So I am a marketing consultant. I work with many different types of small businesses – I specialise in those with less than 10 employees – local and national reach.
My clients come from many different sectors – some are selling wares to parents, some are therapists, some are trainers & coaches, many are retailers. But despite there being many different marketing strategies, target audiences and products or services to sell there are certain things that I see, time and time again, in my life as a marketing consultant.
So here are my top 5 things I see almost every week as I do the rounds of marketing consultancy in cafes and offices around Brighton & Hove or over Skype with my clients further afield:
1 – Passion, passion and more passion. Oh and a bit of drive to go with it.
It never ceases to amaze me how much passion there is out there. To be a small business owner, you have to love your business and your customers often putting them before your own time and needs. I have heard many a client say “I was up until late last night sorting an issue” or “I have to do a bit of work Saturday to get an order out” – this is not poor time management, but dedication to the cause. It’s inspiring to watch and fuels my own passion every day.
2 – A desire for direction
Many of my clients tell me “I know what I need to do, but I don’t know where to start or what to do first.” Does that sound familiar? This is where I come in – I help clients get some focus so they can put their valuable time and money into the right marketing activities, at the right times and in the right way.
3 – Paying over the odds for websites
Now this is a biggie for me! Building websites can be complicated BUT it doesn’t need to be – with the launch of Content Management Systems like WordPress, building a website for a small business can be a straightforward, cost effective and easy process which delivers what the client needs AND leaves them with the ability to update the site themselves going forwards. I see many clients who have been “advised” to create custom built websites. This only proves to tie them into the designer as they can’t do updates themselves (a costly mistake) and also makes it much more difficult to drive SEO rank in Google. Likewise I have seen clients pay £1000s to web agencies – who again charge way over the odds unnecessarily.
4 – Paying under the odds for websites
This is the counter to point number 3. As much as you don’t want to pay over the odds for a website, it’s not good to pay under the odds either – for free or low cost development solutions. Sites like WIX and Go Daddy are good for small pages needed for the local scout group, but are NOT good for businesses who want to gather any kind of Google ranking and use it as a sales channel. I have a lot of clients who came to me to rebuild new websites after building initial sites in WIX and the like – it’s best to start as you mean to go on. You get what you pay for!
5 – Trying to be on every possible social media channel
This is one phrase I hear myself repeating on a daily basis – “It’s better to do a few social media channels well, than to spread too thinly across too many and do them poorly”. You need to pick 2-3 key channels and work them properly. Social media takes time to make work – you need to post, analyse, learn and start the process again – daily. If you try to do this on too many channels, it will simply fail. So pick the ones most relevant to your target audience, and work them well.