With so many small businesses and startups competing to be the best and biggest in their respective fields, it’s crucial to have a solid marketing strategy in place. This makes you stand out above the rest. Some entrepreneurs might not have much capital or advertising experience but making marketing mistakes can cost precious time and resources. It’s crucial to avoid as many mistakes as possible.
The good news is the majority of these business blunders are avoidable, provided you have a better understanding of what you should and shouldn’t do. Let’s take a closer look at seven frequent small business marketing mistakes you can do your utmost to avoid—or rectify—so your company can not only survive but thrive.
1. Failing to Plan
If you fail to plan, you plan to fail. Not having a marketing plan and budget in place is the equivalent of going to the grocery store without your shopping list and allocated cash in hand. You may remember some or most of the things you intended to buy. However, you’re likely to end up with more unnecessary items than you bargained—or budgeted—for.
Writing down your marketing plan and budget helps you visualize what you’d like to achieve. It also keeps you accountable as you put realistic steps in place to transform this into a reality. Often entrepreneurs leave out this part. Through careful planning NOW, you’ll spare yourself months or years of excessive marketing spending in the future.
You’ll know how much you’ve specifically allocated to each category of your marketing strategy and ensure you haven’t forgotten important aspects. With so many benefits of a marketing plan, it’s clear how vital this is for a small business’ success.
2. Winging it Without a Website
You’ve probably heard before that if you don’t have a website, your business doesn’t exist. Having an online presence is critical in the modern market. Even if you’re a small local start-up, it pays to have a website because it will make you more searchable online. In addition, you’ll open yourself up to a wider audience who relies on the web to investigate companies before deciding whether or not to do business with them.
Even if you can’t initially budget to pay someone to design a website for you, try doing it yourself with various free tools and templates to get you going. Prospective customers like to visualize a company. If they can see who you are, what you do and how you can help them, they’re more likely to connect with you and keep your products and services in mind.
3. Designing Your Brand Poorly
First impressions really do count. In fact, 94% of first impressions are formed about websites purely because of their appearance. By not having a smartly designed brand, you’re losing out on potential customers.
An eye-catching design is what’ll attract the attention of web browsers. This could ultimately lead them to purchasing your product or using your services. There are numerous ways how effective brand design can both boost your business and draw in more clients. Ensure that brand design is part of your marketing plan and budget.
4. Missing Out On Social Media Marketing
It’s arguably one of the most influential tools you can use in the modern digital marketplace, but social media is often missed. If your small business doesn’t already have a Facebook or Instagram page, set one up pronto. It simply doesn’t pay not to keep up with technological trends in today’s business world.
It’s worth the investment to acquire the help of a social media marketing specialist. These professionals have the hours and expertise to dedicate to monitoring your accounts and updating your pages. Through this, you’ll tap into an entirely different niche of potential clients.
Social media marketing need not cost a lot, yet it’s an incredibly effective advertising method. The added bonus is you’ll link your social media accounts to your website and increase online traffic and interest to your company.
5. Forgetting Your Competitors
Don’t forget your contenders—they can be the key to your victory!
When starting out as a small business or start-up, it’s infinitely valuable to look at your competitors. By knowing who your industry rivals already are, you’ll know how to rise up against them.
You’ll always learn by observing others:
- Watch your competitors closely—whether they’re local or international—and examine their marketing approaches, so you can see what flourishes and fails.
- Simply by searching on Google and keeping an eye on successful competitors’ social media pages, you’ll have a better idea of their strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.
- Through tracking their regular monthly and seasonal campaigns, you’ll be inspired to see what you can implement in your own business.
- Watch out for the marketing mistakes your rivals make to ensure you don’t follow suit.
6. Targeting the Wrong Market
With a distorted view of your ideal client base, you might be missing out on addressing the audience who can actually benefit from your products and services. You may think you’ve researched and determined your target market, but misreading them can cost you immensely.
For example, perhaps you open up a coffee shop envisioning it as the perfect place where businessmen can either meet up for lunchtime meetings or grab a cup to go on their way to work. You design and decorate the space with a very corporate feel and offer items on the menu which you think will appeal to this target audience.
Instead of this scenario playing out, you realize that more and more students are frequenting your coffee shop in their study breaks, and high school students are coming past for milkshakes on their way home from class. In order to keep the attention of this younger audience, you realize you’ll need to change your décor, menu and marketing strategy, as they’re your main customer base bringing in more of a profit.
This could have been avoided if you’d conducted better market analysis initially.
7. Overlooking Your Current Clients
Small business and start up owners often tend to think the most effective way they can attract clients is to appeal to a fresh, new prospective base. However, it takes time to build up a customer network, and investing too much time and money in this might not produce the desired results.
It’s important not to forget the clients you already have. You don’t only want them to do business with you once or twice, but you need to have a long term customer relationship view in mind.
By brainstorming how you can keep your existing clients interested in your company, you might even be able to cross sell or upsell them. This is actually easier than finding a completely new customer who hasn’t interacted with you before.
You need to do everything possible to guarantee your company is headed in a positive direction towards a bright and successful future. Remembering these seven small business marketing mistakes to avoid, you’ll be sure to invest your money, time and effort correctly, increasing your chances of scaling quickly. Good luck!
Alice Scott is a passionate writer and blogger who specializes in topics related to digital branding, blogging, and online business. She loves having Churros with her cat Chubby and morning walks.