Marketing is an important cog in any small business’s success.
And when you’re starting a business, marketing yourself isn’t necessarily the first thing that comes to mind. There are so many things to think about, and decisions to make, and that pressure can cause you to make a poor decision that could set your business back.
The United States Small Business Administration recently released a blog entitled “7 Common Marketing Mistakes to Avoid.”
Any of these mistakes can result in negative outcomes for your small business. In this blog, you’ll find out what to avoid from these marketing mishaps and how to steer clear of them.
Mistake 1: Not setting goals for your marketing efforts
As Rieva Lesonsky states in the SBA blog, small business owners need to “set measurable, specific goals for each marketing campaign so you can assess its success.”
If you don’t set metric-based goals, in particular, you’ll never know if you’ve succeeded or not. Start creating goals that are driven by metrics. Make sure you can objectively measure these goals with a marketing plan in place.
Many small business mistakes occur due to a lack of goals or focus. This needs to be a top priority.
Mistake No. 2: Not having a marketing plan
Failing to plan means you are planning to fail. Small businesses that don’t have a rock-solid marketing plan and a proper marketing budget have a high rate of failure.
Take the time to develop a strategic marketing plan. As you create this plan, be sure to address the financial costs that come along with it.
Money and time can be wasted without having a plan in place, especially if you’re advertising in the wrong place or at the wrong time. Target your customer base through the right marketing channels and put in your research to find out what will work and what won’t.
Mistake No. 3: Not marketing to existing customers
Attracting new visitors and buyers is key for any small business, but you can’t forget about the customers you already have.
The customers who come back to you time after time are the core of your business. Studies have shown that acquiring a new customer can be nearly six times more costly than cross-selling or up-selling to an existing one.
Be sure to allocate a portion of your marketing budget to customer advocacy and retention. You will see that it will help move your brand in the right direction and deliver more referrals down the line.
Mistake No. 4: Not managing your reputation
Creating an online presence is a way to stay proactive and a great way to promote your small business. It gives prospects and customers a way to learn about your business. Social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and Google are almost must-haves for any small business.
They give you access to your target audience and can drive results when they are used the right way. You can also use these platforms’ insights and analytic tools to track your success.
Lesonsky notes “it’s vital to keep tabs on what people are saying about your business both online and off.”
It’s always better to not let something fester if a customer makes a comment about your or your business. Reaching out to them shows that you care about them, and your reputation.
Mistake No. 5: Focusing on features, not benefits
If you can’t define why your product or service stands out, you can’t expect a potential customer will be able to either. Use your marketing to educate potential customers about you and your product
Customers don’t always care about your products’ features – they want to know what’s in it for them and what it can do. Create content with the customer in mind and always ask yourself “what’s in it for them?”
Mistake No. 6: No Call To Action
Guiding your customers through marketing material and giving them something to do when they’re done is what every marketer wants.
Don’t forget to include a Call To Action. If you want to create CTAs that crank out conversions, you can make a great start by telling the customer what to do whether it’s calling your phone number, visiting a website or scheduling an appointment online.
Whatever you do, make sure your CTA is clearly defined and visible.
Mistake No. 7: Not paying attention to your competition
This mistake isn’t included in Lesonsky’s piece, but it’s something to always be aware of as a small business owner.
Keep yourself apprised of what your competitors are doing for marketing and study their efforts. You will be able to see what works and what doesn’t.
Setting up a simple Google Alert will help you stay up to date with real-time updates on your closest competitors.
This will help you allocate your marketing resources to find new customers.
There’s always a fine line between success and failure for small business owners. But eliminating these seven costly mistakes and having a sound strategy in place will help you reach more customers and grow your profit margin.