As we go into a new year, most people are resetting their goals, retargeting their business, and creating marketing plans. Good companies are making sure they learn from the mistakes of the past and don’t repeat them.
However, the very best aren’t just learning from their own mistakes, they’re avoiding mistakes others have made as well. Small businesses don’t have much room for error because they have fewer resources and personnel.
Here are 8 small business mistakes that you cannot afford to make this year.
1. Not Having a Marketing Plan
If you’re going to succeed, you need a clear strategy. You can’t engage in “random acts of marketing” and hope that your ideal customers see your messaging.
A good marketing plan has several components and covers a variety of marketing methods. You need a plan for your website, your social media outreach, any print marketing you choose to do, email marketing, and more.
To create a plan, first set goals in each area of outreach. Then determine what steps you need to take to reach those goals.
For instance, perhaps you have a goal to be on Page 1 of Google for five locally focused keywords. The steps to take would be to find a high-quality SEO marketing firm, work with them to determine the right keywords to target, and then create content around those terms.
From there, the marketing agency can monitor your results and take other steps to help boost your SEO so that your website moves closer and closer to Google’s first page.
2. Not Being Clear on How Your Company Is Unique
Every business needs to answer this question: Why would a client or customer choose you over any of the hundreds of other options available?
If you don’t have a compelling answer to this question, you don’t have a solid foundation for your marketing strategy. Unfortunately, many companies are afraid to be unique and instead try to blend in by doing what everyone else is doing.
This approach doesn’t attract clients and will quickly lead to the failure of your business. Don’t make this mistake – find a reason you’re unique and make that the center of your marketing message!
3.Not Targeting the Right Audience
Just like you need to be clear on why you’re unique, you need to be aware of exactly who your ideal customers are. Remember:
If you try to appeal to everyone, you will appeal to no one.
Don’t be afraid to eliminate certain types of people who are not right for your product, service, or approach to the world.
Thug Kitchen and Dollar Shave Club are two companies that use profanity at will in their marketing materials. This means they don’t appeal to everyone, but they do appeal to the right folks. Both companies are very successful. If your ideal customers swear, then you can swear! If not, don’t.
Being crystal-clear on exactly who your ideal customer is will tell you what the right approach will be. You want to speak their language, whatever that means, in all of your outreach.
4. Not Having an Appropriate Marketing Budget
Too many small businesses see marketing as an expense rather than an investment in growth. This causes them to trim their marketing budget and keep it as small as possible – or even to not invest in marketing at all.
Unfortunately, it takes money to get your name out there, build your brand, and gain the trust of your market. If you don’t have the right thought process, you’ll fail to earmark enough resources for this, which will stunt your company’s growth.
Remember that marketing is an investment in your success – in your brand, your visibility, and your sales process. No one will become a customer if they don’t first get to know, like, and trust you.
Create an appropriate marketing budget and stick to it!
5. Not Keeping Tabs on Competitor’s Marketing
It’s easy to focus on what your company is doing to the point that you forget about the rest of your industry. In some ways, this prevents you from becoming distracted. But if you never check on your competitors, you might miss some significant trends.
Changes in the market happen frequently, and watching your competitors’ strategies can help you see what’s coming. It can also show you what doesn’t work so you can avoid that mistake.
At Local SEO Search, when we work on a client’s SEO strategy, we always make sure we monitor their competitors’ SEO approach and keywords as well. It helps our clients stay ahead of the pack and ensures that no one misses a shift in the business environment.
6. Not Selling to Your Current Customers
Getting new customers or clients is expensive, but selling to those who have already purchased from you is not. Unfortunately, too many companies’ marketing process ends after the sale.
A purchase is just the beginning of a long-term relationship with your brand! You want to nurture previous buyers, continue to connect with them, and offer them additional products and services regularly.
Acquiring a new customer costs six times more than upselling or cross-selling someone you’ve already worked with. Create a strategy to nurture your customers and clients over time so that they make additional purchases, refer others to you, and become ambassadors for your brand.
7. Not Measuring the Results of Your Marketing
All successful marketing is maintained by measuring the results and optimizing regularly. This means you notice which of your strategies has a higher conversion rate and which do not. Get rid of the ones that don’t work and commit more resources to the ones that do.
Not measuring your results means that you have no idea if your marketing tactics are working. You can’t assume something will work for you just because it did for another company – the proof will be in the numbers.
Having clear goals set from the beginning (see Mistake #1 above) will help you decide what to measure. For SEO, you may want to track your website traffic and Google ranking. For social media, followers, comments, and clicks might be appropriate.
Measuring your marketing is essential to making sure you spend your limited resources on what really matters!
8 . Trying to Do It Yourself
This is the most common mistake for small business owners. In an effort to keep costs down, owners either do all the marketing themselves, or assign the work to a single employee who may or may not have an appropriate skill-set for the task.
As a result, the expertise is not there, even when the energy, enthusiasm, and effort are. You end up wasting hundreds of hours creating marketing pieces that may not do their job effectively instead of doing what you do best – creating the products and services that meet the needs and wants of your customers!
Don’t try to go it alone. Choose to work with a marketing agency that understands the specific needs of small business owners. Local SEO Search has worked with over 10,000 small business owners in a variety of industries. Small business is our expertise.
If you’re ready to find out what it feels like to have truly effective digital marketing, we’re here to help. We can take it off your plate so that you can focus on what you do best – keeping your business running smoothly.
We offer a free 30-minute consultation. Contact us today to find out what we can do for your company!