No one hires a marketing consultant or launches a campaign with an expectation for failure. Yet sometimes marketing ventures do flop.
Even worse, some efforts may backfire, putting your business on worse footing with homeschoolers than it was before! Here are mistakes I’ve seen that cause a marketing project to backfire. The good news is that every single time, these problems are avoidable!
When You Are Too Optimistic with Timelines
Optimists are wonderful people to be around! They smile, they look on the bright side, and they encourage you when you’ve done something stupid. I love optimists! But optimists should not be the people setting work timelines. Why? Because they tend to underestimate how long things will take to accomplish.
- The website will not launch on the projected date.
- The products will not come back from the manufacturer when promised.
- Your plans to work on some aspect of your business will get dashed by a case of the flu, a broken dishwasher, or a family crisis.
- Your graphic designer can’t get those ads done as quickly as you’d like them.
Whatever timeline you are thinking, add another few weeks to it. It’s better to have things done sooner than you promise than to keep going back to the folks in your marketing project with delay after delay.
When You Don’t Follow Through on Promises
Holding a contest or giveaway? Makes sure you follow through on what you promised. Winners expect their prizes, and when you don’t fulfill them as promised, they become instant enemies of your business.
If your free trial offer promises not to automatically renew or charge the credit card, but it does anyway, you’ve just created a customer who is now a hater.
When your name comes up in a Facebook group of homeschool moms, guess what these two disappointed people are going to say? They won’t say a word about how great your product is (even if it is). All they will remember (and share) is how dishonest you are.
“But it wasn’t dishonest! It was an honest mistake!” you cry. Sorry, Charlie. To the customer, you are sneaky and a liar. In case you didn’t know, people are highly suspicious of being taken advantage of. Their radar is up, so you don’t want to send any signals that you might be less than 100% honest.
When You Lack Email Follow Up
I get it! You’re excited! You want to tell the world about your amazing product. You want to collect subscribers, too! That’s all smart. But make sure you have your email follow up in place before you even begin collecting emails.
Email subscribers are milk not yogurt. Milk lasts in your refrigerator for about a week while yogurt will last for a full month.
You can’t stockpile email subscribers for some future date when you get your act together to start sending them messages. Just like milk, if you let them sit too long, your email subscribers expire,
- forgetting who/what you are
- not remembering ever signing up for your emails
- no longer caring who/what you are
- becoming irritated that some stranger is emailing out of the blue
What happens when you email a list of rotten milk subscribers who have never heard from you before? They delete your message, they unsubscribe, or—worst of all—they mark your message as spam. When your emails are marked as spam, your deliverability decreases even for the people who do want to hear from you.
The solution is to have your follow up sequence (or at a bare minimum an effective welcome email) in place and ready to fire as soon as you add new subscribers. To clarify, as soon as means immediately upon sign up—within seconds.
When Your Landing Pages Are Weak
Facebook ad campaign? SUPER! That’s a great place to reach homeschoolers. But an effective Facebook campaign is about a lot more than what you put on Facebook. You can create custom audiences and have incredible ad copy and creative that’s reaching all the right people, but if when they click to your landing page the experience is poor, you’re wasting your marketing dollars. And worse, you’ve just given potential customers a bad impression.
The biggest culprits with poor landing page experience:
- bad mobile experience
- too text-driven with too few visuals
- unclear messaging
- typos and grammatical errors
- language that turns off homeschool parents
- distractions that keep visitors from taking the one action you have in mind
You got exposure from your Facebook ads, yes. But the ultimate opinion based on that exposure was negative. Your Facebook ads campaign just backfired.
For this reason, we require all our Facebook ads clients to first go through a personalized marketing strategy assessment and design so any weaknesses can be corrected prior to launching a marketing campaign.
When You Treat Bloggers Poorly
Let’s say you are working with a team of 12 bloggers, and your project goes sideways. You make extra demands mid-stream, inject a few delays, ship the wrong products, don’t follow up on customer service requests, and ignore the team’s constructive feedback.
You may think, “Well, it’s just 12 homeschoolers. Who cares? There are thousands more out homeschool families out there.”
Wrong. These are influencers. That’s why you wanted to work with them in the first place. They have a voice that people listen to. If you turn them off, you can guarantee they are not saying positive things about you. They may even publish a positive blog post, but in private groups, they are telling folks how you were hard to work with, didn’t follow through on your promises, had poor customer service, etc.
Bloggers talk. Homeschoolers talk.
Making 12 homeschool bloggers upset means you just moved backwards in your marketing game—do not pass go, do not collect $200. It backfired.
Aim at and Hit Your Target
Don’t let your marketing efforts backfire. Take your time to think through the campaign from start to follow through… even 6-12 months after the work of the campaign is complete. Think through all the elements that need to work synergistically to bring your desired outcome:
- social media
- influencer content
- free trials or other free opt-in offers
- landing pages
- product fulfillment
- customer service
If you need help seeing the big picture for homeschool marketing, that’s what we do. Get started here or here. Then ask for a free 20 minute call to discuss the details of working with Jenn and Jimmie.