Many small businesses struggle with marketing. Whether it is the balance of doing so much work yourself or having the technical knowledge to be effective, you are not alone. Infusionsoft’s 2015 Small Business Market Report reports that 28% of businesses still do not have a website. If marketing your business and reaching your customers keeps you up at night, you are in good company. Here are the seven top marketing mistakes small businesses make and what you can do to fix them.
If you are one of that 28% of businesses with no website at all, or you are still rocking a website that is more than 5 years old, you could really be leaving money on the table when it comes to marketing. Search engines, like Google, evolve over time and a website that isn’t responsive, or that is more than a few years old will probably not perform very well for you.
This is an area that you definitely want to get help from a professional. You want your site to be hosted on your own registered domain with a reputable hosting company and built on a Content Management System (CMS in marketing speak) that is robust and allows you to retain control of your website content.
Social media is a big deal, sometimes it seems like that is all people can talk about when it comes to marketing, and it’s true that a lot of marketing takes place through social media in 2015. If you aren’t exploring how social media can extend your business, you could be missing out.
On the other hand, if you are dabbling in social media, but not keeping it up, or you are using channels that are not the right fit for your business, you could be wasting a lot of money. Worse, you could be giving a bad impression of your business and not even know it.
Small business marketing on social is definitely not something that you should be doing just to do it. Being successful at anything in marketing requires a plan. Consider what you want to accomplish, and don’t shy away from doing some research into where your target audience can be found online.
Another mistake many small businesses make is not planning their marketing. There’s an old say “failing to plan is planning to fail.” This is never so true as in marketing. If you do not have clear objectives for your small business marketing, it is impossible to know if you are succeeding. Many businesses chase every marketing trend and end up throwing good money out the window, but have no idea if they are getting any results.
To make a plan for your small business market, start with what result you want to achieve. Set goals that are S.M.A.R.T. (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely), and play the long game. Marketing is a marathon, not a sprint.
If you make a plan, congratulations, you are ahead of the curve, but you are still only halfway to an effective marketing program. The next step is measuring your progress. There are tools everywhere that can help with this, and a good number of them are free. There are also hundreds of free learning resources to get you started. Google’s own Analytics University is the place to start, but if you are looking into some expert help to get a handle on the nuts and bolts of your marketing reporting, look for one that has the Google Individual Qualification (IQ) rating.
When it comes to small business marketing, it’s easy to get overwhelmed and overlook the little things. Small technical tidbits can just make your work harder, or they can completely derail you. Start by making sure all of your channels are connected, and don’t forget to test. Test your forms, your newsletter, any plugins you use, every ad you run. Test it all– before you push it live. And when you have things running, start running A/B tests- comparison tests that let you try different versions of marketing instruments to see which works better.
You don’t like when someone keeps calling you up or sending you messages that say nothing but buy my stuff, so don’t do it to your customers, your site visitors or your social media connections. Think about what your target marketing is looking for, what they need rather than your desire for their business. Sure you can promote some, you should, in fact, but make sure that non-promotional content outweighs your sales pitches by four to one as a general rule of thumb.
When you enter the world of online marketing, one thing you learn is that social media has shortened the lines of communication between consumers and brands to instantaneous, and everything is public. When your customers have criticisms, how you respond makes all the difference. Start by having a response plan in place. Designate one person to be the voice of the organization and have a strategy in place for how you will respond.
That is the trickiest time for a growing business. You need help, but you aren’t secure in your resources to bring on another employee. At Denver Print Company, we understand that. You have trusted us to provide print marketing for more than a decade, and we are just as proud of our web design and marketing services. If you are ready to start growing your business, and looking to take your marketing big time, but aren’t ready to hire the staff, let us help you.
For a limited time, Denver Print Company is offering a free consultation with our in-house marketing department. We can give you practical tips for how to take your marketing to the next level, and know where to step in with the technical skills to support your objectives.