Do You Make These 7 Mistakes In Your Business?
By Ray L. Edwards

Mistakes. Nobody likes to make them. But when we do we try to learn from them, survive them and then value the 'experience' that we now have because of them.

As a internet marketing consultant having worked with many different businesses I've seen a lot of foul-ups in my career. In this article I'll just like to address 7 of these mistakes that have crippled or handicapped many companies that otherwise could have been very successful.

1. Failure to differentiate your business by showing the unique benefits you provide the customer.

Some may call this the Unique Selling Position (USP) or a host of other titles meaning the very same thing, but you want to show how you are different from your competition. Even if you are selling a very common product you can still differentiate yourself from your competition by picking one unique quality.

If you own a pizza place then maybe you are the only business in the area that delivers after midnight or offer star-shaped pizzas. Whatever will help you to stand out from the other pizza places will help you to stand out in the customer's mind. Think about how many credit card companies, gas stations, bakeries � and a host of other businesses that offer similar services to other companies.

Differentiate and you'll win.

2. Failure to test your advertising strategies.

There are many companies that run various ads. This includes Yellow Pages, radio spots, newspapers and direct mail. Yet they cannot determine which ads are doing well and which are just a waste of money. This is because they do not test to see where their results are coming from.

Any business should have some parameter by which they measure where they are getting results and where their advertising is losing money. Very large corporation are particularly guilty of this because they have large adverting budgets. They can afford to do 'branding' advertising that is not intended to bring a direct measurable response. A small business owner cannot afford such luxury however.

So test, measure and use only what works.

3. Marketing to 'everybody'.

Any business should have a niche or target audience that they market to. Except you are selling water your target audience cannot be the universal population. And even if you were selling water you may not be able to reach all languages and some people already have an abundance.

If you focus on your target market then you are more likely to get a greater response because your message will be more focused and direct. When you have a target in mind then you are more likely to strike it than to just throw mud up against the wall and hoping that something will stick.

The sharper your arrow point is the more likely it will strike the bull's eye. Know who your target audience is and design your advertising to reach them.

4. Not asking your customers what they think of your product or service.

If you don't survey your customers to find out what they love or hate about your product or service then you may be losing them without even realizing it. Customers appreciate when you value their opinions enough to ask for it. In this way you can find out how to improve your products to better suit your market. The more satisfied your customers are the more you'll get with less effort.

5. Ignoring your present customer base.

You know the saying, "A bird in the hand is worth two in the bushes". This could be said about customers as well, but this time try five in the bushes. Yes, it can take 5 times as much money and effort to win a new customer as it takes to keep an old one.

Rather than just concentrating on building your customer base you should spend a greater amount of your marketing resources to keep those that you have already happy. If you don't do this then you'll just be trying to fill up a leaking barrel. You'll continue to lose customers as fast as you gain them-a great way to waste your marketing resources.

6. Not having a 'back end' product to sell to your existing customers.

After your customer has made an initial sale, you should have another complimentary product to sell to that customer. You have already won their confidence to do business with you so the second sale should be easier to make.

Even if you don't sell such a product or service then you should form a joint venture with another business owner and split the profit. Ignoring the wealth that is in your present customer base is a grave mistake. Yet many businesses do this year after year.

7. Not 'spying' out the competition.

Even if you are #1 in your niche you should be still keeping an eye on what your competition is doing. You may learn some valuable lessons and it may help you to see the weaknesses that you have in your own company.

No general will want to go to war without knowing what type of armor the enemy has and how well they use them. The same for a business as well; you must know what your competition uses and how you can translate the successful strategies to your own business.

About the author: Ray L. Edwards is a master copywriter, published author and Internet Marketing Consultant. His copywriting clients have claimed up to 1,600% increase in their comversion rates just from using his services. He is an expert in writing sales copy for the web. He has studied extensively the relationship between website structure and design as a factor in internet sales success. You may visit his website at: http://www.webcopy-writing.com

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