner, you should be able to at least roughly calculate the cost of acquiring each new client.

You should also be able to determine the lifetime value of that client—what you can expect to make from them over the course of your working relationship.

It’s easy to lose sight of ever reaching that coveted lifetime value, however, if your main focus is on collecting clients instead of doting on the ones you already have. Fortunately, I think the focus on acquisition over retention is a panic response, and that means we can stop, call it what it is, take a deep breath and choose to respond differently.

Many of my clients have had more success spending their marketing dollars on their existing clients than on acquiring new ones. Remember, if you treat your clients with kindness and respect, and you provide them with nonstop value, you are increasing the likelihood that they will actually introduce you to your newest clients!

Prioritizing Social over Sales

Many service providers come to us with questions about how to increase their impact on social media. But very few of them actually connect social strategy to sales.

How is your social media influencing your company’s ability to bring in new clients, to make sales online, to further serve your existing clients? Don’t spend time on social media channels that won’t make you any money. It’s not a good use of your very limited time.

Prioritize the networks that your best-fit clients spend time on. Learn to show up generously and efficiently on that network. Make sure the moves you’re making lead to new connections with actual humans interested in your work and what you have to offer. Don’t get caught up in vanity metrics like follower counts or likes.

Did you start a sales conversation with a real live person today? That’s your social marketing win.

Looking for perfect over progress

I’ve talked about it before, but I often see small business owners stuck in a cycle of procrasti-branding—working to perfect their logo or tagline or color palette rather than start doing the actual work their logo or tagline or colors will represent. This happens a lot during web design or copywriting projects especially.

It’s always better for business to go for “good enough” and get to work serving your clients than to tweak, nitpick and obsess over “perfect.” Perfect doesn’t exist.

You can always make improvements in your business, and you’re going to evolve and change as years go on anyway. Make a commitment now to start before you’re ready. You’ll thank me later.

Choosing a general audience over a niche one

I’m working right now on Target Audience Profiles with my students at Denver University and St. Mary’s LEAP program.

Getting specific about your target audience tends to make everyone nervous. It often feels like narrowing your focus to one individual is limiting your potential to scale your business or to impact as many lives as you hope. But in actuality, knowing more about your typical client allows for deeper connection with that client, better chances of obtaining and retaining their loyalty to your business, and increased word-of-mouth marketing to more of your ideal humans.

Not only that, once you have a well-defined audience in place, you can better establish yourself as the go-to expert for that group of people. You’ll be able to step into their shoes and create content and experiences that resonate and inspire, educate and provide value.

Brainstorming will be so much easier, believe me.

Finally, rather than work from a place of “what you want to do,” you’ll serve from a place of “what they need from me.” And that’s a powerful way to show up in the world.

Find your Perfect Niche

My free worksheet will help you show up powerfully for your target audience — not by asking what you can do but by asking what they need.

OK.  BE HONEST. Which of these scary marketing mistakes are you making in your business right now? 

And how can I help? I’m instituting a monthly “coffee & a marketing tip” day where I’ll offer quick and easy marketing consulting to those of you facing marketing challenges who need help figuring out where to start. Free of charge, and no judgment—we’ve all been there!!

Sign up for one of my first openings in November, and I’ll tell you the smallest, easiest next step you can make toward solving your problem!

I strategize, consult and manage digital marketing and communications for small businesses and creative entrepreneurs. I’m based in Brooklyn, because I have a thing for exposed brick, cozy, local coffee shops and the can’t stop, won’t stop energy of New York.

Because I work with small companies, I get the chance to really know my clients – what makes them tick and how and why they should stand out in a crowded marketplace. A lot of my clients have a smaller staff, a limited budget and are already stretched thin for time. This leads us to tailor marketing strategies and solutions to each company’s unique needs and actual capacity.

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