Marketing is essential for small businesses. When it comes to effective promotion of your business and increasing sales, knowing what works best can help you make the most of the resources available to you.
But with so much conflicting advice out there, many small business owners struggle with this. It can be a challenge to know how to market a business effectively.
So, here are some of the most common marketing pitfalls small business owners make:
1. Lacking a Marketing Plan
If you want your time and money to be spent productively, it is vital that you make a plan first. According to a survey from the Content Marketing Institute, marketers with a detailed plan in place reported higher levels of effectiveness overall.
Before implementing a strategy, it is essential to make sure you cover everything, including costs and what proportion of your marketing budget should be allocated to each area.
For example, you will need to consider the costs of inbound marketing, ads, logo design, website maintenance, lead generation, and more. Your budget should be flexible - if one area is going exceptionally well, you could consider spending more on it.
2. Failing to Research the Competition
If you’re going to differentiate your product or service in the marketplace, you need to understand what your competitors are doing. This includes their marketing and in other areas of their business, including products, customer service, delivery times, and more.
The purpose of doing this isn’t to copy them. It’s to see what they’re doing that works and what you can improve on. You can also use your research to see how customers perceive them.
Once you know who your target audience is, you can use social media and forums to find out what customers think of your competitors. Doing this means you can learn from their successes and failures, which helps you figure out where to focus your efforts.
3. Lacking an Online Presence
Despite a majority of consumers using the internet for researching products and services, a lot of small businesses still don’t have a website or other online presence.
The impact of this can be devastating. Even for local businesses that rely on offline transactions, many customers still use search engines for research before making a purchase.
First and foremost, if your business doesn’t have a website, this is a must. Luckily, you can create a website with minimal skills using an online service like WordPress. There are plenty of DIY website builders available that make it easy to build a suitable site.
After doing this, you can start to build your online presence using tools like Google, as well as social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, or Pinterest. This can drive real results for your business, along with providing valuable insights.
4. Not Valuing Existing Customers
It usually costs a lot less to keep an existing customer than it does to acquire a new one. Yet, despite this, a lot of businesses fail to recognize the value of their current, loyal customers.
Although attracting new potential buyers is central to any solid marketing strategy, it is essential not to forget about your existing ones. Focusing some of your efforts on cross-selling or upselling can significantly improve your results.
In addition to this, it is important to remember that many customers will check your reviews and testimonials before making a purchase. Because of this, you need to keep your existing customers happy if you want to maintain a positive reputation.
5. Inconsistent or Insufficient Branding
Your company’s brand is so much more than your logo. Your brand is the image, mission, and personality that meets new prospective customers and clients. It should accurately represent who you are, what you are trying to accomplish, and your ideal customer. Failing to properly develop your brand will result in confusion, missed opportunities, and obstacles when initiating sales.
Start with your mission statement. Write a few lines or paragraphs that clearly identify what you do and why you do it. Then identify who your ideal customer is. Determine their age, income level, gender, marital status, living situation, occupation, location, etc. Make this picture as clear as possible, and tailor your business to them. This means everything from your logo to your business name to the font you use on your website should be attractive to this ideal customer, while simultaneously representing you. You may want to enlist the help of an experienced team to help you during this process.
You can spend hours reading articles that provide solutions for each of these mistakes, and you should! But more importantly, learn from the mistakes and successes of others. The more information you have in the beginning, the more successful you will be.
By: Glenn Harmon and Noah Wright
PS: Make sure that your workspace promotes productivity. You may want to utilize a Coworking Space if your home office isn’t cutting it.