One thing that troubles small business owners worldwide is marketing; your marketing strategy can make or break your business, no matter which industry you are operating in. Brands and businesses spend a lot of time, effort and money on developing a marketing plan which is personable, actionable and effective so as to fully engage and convert their target markets.
The overall success of a marketing strategy doesn’t just depend on a sound plan with money behind it, oh no. For your marketing strategy to be successful, you need to have a deep knowledge of your industry, what to do, what not to do, and of your target market. This is truer for smaller businesses with fewer resources and a narrower error margin.
Unfortunately, growing your brand’s name and finding success on the modern web is no longer down to just a good SEO strategy and a little marketing; small business owners need to fully understand and appreciate their industries and their target market.
Getting marketing right is hard, but getting it wrong is all too easy. Here are five key mistakes which small business owners make with their marketing.
#1: They don’t set specific goals or build a marketing plan
The number one error we see small businesses making with regard to marketing is wading into it without having a plan behind them. Marketing is difficult and trying to tackle it without giving any thought to your goals or creating a plan is a recipe for certain disaster. Without a plan in place, you are trying to move forward without any real sense of direction. All this amounts to is wasted resources and frustration when your marketing investments don’t pay off.
A marketing plan helps you prepare for your marketing campaign(s) with the resources currently available to you. By not creating a marketing plan or setting any goals for your marketing campaign, you are setting yourself up for failure. You cannot see actionable results if you do not have any goals and, even if you did see some form of result, you would not be able to measure them properly and so they would be largely useless.
#2: They do not look at historical results
Historical results and data from current or potential vendors can tell you a lot about the likely success of your marketing strategy, yet many small business owners neglect this and do not even ask for it, let alone take it into account. No matter what industry you are operating in, there will already be a lot of data that exists, data you can use to better inform your marketing campaigns and drive better results.
By not looking at historical data, you are overlooking valuable information that could provide you with lucrative opportunities or completely change the direction of your marketing.
When you are drawing up your marketing strategy, make sure that you are aware of any marketing trends within your industry, how they perform, what works and what doesn’t. Evaluate everything you possibly can – both online and offline – and use it to influence your next steps.
#3: They don’t focus
Small businesses tend to bring on board a whole bunch of different people to work on and influence different parts of a marketing strategy, but this is relatively inefficient and leads to conflicts of interest. Additionally, small business owners don’t tend to be able to properly piece these different bits of marketing together properly, which means that their efficiency goes down the drain as they have to do double the amount of work to put things right.
For example, vendors will focus on building a beautiful, modern and responsive website, but will not consider other things such as their SEO strategy or use any small business SEO services to best optimize it. When they do finally decide to introduce some on-page SEO, they will have to re-create half of their website to accommodate it.
This example can be applied to marketing, not in the context of SEO but in the context of being sporadic and not having everything occur at the same time in the same place. Small business owners should focus properly and look at the bigger picture. When creating your marketing strategy, you need to build an integrated team where everybody is working together on the same project at the same time, and everybody is informed and clued up about what is going on.
If you cannot do this, you should consider hiring an internet marketing company or agency to take care of your marketing strategy for you.
#4: They try to do marketing themselves
Operating a small business is no easy feat and, as a small business owner, you are already going to be bogged down by everything else you need to focus on, so a marketing strategy is not something you should be handling yourself.
When you are starting out, it is easy to get burned out by the number of things you have to do as an individual. After all, you likely don’t have the funds to hire a professional, but this leads to you trying to do all manner of different jobs, and unless you know what you are doing, you could be damaging your start-up in the process.
However, if you are smart and pragmatic when it comes to your business and marketing, you can quite easily find a worthy internet marketing company to handle your entire marketing strategy, leaving you to focus on what is important – your business. It is much better to hire an expert than go it alone and fail.
As a small business owner, delegation is key. You cannot do it all on your own and you need to carefully pick and choose people to handle certain aspects of it for you.
#5: They get side-tracked from business goals
The point of a marketing strategy is to aid the realization of your overall business goals. However, many small business owners focus on things that will not lead to any real results.
Try to remain focused on your overall business goals and pay equal attention to everything.
It is a good idea to outsource your marketing to an internet marketing company that can draw up and manage the entirety of your plan for you, leaving you to focus on what is important – running your business.