Three Common Marketing Communication Mistakes — And How To Fix Them

Over the past year, we’ve all been inundated with messages. Stores were at limited capacity or completely closed, employees shifted to remote work and virtual school took over, so our inboxes and social media became our primary avenues for communication.

No longer are we catching up at the water cooler, but instead via email or messaging apps, and it’s noisy in there. Businesses grasping to keep revenue flowing found their marketing efforts buried deep under the urgent messages of “don’t forget your 8 a.m. meeting” and “your child’s virtual class meet is starting now”— oops, is he still in his pajamas?

According to industry benchmark data from HubSpot, companies on average sent 49% more marketing emails and 79% more sales emails since the onset of Covid-19. And yet, the reply rate for sales emails has steadily stayed 30% below the benchmark since April 2020. I think it’s safe to say that we’re doing more in marketing and sales but producing less. You’ve probably personally felt the increase in communications in your own inbox.

While we could (but shouldn’t) have gotten away with these mistakes pre-Covid-19, now it’s really not going to work. 

Let’s take a “not this” but “do that instead” approach to these three mistakes.

Mistake No. 1: You’re trying to win everybody and anybody.

Desperate times call for desperate measures, right? And, in desperation, you might be using a universal approach to win everybody and anybody over who will listen — or at least open the message. You’re not sure who your ideal client is or what they want, but instead, you’re taking the chameleon approach to marketing. Spoiler alert: even if you can get them to open it, they are not really listening if the contents don’t apply to them. 

Instead: find out who your ideal client is and get more targeted. 

To help navigate this, think of who your product or service best fits. Who finds the most success with your product? Who was and is easy to work with, and why? It’s also an excellent time to think about who would not be a good fit and why not.

Mistake No. 2: You’re spamming your community with generic messaging.

Take a peek inside your inbox or LinkedIn messages, and you probably don’t have to go back very far to find “unprecedented times” coupled with a sales offer or “I see we have this person in common.” It’s a copy-and-paste approach to building community and connection quickly, but instead of achieving this, it often turns people off to whatever value you might be able to provide. Also, I think it’s safe to drop the word “unprecedented.” Let’s just accept that these are the times.

Instead: choose personalization and build relationships by offering something of value. 

Often, we praise quantity instead of quality. Let’s reverse that. Instead of focusing on the number of mass communications you send out, choose to send fewer higher-quality messages through a more personalized, customized approach. Do your research. If you are going to ask your community or potential new client to give you their time, then provide something of value within their inbox through personalized messaging or share an offer that feels unique and helpful in their current situation.

Mistake No. 3: You talk more about yourself than you do about them.

Most people find it easy to talk about themselves and their accomplishments; just pause and listen to the room at the next dinner party. And, while it’s necessary to build trust and authority with your messaging, it’s also essential to make sure your prospect or client feels seen and heard. 

Instead: share how your product or service can make their lives better and back it up with your expertise.

Let’s face it: Many of us are a part of the “skimming” generation. You may even be skimming this article. It’s okay; no hard feelings. So long proposals, conversations and websites that focus primarily on you and what you’ve accomplished will not win them over because at the end of the conversation or site visit, they will know a lot about you, but you will not have demonstrated that you know much about them. Get to know your ideal clients. What goals are they hoping to achieve? What hurdles are standing in their way? And, what steps do they need to take to overcome these challenges and win the day? Then, back it up with what qualifies you to help them achieve success.

It’s easy to fall into the typical generic, blanket messaging approach or the habit of trying to be all things to all people. But the brands that correct these three mistakes can stand out as more genuine, more conversational and more successful brands: brands that are easier to say “yes” to.

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