The Two Biggest Mistakes That’ll Cost Business Owners Hundreds of Thousands

Marcus Neo // April 30 // 0 Comments

I did more than half a million dollars in E Commerce sales with just ONE product and ONE marketing campaign. I also managed more than 40 to 50 clients in different industries: from real estate, insurance, business grants, to E Commerce businesses, digital locks, home appliance instalment services, pet food and street clothing.

There are TWO huge mistakes that most business owners make.

1st Mistake) Lack of Customer Research

The first mistake isn’t in offer creation. It’s not even in copywriting. It’s not even in Facebook advertising. The first mistake that most business owners make is the lack of customer research.

Customer research should be done before spending a single dollar on Facebook advertising or SEO.

Customer research is the boring stuff that most business owners do not want to do.

They do not want to take out a spreadsheet or a Google Docs document to understand their customer.

Ultimately customers exchange cash for a service or product. That is why you NEED to understand your customer and your market.

There is no way you can go about selling a product without understanding your customers.

Every customer has their hopes, dreams, pains/ fears and objections to purchasing a product.

To name an example from my dating advice company that I brought to $100,000 in revenue. Many of my customers were afraid that they didn’t get coaching support after X number of weeks once the coaching contract ends.

I always assured them that if they had any more issues, they could hop on complimentary coaching sessions with me. They could message me directly, and I would be happy to oblige to their questions so that they can feel satisfied with the program.

If they needed extra courses and extra time, they would ensure that they would be able to receive that.

That was one of the objections that go through their minds when they go through my marketing process and funnel.

The details you need to know about your customers:

  • The age range of your customers
  • The gender
  • Are they students or employed?
  • What kind of jobs do they have? Are they lawyers, engineers, IT consultants? Are they University graduates?
  • How educated are they about the product or service? That’s where your positioning lies. Do you want to market to people who are super educated about the product (niche audience) or the masses?
  • Their hopes, dreams, pains/ fears and their objections around your product or service

Customer research is an extensive exercise that every business owner must go through even before they launch a single advertisement or write a single copy on their website.

In the digital marketing space: most people would say, ‘I got good copywriters and I can make good offers, and that is why I am going to win.”

Great copy and good offers come customer research.

Good customer research comes from figuring out your customer’s level of education, fthe kind of jobs they’re holding, their hopes, their fears, their burning desires, their burning pains and objections.

Then find out the mechanism they’ll like to transact with you. Are they transacting with you online? Are they transacting with you through some part of the website? Have they watched this piece of content before they decided to spend a five thousand dollar dollars retainer fee?

Only then you can build your offer. From your offer, you can create your copy and advertising.

How do you do customer research?

Customer research is literally picking up the phone, speaking to your leads or calling your customers and asking them:

“What do you hope to achieve out of my service?”
“What’s holding you back from purchasing my service? Is it price? Is it you prefer other competitors or methods?”
“And specifically, like, why do you choose to work with me or why do you not choose to work with me, right? Is it because of price?”
“If you didn’t buy is it because of something that you know you didn’t like in our marketing process.”

Personally, I like getting people on the phone and talk to people in person. For my dating consulting company, I literally asked 10 of my clients and interviewed them:

  • “Why did you purchase from us?”
  • “What do you like about my company/ products or services?”
  • “What do you not like about my company/ products or services?'”
  • “In what areas can I improve on my products are services?’

You can ask these questions through Facebook groups, direct messages, over Zoom calls with your customers and etc. I send out surveys on Google Docs to my email list from time to time.

These are the boring dry research and work that most people do not want to do. However, it is ever so important.

The misconception around a great offer is to use scarcity or introduce countdowns and deadlines. Those are bells and whistles that you add on. However only after this customer research process then you can create an irresistible offer around your product and services.

If you don’t do customer research, I don’t care how good you of a media buyer or direct response copywriter you are. Your campaigns are going to fail.

2nd Mistake) Lack of Focus

The second most important concept is FOCUS!

If you are selling, promoting, running small advertising budgets to twenty products at a go, then aren’t focusing.

You’ll also be probably overwhelmed with promos for different products, constant ad creation, creating stress on media buyers,  designers and your in house team. There is so much output, but no focus.

How are you to create 20 landing pages with 20 client reviews and customer research for 20 products when you haven’t got ONE product down?

That is apparently so if you are starting off with a small budget, even from a technical Facebook advertising standpoint, you aren’t collecting enough data for your Facebook pixel to season and you won’t have enough budget to test out different advertising angles.

That is why FOCUS is important.

The majority of digital marketing agencies and/ or their account managers are going to tell you OKAY let’s do it. That’s because of the principle agent bias.

There are many digital marketing consultants out there that’ll overpromise. The good marketers will advise you to figure your key offerings by doing customer research: looking at the data of who has purchased from you, what have they purchased from you and what are your best selling products.

This way, you don’t end up back to square one after three months: spent the retainer fees and wasted your advertising budget.

If you’re spending your time on Facebook ads, then you got your YouTube channel, then a podcast and Instagram building. You are splitting your limited time and budget amongst all of them.

If you’re a small business owner not generating at least a million dollars in revenue at 30 to 40 percent net margins, then you’re not at the stage where you can multiply your offerings or channels.

Note: I am guilty of these two mistakes that most business owners make. However, the takeaway here is to put your entire ammo into one or two key channels and products. Then remove all distractions, and stick to your circle of focus.

About the Author 

Marcus is a SEO specialist and ROI focused digital marketer specialising in paid customer acquisition. Marcus's SEO expertise is in white hat SEO link building. He has managed digital marketing campaigns on both an SME and enterprise level in Singapore

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