As business owners and wedding pros, we’re constantly on the hunt for ways to increase brand visibility and communicate with (and hopefully convert) potential clients. But, in our efforts to be branding beasts and marketing monsters, it’s common to fall into a few easily avoidable marketing traps. Today, then, we’re talking marketing mistakes to avoid at all—and we mean all—costs.
1. Thinking “everyone” is Your Target Audience
It’s easy to get excited when we’re first branding our business and think we’ll take any customer we can get—but, as the old adage goes, if you try to please everyone, you’ll end up pleasing no one. While it’s totally kosher to be strapped for cash and willing to take on any client you can get, it’s important to understand that trying to communicate with everyone will lead to a marketing message that resonates with no one. Take some time to define your audience: What are their interests? Do they skew male or female? What’s their income? How old are they? Are they travelers? What do they do with their disposable income? Do they value material items or experiences? What makes them tick and what turns them off? We recommend writing a simple one-page document that defines your ideal client persona. Talk about their likes and dislikes, touch on the language they use, talk about what they’re looking for in a product, etc. Then, use this document to drive all of your communication efforts.
2. Not Writing a Positioning Statement
A positioning statement is a simple, single sentence that describes how you’ll fulfill your target’s needs in a way competitors can’t—in other words, it describes how you’re different from and better than other options/people on the market. It acts as the anchor that drives every single communication effort you embark on—which is why not having one is a huge no-no. Every ad you run, every social media post you share, every blog post you write should always reinforce (even if in a subtle way) your brand positioning statement. Not having a positioning statement is like trying to build a home without first laying the foundation.
3. Skipping Research
This one is a biggie. Research, after all, isn’t exactly the most thrilling thing we could be doing with our time. But, if you dive right into marketing efforts without doing your research, you’ll likely end up wasting precious dollars and time. Before you ever get started crafting messages or advertisements, you should spend time researching your competitors, your target audience, and your market—and then use the information you find to drive your every message.
4. Not Defining Your Communication Strategy
Don’t just run a Facebook ad to run a Facebook ad—there should be strategy behind every single communication effort you make on behalf of your business. Once you’ve done your market research, we recommend taking some serious time to outline a marketing strategy for the year based on your findings. Did you learn your target audience uses Instagram but not Facebook? Great—part of your strategy should be to spend more marketing dollars on Instagram. Did you learn they’re driven by experiences rather than material items? Great—focus on communications that talk about their wedding as an unforgettable experience, rather than communications that focus on the materialistic side of weddings. Your overall marketing strategy should outline the channels/tools you’ll utilize throughout the year and how.
5. Convoluted Communication
Somewhere along the lines in grade school, we were taught that bigger words are better and longer sentences make us sound smart. But, when it comes to marketing—it’s time to throw that impressive lexicon of yours out of the window and, instead, focus on simple, effective communication. No one wants to read a seven-paragraph long Instagram caption, and no one wants to have to look up every other word in a blog post. Marketing communication should be two things above all else: clear and concise. What is it you’re trying to say and how can you say it in a way that will resonate with your audience? In his memoir On Writing, Stephen King has an amazing rule for this: “Remember that the basic rule of vocabulary is use the first word that comes to your mind, if it is appropriate and colorful. If you hesitate and cogitate, you will come up with another word—of course you will, there’s always another word—but it probably won’t be as good as your first one, or as close to what you really mean.”