Marketing is extremely important for any company, startup or not. Did you know that some marketing techniques can hurt your startup more than help? Let’s look at 25 marketing mistakes that may be slowly killing your startup’s marketing plans.

1. Not Engaging With and Listening to Customers

As a growing, early-stage startup, your ultimate goal should be to build a product that people will love and cannot go without. What is one crucial element in building that product? Critical feedback from real-world product focused customers. Some startups focus on building the product without getting that crucial feedback and listening to customers what they need and want.

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However, it is important to take this feedback lightly, in the case of the customer giving the feedback being totally wrong. In many cases, customers want more and more, but in the end, it is genuinely not what they really needed.

2. Avoiding Multiple Marketing Channels

Focusing on only one aspect of marketing will ultimately hurt your startup. For example, writing an amazing and viral-worthy post and hitting the publish button will not magically bring readers and fans to that post. You need to write it, market the post on social media, repurpose it, and spread it across all of your marketing channels. Not just one.

3. Not Tracking and Measuring Data

Whether it be general website traffic, conversions, social media, blog traffic, shares, or happy customers. Track and keep record of everything that is measurable, this will never hurt you, and is generally not time-consuming. Everything needs to be tracked and measured for success.

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4. Not Modifying and Re-testing

Never believe your product is perfect or totally finished which can’t be improved upon. No product is perfect. Constantly look for innovative improvements and advancements for your product, while talking and listening to your loyal customer base for critical feedback.

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5. Not Creating Goals

Creating simple, clear, and concise goals will help you keep your eye on a consistent goal throughout any marketing or startup events. This will keep everything you do consistent and moving forward towards a rewarding finish line, further avoiding any marketing mistakes.

6. Not Leveraging Social Networks

As a basic rule, go where your customers are. If you are only using Twitter, what if all of your potential customers are on Facebook? Take the time to determine where you customers are talking and living their online life, and get your company there also.

7. Not Blogging

Companies that blog get 55% more internet traffic and over 70% more customer leads than companies that don’t actively blog. Blogging helps gain customers by providing them with quality educational and informative content while also drastically aiding your search engine ratings. If you’re not blogging, you’d better start!

8. Not Using Social Sharing Buttons

Utilizing social sharing tools on your website, blog, and in your product encourages your users to share what you are offering. It also makes it easier and faster for them to hit a button and click publish within 30 seconds vs. copying your website’s link and pasting it into their social network update form. Which way would you choose?

9. Not Offering Subscription Options

Also within the social realm, offering a way to subscribe to updates and news to your company easily and quickly with a click of a button is an important marketing element. Include a link to your social network profiles on your website and blog, along with a way to subscribe to an email newsletter from your company. If you don’t have either of these, get them, quickly!

10. Not Taking Advantage of Landing Pages

Having dedicated landing pages for your startup’s products is a way to actively pursue personalized prospects. Especially useful while advertising, you can create landing pages with discounts and special deals for customers that are directed to that particular page. You can also use landing pages for growing your newsletter and social subscription numbers, distributing ebooks, infographics, and many,many other uses you can think of!

Read our blog post on a list of best practices when designing landing pages

11. Not Optimizing Your Website For Mobile

Approximately nine in ten smartphone owners (87%) use their smartphones to connect and browse the internet. 78% of these smartphone users say they go on their smartphones to use the internet on average, everyday. What this means for you is, you need your website to work well on mobile devices.

12. Starting Too Big

Many new startups make the terrible mistake of thinking the bigger their marketing plans and activities are, the better the results and profit they will see. Though starting big may look great, focusing on many marketing channels on the same level for each, is how your marketing plan will work.

13. Keeping a Constant Eye on Competition

Checking in on your competition can prove wise. However, keeping a constant eye on your competition and watching their every move may actually hurt you. Startups need to stay innovative, energetic, and constantly working to improve their product. But constant worry about what your competitors are doing, can essentially block your ability to do just that.

Instead of focusing on competition, look back at mistake #1 and watch your customers with a close and constant eye.

