Having worked with small business owners now for well over the ten years that we have been in business, we’ve certainly seen a lot of marketing mistakes that if avoided could save a lot of time and money.
We’ll share ten of them with you as part of our ten years in business celebration and in the hope that you can avoid making these mistakes in the future!
Mistake #1 – Viewing marketing as a cost instead of an investment
If I had a dollar for every time a small business owner said that they really needed to get some revenue happening but couldn’t afford the cost of marketing, I’d be wealthy enough to shout every small business in Australia a marketing campaign or two!
When done properly marketing is an investment. Invest money to tell customers that you exist, to demonstrate what makes you different, to drive traffic to your website, your shop, your office.
By marketing your business you are driving revenue or customers, or event attendees or whatever goal it is you have set to achieve.
If your potential customers don’t know that you exist or they are being effectively influenced by a competitors marketing and advertising, or they simply don’t understand what it is you sell then you make it very hard for them to buy from you.
Mistake #2 – Shooting your marketing tactics from the hip.
Proper planning prevents poor performance. Ad-hoc advertising and promotion that is not properly executed or measured for effectiveness will very rarely work.
Sometimes it’s easy to be convinced by a media sales pitch or panic when your sales take a downturn and so you throw some marketing out there.
There’s a real science and a proven framework to how marketing can help you meet your goals but it generally takes considered planning, clever execution and careful measurement.
Mistake #3 – Only marketing when the chips are down
Understanding how long it takes to convert leads from warm or cold to paying customers is quite a crucial part of information for you to know as a small business. I know for my business, clients can be in the pipeline for sometimes 12 months before they decide to buy from me.
Some products are less considered and can easily convert new customers to sales due to their price point or their brand, however for most businesses it will take customers several touchpoints and a bit of consideration before getting out their wallet.
So marketing when the chips are down is not particularly effective. You need to be marketing BEFORE you anticipate a sales slump so your customers have time to move through the journey of getting to know, like and trust you.
Mistake #4 – Trying to be everything to everyone
When you try to be everything to everyone, you actually end up being nothing to no-one. This mistake comes down to people’s natural FOMO (Fear of missing out) tendency.
It may be absolutely correct that technically everybody could buy your product. However, there is definitely a tribe of people out there who are more likely to buy your product.
Unless you are Coca Cola, don’t spend your precious marketing funds talking to people who will never buy your product.
Mistake #5 – Not telling the customer what’s in it for them
Too many small business owners make the mistake of listing product or service features and not communicating the benefits of their product or service to a customer. When you are writing your marketing copy, ask yourself repeatedly ‘what’s in it for them’. The more you can demonstrate the benefits the more likely they will be to buy.
Mistake #6 – Not including clear call to actions in your advertising
What is the single action that you would like the reader of your marketing collateral or advertisement to take next? Call, Email, Buy Now, Download. Whatever it is, make sure this instruction is loud and clear in all of your marketing.
Mistake #7 – Not having a website
Even just a one page, information site with basic details about your business will give customers the assurance that you actually exist.
Mistake #8 – Not marketing to your existing customers
Attracting new customers can be timely and expensive. Don’t get me wrong, it’s absolutely necessary however if you are looking to fast track some sales conversions then your existing or past customers are your low hanging fruit. They’ve purchased from you before and will most likely be happy to do so again.
Mistake #9 – Promoting products or services that are not profitable
Unless of course you are using these non-profitable products or services as a loss leader to channel customers through to another purchase that IS profitable.
Mistake #10 – Not measuring your marketing efforts
How will you ever know if your marketing is working if you are not measuring. By not measuring your marketing efforts, your marketing could well be a cost instead of an investment.
Measurements just have to be simple and really, with all of the digital marketing channels having such amazing insights and metrics available for your to access for free, there’s really no excuse not to!