Marketing is an important aspect of advertising and expanding your small business. Yet, all too often, small business owners experiment with new marketing strategies without assessing the results or understanding how they relate to their objectives. It can lead to a small firm slashing its marketing budget–or skipping it entirely. So, in order to know how and where to spend your marketing dollars, you must first avoid the marketing blunders that so many business owners make.
Here are common marketing blunders made by small businesses, along with tips on how to avoid them:
They view marketing as a cost rather than an investment.
An cost is something you purchase and then depreciate over time. An investment is something you buy that will grow in value over time. Marketing’s only goal is to convert more leads into consumers and keep them as adoring fans. So, if you run your small business with marketing as an expense, ready to cancel marketing initiatives and programmes when times become tough, you might want to rethink your marketing strategy.
When circumstances are tough and sales are down, the initial instinct is to cut back on marketing spending. This is the worst decision I’ve ever made. Marketing is the catalyst that will help you develop and create new opportunities.
Not creating a defined marketing strategy and budget.
It’s an old adage that still applies today: failing to plan is intending to fail. Small firms who don’t have a sound marketing plan are more likely to fail, and they usually don’t have the necessary marketing budget. According to the Content Marketing Institute’s 2016 marketing trends report, B2B marketers said having a documented content marketing strategy increased their effectiveness significantly, and 40% of marketers deemed least effective (based on how effective they rated their content marketing) had no written marketing strategy.
“Just Do It,” is my counsel to you as a small business owner. Take the time to create a marketing strategy. Make sure to factor in the financial implications of implementing each technique when you build your marketing strategy. The usual rule of thumb for most small firms is that marketing should account for 9-12 percent of revenue. If you’re a startup or in the early phases of your business, you may need to invest more as your brand grows.
Website design and maintenance, inbound marketing, marketing collateral, Facebook advertisements, logo creation, and, if required, locating and hiring a freelancer to assist with the aspects of your plan you don’t have the expertise to execute on should all be outlined in your plan. Money for technology and software solutions that will give a return-on-investment of your overall marketing activities should be included in your budget planning.
You’re going after the wrong people.
You’re wasting marketing resources if you’re targeting the incorrect audience, no matter how good your messaging, brand, or ad campaigns are. When you target the masses and go with your “gut” or a preconceived assumption about who your prospect or customer is rather than looking at statistics about who is actually making purchases, your marketing costs will skyrocket and your sales conversions will drop.
Spend time learning why people buy from you and what problem they were trying to solve when they came across you. Send a feedback survey via email marketing or a basic NPS survey. The marketing efforts can then be changed to fit the outcomes and demographics such as gender, age, industry, and the reasons they purchased something. Misreading an audience might lead to disaster for your small business. If you target your ideal buyer, on the other hand, you’ll get the most out of your marketing budget and attract and retain more clients.
Not being able to differentiate your goods or service.
It’s uncommon for a company to invent a new category or offer a product or service that has never been seen before. Small firms confront competition in most areas, which is why they must express their distinct value proposition—what makes them stand out. You’ll need a good rationale that’s simple to articulate and gives consumers a compelling incentive to choose you over your competition.
Instead of only selling to potential clients, use your marketing to educate them. It is easier for consumers to make a purchasing decision if you educate them in a way that outlines what sets you apart from your competitors. You can’t expect a potential consumer to be able to describe why your product or service is special if you can’t.
You have no idea what your competitors are doing in terms of marketing.
Keep track of what your competitors are doing in terms of marketing and analyse their efforts to identify which projects work and which fail. Are there any strategies that they tried and then never used again? Which do they use on a month-to-month basis? To better understand the best SEO or PPC approach for your organisation, use a tool like Spyfu. Google Alerts is another simple service that allows you to keep up with real-time information on your nearest competition.
You may learn from the triumphs and failures of your competitors’ marketing activities and better deploy your marketing resources to discover new customers by paying attention to their marketing efforts.