There is an old axiom in marketing that most business know that they are wasting half of their marketing budget – it’s just that they don’t know which half.It’s inevitable that your company is going to waste marketing dollars at some point.

And although the numbers aren’t as high as 50%, studies show that most companies are still wasting about 25% to 33% of their budget on ineffective marketing tactics.

Part of the reason that companies waste marketing dollars is that marketing often involves experimentation – you might be trying new messaging, testing channels or implementing entirely new strategies. And as much as you hope all of them will hit, not every marketing plan is going to be effective.

And while you can look back at a strategy and wish it had worked, the truth is you probably walk away learning quite a bit about what your audience actually wants.

At the same time, you want to ward against spending marketing dollars foolishly.

When it comes down to it, many of the marketing efforts like blog posts, social media ads and direct advertisement are worth the investment because they increase awareness and connect with your audience. Others though, can be a waste of time and $$ and could even turn off your customers!

So, how do you know if you’re wasting your marketing dollars?  There are countless ways that companies make wasting marketing dollars, but I wanted to share 3 of the main ones that you might be making and give you some thoughts on how you can fix them now.

  1. You Don’t Have A Clear Brand Message

The biggest mistake I see solopreneurs and small businesses make is not having a clear brand message. If you can’t share who you are, what you do and how you serve your audience, it’s likely that you are wasting marketing dollars.

As I often remind my clients, branding is the pull and marketing is the push – you can’t ever push until you get super clear on your brand message.

Until you completely have all your brand messaging lined up and are absolutely clear on what you want to say to your audience, every single dollar you spend on marketing will be completely wasted.

If your website is a mess, your social media upside down or you don’t have a clear elevator pitch ready to share, then everything you do will fall flat and you will miss the mark.

So, before you invest in a single ad or promote your business in any way, take the time to truly understand the needs of your audience and exactly how you solve that need for them. The better you can be at conveying exactly what is going on in their head, the better your marketing results will be.

  1. Your Message is Too Broad for Your Audience

A not so distant relative of unclear messaging is crafting marketing material that is too broad for your audience. I often hear from clients that are afraid of niching down because they believe they will leave someone out.

The truth is that if you don’t niche and create a very distinct message, you will grab no one.

Having a message that is broad or doesn’t solve a real problem that your ideal audience is experiencing means that your marketing campaign can’t be heard. It can be perfect in every other way, but unless your message is hitting home, it’s going to get lost in the online crowd.

What does that really look like?

Well, let’s say for example that you have an interior design business and you want to focus on new home owners. Creating an ad that focuses on anyone who needs your services isn’t going to be as effective as one where you focus specifically on the needs and wants of that new home owner.

Being clear on who you want to talk to is going to help your marketing dollars go farther and be more effective in creating awareness and connection – so someone can make the important decision to purchase your goods or services.

  1. Sounding Like Everyone Else

They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, but when it comes to marketing, mimicking your competition can be costly.

Just because something worked for your competition doesn’t mean that it will work for you.

In fact, if your audience realizes that you have merely copied what your competition is doing, they’re likely to be turned off.

They’ll click away because they think you’re disingenuous, fake or maybe even a little sneaky. Make sure that in your messaging and marketing material shows why you are the clear choice by showing how you are different.

Making yourself sound the same as someone else will not make people think, “Oh, I can go for either of these and be fine.” It will make them think that you don’t really know what you’re doing and that choosing you will not help them solve their problem.

Be distinctive and explain the benefits of working with you in detail so that when it comes to decision making, your marketing will help you stand out.

  1. Hanging Out Where Your Audience Isn’t

It seems almost obvious. Spend marketing dollars on efforts targeted in places where your audience hangs out. One of the reasons it’s so important to get to know your ideal audience is that you learn where they hang out because then you can actually connect with them.

All too often people spend marketing $$ on efforts that turn out to be a bust because their audience isn’t there.

For example, you may learn from your marketing manager that Instagram Ads are hot, so you dive in. The problem is that your ad isn’t gaining any traction. Why?

Well, your audience isn’t on Instagram – they’re hanging out on LinkedIn or maybe even don’t even go online!

Making sure that you are aware of the places your audience lives can be important in selecting the appropriate channels to share your material.

So, do the research. Make sure you know how your audience likes to hear about you and where they might be likely to learn more. Spending your marketing dollars in this way can help you feel so much stronger about what you put out there.

And while no marketing campaign can ever be foolproof, the better you are able to tackle these four areas, the less likely that you will feel that you’re just throwing darts at a dart board when it comes to building your business.

Need some help working through some of this? I’m happy to help. Grab my free Complete Jumpstart Your Brand Guide to help you get started so you can stop wasting money needlessly on marketing that won’t work!


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