How to avoid common marketing mistakes

These days, furniture retailers don’t just have to sell furniture; they also have to be digital marketers, advertisers, logistics experts and more. 

Marketing has long been one of the biggest challenges for retailers because it has progressively become more digital. Technology is constantly changing, and marketing is something you have to keep pumping money into even when business is slow — like today. 

Marketing agency Searcharoo offers guidance on how small-business owners can avoid common mistakes and achieve better results with their marketing endeavors. We’ve also catered this information to specifically address the outdoor furnishings industry. 

1. Neglecting to define a target audience. One of the most critical mistakes small businesses make is neglecting to define their target audience and thus failing to tailor their marketing messages accordingly. Without a clear understanding of who their ideal customers are, businesses risk wasting time and resources on ineffective marketing campaigns.

James Dooley, a partner at Searcharoo, offers this advice: “Take the time to identify your target audience and understand their needs, preferences and pain points. Conduct market research, analyze customer data and create detailed buyer personas. By tailoring your marketing messages to resonate with your target audience you can increase engagement and drive conversions.”

For retailers selling outdoor furniture, the pool of potential customers in the market for casual furniture is huge, so narrowing your audience will help you decide what demographic of customers you’re trying to sell. This will inform the product you carry in your store, a trend many casual retailers have taken to by picking a price point and sticking closely within the bounds. 

2. Spreading marketing efforts too thin. Another common mistake is spreading your marketing efforts too thin across multiple channels, instead of focusing on a few key platforms. While having a presence on every social media platform or advertising channel may seem beneficial, this approach often leads to diluted efforts and subpar results.

Dooley’s advice: “Focus on quality over quantity when it comes to marketing channels. Identify the platforms where your target audience is most active and invest your resources accordingly. By concentrating your efforts on a few key channels, you can maximize your impact and achieve better ROI.”

E-commerce has been a tough egg to crack for some casual retailers, but others have learned that it’s not even worth it for their business. Look closely at who your customers are and where you primarily sell and don’t feel like you need to be everything to everyone. 

3. Overlooking consistent branding and messaging. Many small businesses overlook this aspect of marketing, leading to confusion among their target audience. Dooley suggests businesses develop a strong brand identity and ensure consistency across all marketing materials and touchpoints. 

“Consistency is key, from your logo and color scheme to your tone of voice and messaging,” he says. “This cohesive brand presence will help establish trust with your audience and differentiate you from competitors.”

When was the last time you updated your signage? I see retailers all the time who have beautiful showroom floors, but they haven’t changed out their outdoor sign since 1980. Make sure your brand is up to date so that your store looks attractive before people come in. 

4. Neglecting to track and analyze marketing metrics. Knowing your metrics is essential for measuring the ROI and effectiveness of your marketing efforts. Yet, many small businesses fail to implement proper tracking mechanisms and don’t analyze data to optimize their marketing strategies.

Dooley’s advice: ‘“Implement tracking tools and analytics platforms to monitor the performance of your marketing campaigns. Track key metrics such as website traffic, conversion rates, email open rates and social media engagement. Use this data to identify areas for improvement and make data-driven decisions to optimize your marketing efforts.”

If this sounds like a different language, it’s time to hire a marketing expert. Retailers can overlook the importance of tracking certain metrics because they are stuck in their old ways, but to keep up in 2024 you have to measure and analyze your marketing metrics and plan for the future.

Underestimating the power of customer feedback and engagement. Dooley says that small businesses underestimate their significance, missing out on opportunities to build meaningful connections with their audience. He suggests retailers prioritize customer feedback and engagement as integral parts of their marketing strategy by actively seeking customer feedback through surveys, reviews and social media interactions. 

“Use this feedback to refine your products, services and marketing messages,” he says. “Engage with your audience regularly through social media, email marketing and other channels to foster relationships and loyalty.”

Customer reviews are the new word of mouth. People still talk, and online reviews influence a person’s buying habits before they even step into your store. Getting customer reviews is essential and fairly easy if you simply ask. Making it as simple as possible will also reduce friction and resistance from customers. 

Marketing is one of the best ways to draw in consumers when business is slow. But success in marketing requires a combination of strategy, creativity and data-driven decision-making. 

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