Tons of hard work go into implementing a marketing plan. From planning to execution, your team has to invest a lot of hours and a lot of effort into putting together a strategy that will succeed — which is why it’s such a bummer when it doesn’t.

A failed marketing strategy is usually the result of three common mistakes, and by identifying what they are, you’ll be able to avoid making them. We’ll go over what those three mistakes are so you can craft a strategy that avoids them, and see real success out of your marketing efforts.

1. You Didn’t Clearly Identify Your Goals

Marketing is an end to a means. But if you’re not really sure what you’re trying to achieve, how are you going to optimize your efforts to get there?

The goals that you choose for your marketing efforts should be specific, measurable, and attainable. Instead of focusing on something overly broad like “increase revenue,” break down your bigger goals into smaller goals that will serve as stepping stones toward that more ambitious undertaking.

Some of the most common marketing goals include:

  • Broadening exposure and increasing brand awareness among new customers
  • Generating new leads
  • Converting more prospects into sales 
  • Increasing SEO and page rankings
  • Enhancing customer relations

Each of these goals is tied to specific marketing practices that make them achievable for teams of all sizes. The key is to know exactly what you’re trying to achieve in the first place so that you can target your efforts in the right direction.

2. You Didn’t Look at the Right Metrics

If you didn’t clearly outline your goals, then chances are you’re also using the wrong metrics to measure success. And even if you did clearly outline your goals, you might still be looking at the wrong markers of performance.

Evaluating the correct metrics is crucial to a successful marketing plan. If you’re looking at the wrong data, or just aren’t quite sure what to make of the data that you’ve got, then you’re going to end up missing out on key insights that will tell you if you’re on or off track.

So what metrics should you look at? Here is what you should be measuring based on some of the common goals mentioned above:

  • Brand awareness and generating new leads — Look at referral traffic, organic traffic, and the number of new leads being generated from your gated content and enrolling in your email marketing. 
  • More sales — Look at your conversion rates, average lead score, and your sales team’s close rate.
  • SEO — Look at search visibility, keyword rankings, and organic search traffic.
  • Customer relations — Look at referrals, client reviews, and your average client lifespan.  

When you hone in on the right metrics, you ensure that you’re paying attention where it really counts. You also give yourself the best opportunity to see where and how you need to tweak your marketing plan.

3. You Lacked Consistency

A marketing plan isn’t a one and done kind of thing. Truly effective marketing comes down to consistency — with your paid advertising, your content marketing, your email marketing, and so on. If you just jump from strategy to strategy, you’re not giving your team a chance to see what’s working and what’s not. You’re also running the risk of confusing your customers.

At its core, marketing is about controlling the conversation around your brand. You want to set the dialogue in terms of your identity and your values, and to make those ideas and values a central part of how current and potential customers perceive you. If you’re not consistent with your marketing, you’re not strengthening your brand messaging. This opens the doors for others to set it for you, and can also cloud the perceptions that others have of you.

When you’re forming your marketing plan, always keep consistency in mind. What are the common threads that are tying all of your individual pieces of content together? What is the overall message you are sending about your company? What is your unique voice, and is it coming through in all variables of your campaigns?

Consistency builds trust, authority, and awareness. And in turn, these factors help get you closer to your major goals. Aim to be consistent in everything you do related to marketing, and your message will be a lot more impactful.

There’s a difference between hard work and difficult work. If you go into your marketing plan with clear direction and a strategy for measuring your success, then you’ll take out a lot of the hurdles that can stand in the way of productive marketing.

Ultimately, every single tactic and every single step of your marketing plan should be driven toward promoting your brand identity and furthering your established goals. And if you approach your plan with these factors in mind, you’ve already got a serious leg up on everyone who doesn’t.