Minor errors occur in any business. It’s human nature to be so driven and focused about making sure the big things go right—that your branding message is on target or your website is updated quarterly—that you forget about the little things.
But if you miss those little things, that can make for some big problems. Here are two seemingly obvious marketing mistakes you think you’d never make—until you do.
Spell check is great, but you have to use it for it to work, and even then, it may not catch everything. And sometimes, the less text you have to check, the less likely it is that you’ll scrutinize every single word—with so little to review, it’s so easy to glance, nod and move on to the next project.
That’s what happened eight years ago to Celtic Ocean International Inc., a retailer specializing in natural goods and gourmet products. “We printed 80,000 bags for our Celtic Sea Salt Fine Ground sea salt, but instead of ‘ground,’ we spelled it ‘gound,’” says Stephanie Tomatis, the company’s PR and marketing director. “Not one person in the company caught that mistake. A customer happened to point it out to us several months later.”
Fortunately, there was no major fallout, Tomatis says. There was no customer revolt, and all the bags of “gound” sea salt were sold, so mostly, the error was simply embarrassing.
But the missing letter did end up costing the company money. “We have our bags pre-printed, so we had plate-changing fees,” Tomatis explains. “We had to change both our half-pound and one-pound bags, which cost us $1,000 each because it was our error.”
Ever since, Tomatis says, the company has three people—the CEO, purchaser and herself—review and sign off on label changes.
Not Renewing Your Domain Name
Prospective customers, vendors and business partners need to be able to find you, and if you make it harder for them to do that, they may just go somewhere else.
Julia Reich inadvertently did just that. After renaming her company, a brand strategy consulting firm for nonprofits, Reich launched a new website with a new domain name. But she kept her old site active for a while, adding some new text on the home page that re-directed visitors to her new site.
“After about a year, I received renewal notices from my old host and decided not to renew,” says Reich, who had changed her company name from Julia Reich Design to Stone Soup Creative. “I figured a year was long enough.”
Under normal circumstances, that might be so. But Julia Reich Design had been in business from 2001 until 2013, with a lot of work history out there on the Internet, and after her website came down, Reich says, “I realized that many of the websites I’d designed for clients, as well as other printed materials, all had my old name and Web address on them. If a prospect wanted to look me up, they’d have no way of finding me.”
She decided to raise her website from the dead, but the old domain name—www.juliareichdesign.com—was surprisingly no longer available. “I don’t understand why someone else would take it,” Reich says.
Reich isn’t sure if she’s actually lost business from the lost domain name, and she concedes anyone can Google her name and find her on LinkedIn. But, she says, “I have a sneaking suspicion there have been missed opportunities.”
Recovering From Your Slip-Ups
If you do make a small mistake that has big consequences, don’t beat yourself up. Mistakes, whether small or large, are inevitable, says Andreas Argentinis, president of Metal Pressions, a family-run business that creates handmade personalized jewelry from silver and gold. And he should know—he claims to have made many little mistakes since he and his wife and business partner, Elisha, started their business in 2011.
One larger error, however, involved outsourcing the company’s marketing needs for SEO, product feeds and affiliate marketing. After working with several firms that never performed as expected, they finally cut their losses and used the money they were spending on outside firms to hire someone in-house to do those marketing tasks.
And that’s what any smart entrepreneur should do, once they realize they’ve made a mistake: Accept the blunder as human, fix it and move on.
(Adapted from: americanexpress.com/us/small-business /Geoff Williams)