Marketing is probably not on the list of top to-dos for a small business owner. At any given moment there are million things that require your attention. However, putting a little time into marketing can pay off in a big way. If you’ve been keeping up with our blog, chances are you are equipped with some very effective quick tips for marketing. However, as with any new business venture, you are bound to hit a few roadblocks along the way. But what if we could prevent you from making a few common beginner mistakes? There are a handful of hiccups most SMBs go through on their marketing journey. Lucky for you, they made the mistakes so you don’t have to.
1. Neglecting to create a website:
A mobile presence is critical to visibility. Yet a study by the non-profit SCORE found that only 51 percent of SMBs have websites, reported Forbes contributor John Rampton. In terms of marketing this is a MAJOR mistake. Consumers search for nearly everything online today. In fact, 97 percent of modern customers report looking for products and services online. While you may think a website is a costly investment, the truth is it is actually very affordable. Rampton explained that a decent website costs a mere $400. When you take into consideration the business a simple site could potentially draw in, establishing a website presence becomes a no-brainer.
2. Focusing on the wrong tactics:
It is all too common for SMBs to focus on popular marketing methods as opposed to effective ones, explained Mark Montini in an interview with The Examiner. You need to ensure that your approaches to marketing aren’t merely fillers. You need content that is proven to drive conversions and customer retention. This will involve some practice runs but will ultimately produce the most bang for your marketing buck. Avoid the fluff and create a marketing strategy that actually does what you want it to.
There is a reason you here the term ‘SEO’ so frequently. It works. Too many SMBs think of an SEO as a luxury instead of a necessity, noted Minute Hack contributor Shaz Memon. Neglecting SEO can result in low visibility (making customer acquisition much harder) and a loss of existing followers. Don’t make the mistake of ignoring SEO investments. Putting a little marketing spend into this channel is more helpful than you might think. In a world where digital presence is king, optimizing your search results is the ultimate marketing move.
4. No system for tracking:
In marketing, data is your ride-or-die. When you don’t track, you don’t understand what really works. If you don’t understand what is effective and what isn’t then you can never improve. Many small businesses fail to put systems in place for tracking the overall effectiveness of marketing efforts. Whether it is pay per click ads or simple conversions, SMBs must invest in some sort of system.
5. Using irrelevant metrics:
Tracking is critical but it can be rendered ineffective when SMBs focus on the wrong metrics. “Profitable businesses aren’t built on vanity metrics like clicks, impressions and likes,” explained Montini. “Profitable businesses are built through metrics that can actually be deposited at the bank, so focus your attention on those.” The two major focuses of any marketing material should be cost to acquire and lifetime value. You want to ensure the funds it takes to acquire a customer are less than their overall lifetime value – if this checks out then you’re in the clear. Don’t get distracted by fashionable metrics – just because your post received a lot of likes doesn’t mean it is bringing in business.
6. A free-hand approach to marketing:
It may seem tedious but it is invaluable to nail down a written marketing plan. While we know time is a precious resource, sketching out tactics, costs and even a content calendar has a proven track record of success. In fact, the 2015 B2C Content Marketing Trends Report found that effective marketers were twice as likely to have a written strategy compared to ineffective marketers. Don’t leave your marketing efforts to chance, make a plan and stick to it. We promise that little bit of extra work will be well worth the effort.
7. Reviews? No thanks:
Reviews are a HUGE asset to any SMB marketing strategy. The best part? All you have to do is ask – no investment needed. Yet many small businesses shy away from opening the arena for customer reviews because they fear criticism. In fact, according to research reported on by Memon, 54 percent of SMBs don’t solicit feedback due to concern about negative reviews. While bad reviews are a valid concern, the potential reward outweighs the potential backlash. The same study found that over 60 percent of online shoppers have a higher chance of making a purchase with a business that boasts positive reviews. As for the negative commentary, this kind of open criticism allows for quick and efficient responses from your business. An effective solution considering 90 percent of customers that had a bad experience would return if their problem was resolved quickly.
8. You opt-out completely:
When it comes down to it, the biggest marketing mistake an SMB can make is neglecting to market at all. Getting your business’s brand out there is critical to success. Effective marketing can attract new customers and build loyalty among those that already love your product. So, re-read these mistakes, steer clear, and get back on your marketing game.