5 Common Small Biz Marketing Mistakes & How to Avoid Them
You’re opening a business, hooray! Now it’s time to tell the world about it and start bringing in the customers -- without wasting precious time or resources. You don’t have to learn the hard way. Here are the top five common mistakes that brand new businesses often make when launching their marketing efforts -- and how you can avoid them.
Mistake #1: Marketing as an afterthought. With all the expenses and effort expended to open your new venture, marketing dollars may end up getting swept into the discretionary funds column in your overall business budget. Before you know it, your entire budget is spent and there’s nothing left for marketing. Oops.
How to avoid: Setting money aside for your business advertising will definitely pay off. With social media marketing, for instance, the more target customers you can reach with consistent campaigns, the more sales you can take to the bank. According to the 2016 The State of Social Marketing Report, 40% of consumers say they bought a product after seeing it on Instagram, YouTube or Twitter.
Mistake #2: Marketing before identifying your brand. Marketing without knowing your brand is like handing out generic business cards -- they might say “Landscaping Services” and include a phone number, but without a memorable pitch it’s hard to make a sale.
How to avoid: Do the work to figure out who you are, what you do, who your work is for and why it matters. This will help you zero in on your unique brand which, in turn, brings the customers you want through the door.
Mistake #3: Marketing too narrowly. When you’re just beginning to introduce your business to the world, shouting from the rooftops is the way to go. Marketing on just one or two channels limits your potential reach and makes it difficult to identify and target your perfect customer base.
How to avoid: Cast your marketing net far and wide, and customize your campaigns based on a variety of results. Consider a funnel -- it’s wide at the top and narrows to a small opening at the bottom. The top of the marketing funnel is all the social media channels, for instance, and over time you may learn that your customers are coming down the funnel to you mostly via Instagram and YouTube, and not so much from Facebook or Twitter. Now you know where to focus your efforts and your marketing budget. If you’d started your marketing efforts only using YouTube and Facebook ads, you never would have found your loyal Instagram fans!
Mistake #4: Thinking short-term costs, not long-term payoffs.. Your marketing budget may be stretched thin across a number of platforms as you get started, and it’s all too easy to focus on the upfront costs of your marketing efforts rather than the longer-term Return on Investment (ROI).
How to avoid: Think of marketing strategy as a long game, not a short game. You may spend $5 on a Facebook ad campaign for one week, and receive 50 clickthroughs to your website, that’s okay but not great. Spending more to reach a wider audience over a longer time period will produce a better ROI in the long run.
Mistake #5: Expecting immediate results. It’s unlikely that your early marketing efforts will send hundreds of new customers flocking to your business (if only!). Marketing is an ongoing process that pays off over time - provided that you have a good strategy in place (see above).
How to avoid: Managing your expectations will go a long way in remaining patient as you tweak your marketing strategy, adjust it further and then tweak it some more. It takes time to get feedback and analyze your marketing efforts, but once you begin to see a picture emerge of where your customers are finding you, that is the long-term value of a good strategy.