The Five Biggest Marketing Mistakes
Small Business Owners Make Every Day
Not Having a Plan
I always say, “A Business Without a Plan, Can Plan on NO Business!” Promoting your business takes time, money and persistence. Without a plan, any successes would be a result of luck. Luck is hard to track, change and reproduce. Every business needs a plan that can grow with their business and provide measurable benchmarks for evaluation.
It’s important to treat the marketing plan as a valuable tool in support of the company’s mission & goals, as well as an opportunity to define the target market and build a road-map to highlight key differentiators
Between you and the competition. A plan provides documentation of the strategies, action items and budget guidelines to keep efforts on track.
Being Unclear About Your Unique Selling Proposition
To market your business effectively, you need to identify what sets you apart from the competition. Differentiators may be cost, product quality or product availability, level of customer service, features and selection, etc. The bottom line: What do you do better than your competition?
Define how you will compete. For most businesses competing on price, like Walmart, is not an effective approach. The margins are too small and volume too low in small biz settings. Small business owners may find their niche by competing on diversity or variety of offerings or by developing brand recognition and being innovative in their approach.
Trying to Sell to Everyone or Anyone!
A very common mistake made by small business owners, is considering everyone to be a potential customer. While it may be true that your product or service appeals to a broad audience, effective marketing requires a narrowed down target audience so messaging and marketing approaches reach them directly.
Defining the niche market can be time consuming and expensive. But for small biz the easiest way to define an audience and target the messaging is by defining: Who is ALREADY a CUSTOMER, Who consistently sends referrals to the business, Who are your closest competitors and what are they doing to gain business, and identifying the fastest, most effective way to reach those people.
Fearing Social Media
Social media has exploded in recent years and has quickly become one of the most affordable and effective marketing techniques for small business owners who can focus their efforts and maximize their time spent on social media to yield big results.
It’s true that social media technology is always changing, but the best thing for small business as it is low-cost, available from almost anywhere, offers global reach, can provide a customized and interactive user experience. I do advise my clients that posts should never be salesy in nature but instead inform and engage with fun, silly, cute or creative messages. NEVER a sales pitch!
Neglecting to Change It Up
We all have our routines, and that keeps us productive and efficient. But routines can also make us complacent, especially when it comes to the ever-changing world of marketing. Effectively promoting a business requires staying up-to-date with industry changes and being open to trying new or different marketing activities.
Change is Always Good – Don’t get stuck in a rut. Think of “agile marketing” as your goal. Because planning is important, incorporate rapid response to change, and collaborative efforts and options into that strategy. A couple of prominent brands who neglected to employ agile marketing ended up losing business edge notably Hummer, who failed to pay attention to the shift in consumer desire to be eco-friendly and save on gasoline closed that division permanently in 2010. Additionally, Polaroid neglected to believe trends in digital imaging and failed to research their audience wrongly assuming consumers would always want to produce prints. Polaroid Instant Camera ceased production in 2008.
In summary, It’s all about customer engagement. As audiences change in preference and expectations we need to shift to stay relevant and to re-engage. Planning for change and staying true to what makes you unique is the best recipe for success.