There are many things that you need to do while growing your small business. You have a team to manage, a product to develop, and deals to close. You also want to make sure that you don’t throw away your marketing budget.
Being wrong is normal. Only those who don’t do anything make no faults. The truth is, while you can’t avoid all mistakes, you can avoid some of them. Here are the top seven small business marketing mistakes and how to avoid them.
Mistake 1: Not creating a marketing plan
Some small business founders might fall into the trap of thinking that marketing activities is just advertising or PR. Actually, marketing itself is so much more than that.
It includes everything from understanding the market to choosing specific tactics you will use to reach that market.
When you lack a plan, you rely on random marketing strategies and expect something to generate desired results. Your marketing plan tells you when a strategy is not working out so that you can try new approaches.
Here are some questions you need to ask yourself to help you craft your marketing plan.
- What or who is your target audience?
- How many customers do you want to acquire?
- What are your marketing goals?
- Are you going to use Google Adwords to sell your product? Or are you going to adopt the SEO channel?
These and many other questions about your marketing plan should answer to help you grow your business painlessly.
Mistake 2: Jumping from plan to plan
Constantly switching from one plan to another is almost as bad as not having one. Maybe it is even worse because you will probably waste more time, money, and other resources.
You have to give your marketing strategy some time before it will pay off. You need to be consistent. You need to market month after month.
Jumping from plan to plan will drive you crazy. Furthermore, it just won’t work. Your marketing plan is like a harvest. It needs time to grow to bring you fruits.
Mistake 3: Communicating through the wrong channels
There are many marketing channels you can utilize to reach out to your prospective customers. However, you need to choose which of them to utilize depending on what your target audience is.
Don’t start creating a marketing plan until you know and understand your customer persona. For instance, if your product is an innovative lipstick with shiny glitter for teens, a LinkedIn channel may not be the best choice to spend money on your marketing campaign. Adjust your marketing according to where your audience is.
Then, while choosing which marketing channels to adopt, remember to track every activity with specific metrics. Instead of using obscure figures like number of followers, you need to tie your marketing efforts as close to revenue as possible.
Mistake 4: Spending too much time on brand perfection or not developing your brand story at all
Too many small businesses spend months, sometimes years, polishing up their product without showing it to the public. Investing in your brand perfection too early will result in wasting your money.
Most likely, you are not able to shape your brand right at the beginning of your small business journey. Branding will naturally evolve as you get closer to fitting your market and customers, taking into account their opinions and feedback.
On the other hand, launching a product without developing a strong, compelling and authentic brand story is a mistake too. Without it, you won’t differentiate from the competitors and convey your value to your prospective customers.
The best approach is to implement an iterative method to your brand’s development. Don’t delay launching a website until your web design is perfect. It isn’t as expensive as you think it might be, too. Bookmark’s Artificial Intelligence Design Assistant, for example, will let you create a professional looking website in just a few minutes for free.
Once you launch your website (even a non-perfect one devoted to a semi-finished product), you can start collecting feedback and making tweaks and changes to improve your product.
Mistake 5: Not keeping track of your competitors or looking too closely at them
Some small businesses mistakenly operate thinking that they don’t have any competitors. This can be an expensive mistake.
Even if you don’t have direct competitors, it’s crucial to look at the closest ones. Knowing who your rivals are and following their work can help your business and marketing strategies.
Part of building a business entails recognizing what your competitors are doing. Take cues from them, learn from them, and find ways to do it better than they do.
Now, it is completely natural (and recommended) to see what the competition is tweeting, or what product updates they are making. On the other hand, importing the same methods and connecting your product with the same group of potential clients, sounds like the highway straight to failure.
Don’t get caught in the trap of replicating your competitors’ efforts in hopes of getting more attention. Can you really trust that your competitor is doing everything right all the time? Watch what they’re doing, learn from your competitors’ mistakes, but don’t imitate them.
Mistake 6: Publishing a blog that nobody cares about
There are many small businesses that blog 1-3 times a week and then share their articles on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Sometimes, they support blogging with some paid promotion on Facebook.
They always spend tons of money, time, and energy on it, but despite desperate efforts to succeed in content marketing, not every small business blog receives desired recognition by its readers and performs effectively in terms of leads. Why does it happen?
The key to efficient content marketing is not simply producing great content. It is also not about promoting your product updates and company news. If you want your articles to inspire customers to make them fall in love with your products, the majority of your content has to solve challenges faced by your prospects.
Moreover, your blog should be:
- Unique and compelling, like any product you build.
- Comprehensive and full of actionable advice. The best way to attract the people who need your product is to produce and promote content that helps these people solve their problems and meet their needs. If the articles you write are compelling, actionable, and in-depth, your target audience will engage with them.
- Aggressively promoted. When you create great content without a measurable distribution strategy, you waste your time and money. This seems obvious, but content marketing is 20 percent creation, and 80 percent distribution. Make sure you share your articles across multiple channels, and more than once.
- Focused on growing your email list. As a matter of fact, your small business’s growth will suffer if you neglect to utilize email marketing. It is still one of the most profitable ways to communicate with your prospects and convince them to buy what you sell. If you don’t have an email marketing initiative going or planned right now, you’re losing out.
Mistake 7: Giving out vague and complicated messages
It can be really hard to invent a simple and appealing value message. First, if the pain point you are trying to solve is not really important for customers, your business will have lower chances of success.
In other words, try to create essential value, not just a ‘nice to have’ one. Validating your competitive advantages is what will help you in your business journey. After that, a core value of your product will be more evident.
Secondly, you have to simplify, simplify, and simplify your value message again. The biggest misconception you might have is to expect from your prospects a willingness to understand complicated details and technical terms. The value should be clear and standing out of your market.
If you do make any of these mistakes in your marketing, don’t sweat it. Mistakes are a natural part of the life cycle of any business. Learn what you can from the experience and move on to better strategies. Here are quick takeaways for you to grab:
- Create a measurable marketing plan and don’t give up on it.
- Choose an appropriate acquisition channel.
- Don’t spend too much time on brand perfection.
- Don’t get caught in the trap of imitating your competitors but do keep track of them.
- Don’t get too caught up in producing content that nobody cares about in order to copy others. Do valuable stuff.
- Your core brand message should be as simple and memorable as possible.
Any other mistakes you have made during your marketing campaign? Leave them in the comments below!
About the Author
Julia Samoilenko is a Marketing Manager at Chanty – a simple AI powered business messenger and a single notification center. This powerful and free Slack alternative is aimed to increase team productivity and improve communication at work. Having a 5-year experience in digital marketing field, Julia is responsible for Chanty’s online social media presence and public relations. Follow Julia on Twitter @juliasam111 or feel free to connect on LinkedIn.