People often say that mistakes are valuable because you learn from them. However, it is unlikely you will see it that way if you make costly mistakes with your small business marketing. For many small businesses, once the annual marketing budget has been spent, there will be no more funds available until next year. So, getting the marketing right the first time is crucial.
There are so many potential ways of marketing a small business, though. So, it’s easy to see how some companies do fall into marketing traps. But, learning about some of the common mistakes that other small business owners make should help you avoid the same fate. Here are ten aspects of marketing that some small businesses get very wrong
1. Failing to Differentiate the Brand
Any business must establish a unique selling proposition (USP). But too many small business owners fail to recognize what makes their brand different. Instead, they follow the me-too approach to marketing. Almost every conceivable marketplace is crowded, with many companies all vying for the same customers. And the internet has made it easy for consumers to compare one business with another. So, brands must differentiate themselves if they are to make themselves visible in such a busy space.
2. Trying to Appeal to Everyone
Small businesses do not have the resources to appeal to mass markets. Even if you sell a product with a broad appeal, your marketing dollars would be better spent targeting niches rather than selling to every customer imaginable. Identify segments of markets and tailor marketing to those small groups. Then, you will be to differentiate your business from the big advertisers and appeal directly to that small group of the population.
3. Not Researching Competitors
There is always something new to be learned about marketing, and one way you can discover more is by studying what your competitors are doing. Find out what platforms they are using to reach new customers. Look at how they are positioning their products and the types of content they are using and do some research to discover what keywords your competitors are targeting. It would not be advisable to follow what other companies are doing blindly. Even so, you might get some new ideas by researching your competitors’ marketing tactics.
4. Not Treating Marketing as an Investment
Marketing is not a tap that you can turn on and off. Marketing is a long-term investment that will generate a return in time. So, don’t expect instant results from all your marketing activities, and don’t be too hasty to cut the marketing budget when sales take a dip. Steady investment in well-thought-out, well-targeted marketing now will generate new leads in the future. However, if you keep stopping and starting, you will lose the interest of your target market.
5. Not Investing Enough in Marketing
Small businesses must be careful with how much they spend on marketing. Even so, you do need to invest a reasonable amount of money in marketing if you want to see results. It would be best if you put time into your marketing projects, too. It’s not enough to have the best product. You must make people aware that the product exists, and you must give them reasons why they should buy it. And the best way to get your message out to your target market is through your advertising and marketing.
6. Blowing the Budget on One Big Campaign
One of the most common mistakes that small businesses make with marketing is that they put all their faith in one type of marketing and then find that it doesn’t work. By the time it has become clear that the marketing is not producing results, the entire budget has been spent. Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising is an excellent example of something that can quickly eat up a marketing budget if it is not adequately controlled. It would be better to spread your marketing budget over several campaigns. And make sure that you keep a tight lid on expenditure. You want to ensure that you always have funds left to try something new if an existing campaign fails to produce results.
7. Hiring but Not Directing Marketing Resources
Marketing can, of course, be delegated or outsourced, but it would be a big mistake to hand over marketing tasks to anyone else without giving proper direction. A small business owner knows their business the best. So, it is the owner who should at least be setting the general objectives of marketing campaigns and, of course, approving the budgets. Even the best professional marketing companies need guidance and input from their clients.
8. Being Reluctant to Try Anything New
Some entrepreneurs prefer to stick with what they know best. However, new ways to reach customers are always emerging, and different advertising opportunities are continually coming online. So, it would be advisable to try to keep abreast of the latest developments in marketing opportunities. Be prepared to test the water with a few new marketing strategies from time to time. Don’t get stuck in a rut with your marketing. If you do, your competitors may take the initiative and be the first to capitalize on a new opportunity
9. Not Tracking Results
If you do not track results, you will never know what works and what does not. If you don’t know what is not working, you will continue spending money on ineffective marketing. So, study website analytics to find what type of content attracts the most views. Keep a log of calls generated by advertising campaigns, and track conversions created by your pay-per-click advertising. Collating marketing statistics can be time-consuming, but it is the best way to ensure that your marketing spend is not being wasted.
10. Not Having a Marketing Plan
The best marketing campaigns are mapped out in advance. But some small business owners make the mistake of treating marketing as an as-needed process. As already mentioned, marketing is best treated as a long-term investment. So, create a long-term marketing plan that identifies your target market, sets objectives, and lays down the steps required to achieve your goals. Developing a marketing plan will help you get your ideas together and avoid making many of the marketing mistakes mentioned above.
The best way to control your marketing spend and get results is first to develop a marketing plan. Then, don’t be afraid to try new ways of marketing your service or product, and avoid blowing your budget on one experiment. It would be better to target your marketing towards a small market segment instead of a broad audience. But, if you dedicate enough time and resources to a marketing strategy, you can get impressive results even on a limited but realistic budget.