Your definitive guide on marketing tactics to avoid.
As a retail or eCommerce business, promoting your brand’s services and products is no doubt at the top of your priority list.
There are countless resources out there offering advice on how to market your business, but not many that tell you what to avoid.
Poor promotional strategies and bad marketing decisions can cost small to medium-sized businesses up to $120,000 a year.
But by making the right promotional decisions and steering clear of these common eCommerce and retail marketing blunders, you will attract more loyal customers and see your profits soar.
1. Being broad or impersonal
Gone are the days when impersonal banner ads or one-size-fits-all marketing campaigns earned results. If you want to connect with your audience and stand out as an eCommerce or retail business owner, you need to take a personal approach to your marketing activities.
Avoid sending out blanket emails, social media posts, videos, blog posts, or customer service communications. Get to know your target customers and reach out to them with messaging that offers genuine personal value.
The solution? Read our guide to customer segmentation and learn how to reach out to specific groups of customers with marketing materials that will increase engagement and earn sales.
2. Thinking of your needs rather than your customers’
When you’re coming up with a marketing idea or creating a promotional email, don’t think about yourself and your personal preferences. If you do that, your content will be meaningless to your audience, and you’ll be wasting time and money in the process.
Every marketing communication you make should have your customers’ wants, needs, and preferences at heart. Place yourself in the shoes of your audience, and you will earn a solid return on investment (ROI) for your efforts.
The solution? Create buyer personas based on your model customers and use them to guide your marketing campaign content.
3. Making your messaging too formal
Every retail or eCommerce brand will have a unique tone of voice—yours is no exception. We know that a quirky sustainable shoe retailer might speak to a purveyor of formal dinner jacks, for example, but whatever you sell, you should avoid making your messaging too formal.
Making your marketing communications overly format and technical (filled with industry-specific jargon) will make you sound less human while alienating most of your target audience. Don’t do it.
The solution? Use plain, simple language as much as possible and read all of your marketing assets (emails, infographics, blog posts, video scripts, social media posts, etc.) out loud before signing them off. If they sound unnatural, go back and take another pass.
4. Separating your online channels
In the digital age, there are endless platforms and touchpoints for eCommerce and retail business owners to consider when it comes to marketing.
While having a presence across as many different channels as possible can be a wise move, many people make the mistake of treating them as separate entities.
For instance, a t-shirt brand might launch a “share your selfie” competition on Instagram but fail to cross-promote it on Facebook, Twitter, and their website. This approach is not only inefficient but will restrict your commercial reach.
The solution? Work on omnichannel marketing campaigns that run smoothly across a mix of channels at the same time. These omnichannel marketing examples will help inspire your efforts.
5. Getting your pricing wrong
Another common retail or eCommerce marketing mistake is getting your pricing wrong. If your pricing models are poor, your margins will suffer, and your marketing efforts will become less profitable. You will also restrict your opportunities for enticing customers with deals, offers, and discounts, as doing so will not return any financial rewards.
The solution? Work through our guide to profit-boosting pricing strategies for retail and eCommerce business owners.
6. Not taking advantage of holidays & market trends
Another big marketing blunder in the retail and eCommerce space is failing to research emerging industry trends and create marketing content to tap into the buzz and build awareness. Not preparing for big annual events like Valentine’s Day, Halloween, and Christmas is also a huge mistake.
The solution? To avoid missing prime marketing opportunities, you should map out which annual events you’re going to create campaigns for at the start of each quarter and add them to a shared calendar. You should also try social listening and use platforms like Google Trends to find out what people are talking about in your niche.
Our step-by-step guide to trend marketing will also help you develop marketing content that will build a buzz and put your brand on the map.
7. Poor product merchandising
Whether you have a brick-and-mortar store, an eCommerce store, or both, poor product placement and weak descriptions will result in less interest and fewer sales.
Many retailers overlook the fact that almost everything you do boils down to marketing. It’s not just the campaigns and promotional materials that count. The way you arrange and showcase your services or products matters, too.
The solution? Check out these handy resources to discover what to do when it comes to retail store innovation and online product page design:
- How to produce product pages that get results
- 15 actionable ways to optimize your store’s product page for more sales
- An exploration of what a brick and mortar store should look like
8. Not using data
Failing to use data to your marketing advantage is highly detrimental to your business. In the Age of Information, we are swimming in invaluable insights that can help us meet our customers’ needs head-on.
Consumer-based and demographic data, as well as sales, engagement, and revenue metrics, will help you track your marketing performance while creating marketing content that gets results.
The solution? Using data analytics platforms like Google Analytics is essential in the modern business age. Oh, and our definitive walkthrough of using data to improve your eCommerce business strategy will also help.
9. Not looking at your competitors
Another common marketing blunder we see is retail or eCommerce businesses failing to research the campaigns or efforts of their competitors.
By keeping a keen eye on your competitors, you will gain inspiration for your marketing efforts while being able to spot potential gaps (blog posts that are lacking information or poorly designed email campaigns, for example) that you can exploit.
The solution? Set aside regular time to sign up for competitor deals or email newsletters. Join relevant social media groups and make mystery purchases. This will give you the intelligence you need to improve your marketing efforts and get ahead of the pack.
10. Staying away from traditional marketing
As we sprint towards an increasingly digital world, many business owners dismiss the value of traditional marketing methods like print advertising or event promotions.
Not only are certain traditional marketing channels still highly effective, but in a world where everyone is moving to the beat of a digital drum, a little old-school promotion will help you stand out.
The solution? This noise-cutting guide to traditional marketing will tell you all you need to know to get started.
11. Lacking that emotional punch
Marketing content that lacks personality is a problem—and so is messaging that lacks feeling or emotion. Emotive marketing is a powerful promotional force, yet many retail and eCommerce business owners fail to tap into their customers’ feelings. Don’t let that be you—go for the emotional jugular.
The solution? Here’s a little practical advice on how to win more sales with emotive marketing, complete with real-world examples.
12. Ignoring SEO & mobile
Creating content that isn’t optimized for search engines or mobile screens is a big no-no. If you fail to create marketing content or product descriptions using search engine optimization (SEO) techniques or your website doesn’t work on mobile screens, you will render your efforts useless. Making these mistakes might even harm your brand reputation.
The solution? Here are two resources that will help you on your path to mobile and SEO success:
13. Missing cross-selling and upselling opportunities
Earlier, we talked about poor pricing models. Loosely related to pricing are revenue-boosting techniques or cross-selling and upselling techniques—or a lack of them.
So many retail and eCommerce marketers overlook the value of cross-selling and upselling (some businesses earn around a third of their revenue using these promotional tactics!), and all they’re doing is selling themselves short.
The solution? Don’t overlook the power of the cross- or upsell. Here’s how to do it right.
14. Sitting back with social media
Another common marketing blunder is being lazy on social media and expecting to get results. Social media is a powerful brand-boosting tool for retail and eCommerce business owners—but don’t expect to put out the odd post and get any worthwhile results.
The solution? Get to know the social media platforms you use inside out. Monitor your audiences’ activity, find the times that your customers are most likely to engage, and put out consistently engaging, timely posts and communications. Oh, and get the right social media influencers on board.
15. Working with the wrong tools
One of the biggest marketing mistakes today’s eCommerce and retail business owners make is working with tools and technologies that waste time and make gaining customer insights or creating content difficult.
The solution? By working with eCommerce and retail-based platforms that are effective, easy to use, and offer the tools and information you need to succeed from one central location, you will create effective marketing campaigns and grow your business.