Most business professionals are aware that marketing drives sales. As an entrepreneur, you may have allocated a healthy amount of money to a marketing budget, but funding a marketing plan is not all that it takes to achieve success in this important aspect of your operations. The unfortunate reality is that many small business owners and entrepreneurs make substantial marketing mistakes that can have lingering or even catastrophic results.
In some cases, marketing mistakes may simply waste valuable financial resources needlessly. In other cases, these mistakes can do true damage to the company’s reputation or have other serious ramifications. While you could learn about these mistakes through painful trial and error, a smarter idea is to educate yourself about them ahead of time so that you have a better idea about how to properly market for your small business and reduce the chance of making serious mistakes.
1. Lack of a Professional Website
When you have a very small business, it makes sense to conserve financial resources as much as possible. However, a professional website is not an extra expense that you can put off for another day when financial resources are abundant. A professional website is a necessity in today’s business world. It can be used as a marketing tool to help your business obtain new leads and sales. However, it also is an essential component to your company’s legitimacy and clout. Many consumers view businesses that lack a website with scrutiny. You can see that this can be detrimental to your business regardless of how small it may currently be.
2. No Cohesive Marketing Message
Marketing messages can be fun and creative, but you should not rush through the marketing planning process. When you haphazardly throw messages around in different marketing formats, you run the risk of confusing your customers. You may also lose their focus and fail to achieve results. On the other hand, when your marketing message is cohesive and uniform, you can build a solid reputation and establish brand recognition. Keep in mind that cohesive and uniform does not mean stale and boring.
3. Not Understanding Their Target Audience
Marketing is a way for you to speak to your audience about your products or services. Some companies make the mistake of putting their voice out into the world without paying any attention to who is actually listening to their message. Consider the different approach that you would take when speaking to a young adult audience in comparison to a middle-aged audience with teens at home or older retirees. You must understand who your target audience is and what their motivators are. Then, you must create a message that speaks directly to them. If you have a segmented audience with very different types of people in the segments, it may be necessary to approach your marketing efforts in a fragmented way.
4. Minimal or No Marketing Plan
It is common for small business owners to toss marketing efforts out into the world as funds permit or when business is slow, but this is detrimental. Both online and offline marketing efforts should be steady and have a consistent message. You should have a marketing plan developed ahead of time, and your efforts should correspond with this strategic plan. For example, you may plan to post to your social media accounts several times per week. You may develop these messages ahead of time, and you may even use a marketing software program or application to control the delivery of these messages.
5. Poor Analysis
Savvy business owners regularly improve their marketing efforts. Through careful analysis of results from current efforts, you may be able to reduce spending going forward or revise your messages so that they are more effective. The delivery method and time may also be tweaked. If you are not currently analyzing your marketing results, you may be missing out on the ability to obtain valuable information that can improve your operations in different ways. If you are already receiving analytical data, you may need to improve your review process or adjust how you use this data.
6. Not Being Unique
At first glance, it makes sense to look at the competition to see what works from a marketing perspective. Mimicking those efforts could potentially produce similar results, but this is not always the case. The unfortunate reality is that some customers may view a company that follows or tags along as being second-rate or a copycat, and this can be detrimental to your image. It is important that you create your own image with customized messages, promotions and more. You need to be bold enough to confidently proceed with exciting marketing plans that you develop through your own creativity. This may even include using alternative platforms that the competition has not yet even thought about using. Even though something has not yet been done before, it may still be a wonderful and lucrative idea.
You can see that there are many perils and pitfalls associated with small business marketing. Some of these efforts or oversights may simply cost a company valuable financial resources unnecessarily, and others may ultimately lead to the demise of the company in some cases. Marketing impacts expenses, sales, reputation, brand image and more. You must have a thoughtful marketing plan that is based on originality and research if you want your business to proceed with the best foot forward. Review your efforts with these mistakes in mind to determine how you can strategically improve your marketing efforts.