As a small business owner, you are more than likely pulled in 101 directions over the course of any day. You are the sales person, product team, marketing manager, operations director, finance manager and IT team all rolled into one.
But marketing is needed for growth. And it’s important to keep your eye on the ball.
These are the 10 most common small business marketing mistakes I see when dealing with small businesses – I want to highlight them so if this is you, you can hopefully address them!
1) Not having a website
It may sound simple, but it’s the single most important thing you can do to make sure yourself visible to buyers. If you tend to generate a lot of business through referrals, spending time on getting your website done can seem fairly pointless – but, should the tide turn, your website acts as your shopfront for buyers looking for people just like you. Websites no longer cost a fortune and at the very least should provide details on what you offer and how to contact you. They also offer the trust and credibility messages your referrals need, to be sure they are right in choosing you.
2) Not using the data
Most, if not all social and digital platforms offer some form of analytics. We know that not everyone enjoys looking at lists of figures and charts, but it can provide invaluable insight. If you don’t track anything, how will you know what’s working? Spend some time tracking click-throughs to certain content, calls that you receive in response to any pay-per-click ads you’ve posted and analysing who is looking at what and when.
3) Not watching the competition
Keep an eye on what your closest competitors are doing. What marketing seems to be working for them? What isn’t? You’ll get a sense of this by simply seeing what they publish consistently and what is a one-off.
4) You don’t have a clear USP
Very few businesses offer something which is completely unique so getting your positioning and USP right will make all the difference to where you sit in your market. Think about what problem it is you want to solve. Why does it matter? How can your company help others and what’s the impact? Spend time working on this. Getting your positioning right will help you stand out from the rest of the noise.
5) You don’t know your audience
In today’s digital world, the concept of ‘mass market’ doesn’t really exist anymore. Audiences are fragmented and found in all sorts of places. A broad approach to marketing, depending on your offer, might not work and each audience may be drawn to different parts of your offer and even the language that you use. That’s not to say you can’t target multiple markets – of course you can -but be mindful that you may need to develop a strategy and messaging for each one.
6) Adopting a scatter-gun approach
There are so many ways to market your business these days and everyone has ideas about what works and what doesn’t. If you’re short on time, it’s easy to look at trying a bunch of stuff to try and get ‘marketing’ done ticked-off your to-do list. Take the time to sit and plan your approach and strategy. Research shows that company’s which have a clear marketing strategy is twice as likely to have a marketing programme which works and drives sales.
7) Using the wrong social channels
It’s easy to stick to things you know well and forget about the rest. For example, if you’re a heavy Twitter user, it’s understandable if the majority of your marketing is via this platform. But, if you’re trying to reach an audience who doesn’t really use this medium, your efforts might end up wasted.
8) Putting your eggs all in one basket
Be brave. Don’t be afraid to try new things to see how they work. If you have got your positioning right and you know where to find your audience, then try something new to see what works (using your shiny new-found data analytics skills!). Investing significant amounts of capital into one approach is not only costly, but can also compromise your long-term business growth.
9) Trying to do it all yourself
Your marketing efforts may be going someway to help the business, but we can guarantee that there will be other ways that have more of an impact that you may not be aware of. There is a lot of great marketing support and expertise out there (*waving hello!*). Use it. Call on the experts to help. Great marketing doesn’t need to cost a fortune – sometimes it just needs a few hours of planning to focus time and effort.
10) Not doing any marketing at all
To some this might sound tempting, not least because it would be one less thing to worry about, but without marketing, the engine of your business has no fuel to propel it to grow and succeed. But, you wouldn’t do that, would you…?
Do you need some help fuelling your business? We’d love to talk to you. Get in touch today for a no-obligation chat about how we can help.