Marketing is probably the most important aspect of businesses in terms of conveying the value of products or services to people at large. It covers a lot of different activities with a sole intent of increasing the bottom line. A good marketing approach involves incorporating the right amount of advertising, promotions, and public relations.
For small businesses, marketing efforts play a critical role in keeping them afloat. Whether it is about running a restaurant, a travel agency, a software firm, or an e-commerce company, effective marketing strategies are very important for enticing potential clients and customers. However, it’s seen that most entrepreneurs and business owners aren’t marketing experts, which is why successfully building and executing an effective strategy is a far cry for them.
If you are running a small or medium-sized business, you must understand the complexities that go into implementing various marketing practices; failing which, you would most probably fall short of achieving your business goals. Therefore, as a responsible business owner, you must avoid making these common marketing mistakes.
Here are some key small business marketing mistakes that can be deadly for your company:
Not doing enough marketing research
This is one of the gravest mistakes committed by small businesses while taking their marketing efforts off the ground. Marketing research encompasses knowing your customers’ needs, understanding current market conditions, and gaining valuable insight into your competition. The insufficient market research corresponds to not at all understanding your customers’ pain points. Thus, understanding their pain points paves a way for developing powerful strategies, which is when your prospects start realizing you offer pertinent solutions to their needs. An exhaustive market research is highly critical in making decisions about what products or decisions to offer and how to sell them. The market research process reveals further information regarding product branding, product differentiation, marketing campaigns, pricing strategies, and much more. It provides a clear understanding of how a price change may affect demand in the market, what kind of advertising appeals to your target market, and which media channels will help you the most.
Not creating a strong plan and budget for marketing
A solid marketing plan is extremely vital in terms of leveraging your resources and audience to achieve maximum impact at minimum cost. Entrepreneurs and business owners who do not have a well-written, strong marketing plan are more prone to failure. They also end up with an insufficient marketing budget. A marketing plan is a key to implement a successful marketing strategy that includes best tactics, cost, how, where and what to do, analysis of result and predictions. It also includes the detailed planning, allocation, communications, expenditures, objectives and overall monitoring of your marketing efforts. A detailed marketing plan along with the marketing budget is essentially aligning your marketing goals with your company’s strategic goals and vision for growth. It is pertinent to draft a written strategy, which will help you coordinate your executive team, sales team, and marketing team. When it comes to planning and budget, small businesses should typically earmark 9 to 12% of the total revenue for their marketing efforts.
Ineffective communication to employees as well as customers
A culture of effective communication in any business is important in many ways. It enhances management-employee relations, allows coordinated efforts to take place, and eliminates misunderstanding & misrepresentation among employees. Whether it is employees or customers, a lack of proper communication could leave you high and dry. According to a survey by Fierce Inc. 86% of business owners blamed lack of collaboration or ineffective communication for workplace failures. A good communication strategy is the one in which the information trickles down to every level so that your employees feel valued in the decision-making process.
Furthermore, every small business thrives by developing a great relationship with its customers, which is why communicating with them effectively becomes an important aspect of making sales. An effective customer communication includes initiating conversations over the phone, sending/receiving e-mails, discussing sales proposals, and interacting on social media. Since technology has made it possible to expand communication, you have to be accessible to multiple channels. Personalized communication could help you immensely, so regardless of which channel you are communicating, make sure to keep it personalized.
Not having a powerful social media presence
The rise of social media has proven to be a profound boon to small businesses if used properly. Today, billions of people are communicating, interacting, and connecting through popular social media channels. According to a Hubspot study, 90% of all marketers say social media marketing has increased their business exposure. Another statistics reveals 97% of customers use online sources to research products or services in their area. Clearly, these figures suggest lacking a profound social media presence could be detrimental for small businesses. Thus creating profiles on various social media channels will significantly help your business in terms of visibility through search result pages. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Tumblr, YouTube are the most prominent social networks that you can harness to your advantage. A profound social media presence goes a long way towards building brand awareness, increase your audience base, and converting them into loyal customers; so put your best foot forward.
Poor web design
For small businesses, it’s not just important to have a website, but a great web design can make a lot of difference, actually. Investing in a quality website will beef up your marketing campaign so that you can have a long-term relationship with your customers. Your website houses the basic information as to what your business is all about and from where prospective customers get the very first impression. If you want your website to represent your company and the great work you do, a good web design is the need of the hour. Web content has a crucial role to make your website informative and appealing. In a beautifully built website, when you post relevant articles, blogs, engaging videos, and insightful infographics, you will successfully engage users and attract them toward your business. There are a number of ways of creating quality a website, for example, WordPress, Drupal, and Joomla are among the prominent CMS platforms available for web design. Comparing them will give you a fair idea as to which one is right for you.
Not targeting the right audience
It doesn’t matter how great your logo, ad campaigns or message is, if you have targeted the wrong audience, you are draining out your valuable efforts, time and money. Only when you’ve zeroed in on your target audience can you understand what problems you can solve for them. The performance potential of your marketing initiatives will not bear any fruit unless you have no idea how to reach your target audience. You have to incorporate steps for narrowing down your target market. Many entrepreneurs start their business with a notion that their products or services are good for everyone, but that’s not the case. Remember, you are here to address a specific problem of your target audience. You have to put concerted efforts to understand which solutions your target audience needs for their problems. How exactly are your products or services tailor-made for them? Misreading your audience can force your business go on a wrong way.
Failing to measure your marketing results
There’s no point in initiating a powerful marketing campaign, but failing to understand whether it is generating leads or leaving some gaping holes. When you are spending a significant amount of money on marketing, you need to measure everything you do. If you are unaware of what kind of traction you got from a specific strategy, you’ll have no idea if you made a return on your investment. By measuring your marketing efforts, you gain an understanding of what works the best for you, what doesn’t, and what more can you do to expand your small business. After all, you have to figure out which marketing activities are needed to stop, and which ones to repeat. Companies that measure their marketing results consistently are more likely to succeed even in difficult times. They reinvest in tried and tested activities and quickly know whether they have made the cut or not.
There’s a thin line that separates success from failure, especially for small businesses – you make a small mistake and pay a heavy price for that. Thus, by doing away with these seven fatal mistakes you will start growing profitably by reaching out to more customers.
Related Article: How to Create and Execute Outstanding Marketing Strategies.