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14. Focusing on the Short-Term

Instead of staying short-term minded and focusing your startup to the short term, revert your mind and startup goals to be long-term centered. When making decisions, big or small, always look at the long term.

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15. Not Identifying Your Target Audience

Clearly knowing in your marketing plan what type of user base you are targeting will make your marketing and your overall startup venture, much easier. Plan out what type of person you are targeting, industry, location, and any other demographics that may be crucial to getting customers.

16. Not Setting A Budget

Ideally, what does building and running a startup come down to? Money. Money may not be everything to a startup, but it makes up a big percentage. If you do not budget your marketing plan correctly, you may be investing all of your money into an advertisement that isn’t working. Test everything, and do as much as you can without spending much money on traditional advertising. Sometimes in the beginning, having the mindset that you do not have any money to spend on marketing can drastically increase your chances for success.

17. Not Having A Press Kit

A press kit serves as a bundled kit of information about your company to help journalists and bloggers learn and write about your venture, making it an easier and faster process for everyone.
Why do I need a press kit for my startup?

  • It gives bloggers and press a complete bundle of all the information they need, and all the information you want them to have and know.
  • Gives the bloggers quality media like photos and product images you completely approve of, and if used, will further to enhance the publicity for the public and for you.
  • Having a press kit available on your website allows any visitor to gain access to it instead of having to contact your startup.
  • It acts as an aid for your marketing efforts and ideally works day after day without further work from you or your marketing team. *

18. Not Utilizing Great Customer Reviews as Testimonials

Testimonials can drastically increase sign-ups and sales for your project. Why? First off, they build trust. Your testimonials are your current customers personally telling your potential customers what is so great about your product or service, in a non-sales pitch way, unlike the rest of your website’s content. Testimonials can have the power to change the minds of even the most skeptic of website visitors.

Read our “Guide to Testimonials and How to Use Them Wisely”

19. Hiring A PR Team

Having publicity and people talking about you is great, PR is great. However, an early-stage startup does not need a fully-fledged PR team, at least not in the beginning stages. Don’t let anyone convince you otherwise, this is a big waste of money that unfortunately, many startups get misled into. PR plans at an early-stage startup should be pursued within your team and be spread across your marketing channels.

20. Ignoring SEO

Search engine optimization may not be as hyped as much as it used to, but it is still very important. It helps in general raise your website’s credibility, allows customers to find you more easily and quickly, and some more benefits to it. I wouldn’t advise to dedicating your whole marketing time to it, but never ignore it and keep the best practices active for effective results.

21. Neglecting Social Media

There is not right way to use social media, but there is no doubt a wrong way! Neglecting your social media accounts by not maintaining, updating, or it posting quality and original content are all ways you should not be using your social media profiles. Just like your blog, your social media profiles need to create value and insight for your customers.

22. Cold Emailing Potential Customers

First came cold calls, then came cold emailing, and, in the past this marketing strategy was an effective one. However, nowadays, this startup marketing technique should at most be avoided. Cold emailing may turn up a few sales, but only after creating a poor and spammy reputation for you for numerous other prospects you emailed. Take the time to look at each marketing technique to decide whether it’s right or not for you company.

23. Website Surveys to New Visitors

No-one really genuinely likes surveys, especially those that are new to your website and have absolutely no idea what your site looks like, and what it’s about. You would be surprised by the number of companies popup surveys to visitors that are just new to the site. This is one of the most effective ways to turn away a new prospect on your website.

24. Not Telling A Story

To be great at marketing, you need to tell great stories. Throughout all of your marketing work: social media, blogging, outreach, and advertising needs to be centered on telling the story of how your product is the best available option.

25. Doing Everything Yourself

There is a good reasoning behind why many companies have large marketing teams – marketing is not mean’t for just one. Marketing is a huge task and takes up a lot of time, all while having all kinds of other business related work piling up. It may be smart to hire an extra hand for marketing or to assign marketing tasks to other employees who can also focus on marketing related work. Assigning to other team members will decentralize the tasks from you unto other minds, further decreasing the probability of marketing mistakes.

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