If you’re one of the 47% of small business owners who handle all of their marketing on their own, this is likely one of the many hats you wear. And, unless you own a marketing company, you’re unlikely to have any professional marketing experience. This means there are likely a few things you’re doing — or not doing — in your marketing efforts that are causing your company to stagnate.
Avoid these common small business marketing blunders.
Here are five common marketing mistakes made by small businesses, as well as some suggestions for how to avoid them.
1. Doing your writing
Given the high cost of professional copywriting services, it’s no surprise that many small business owners try to avoid this step by writing their copy. When they do, however, it is evident.
Coopman Creative’s copywriters explain that copywriters don’t just ‘write copy.’
“Our skills and expertise go well beyond that, encompassing brand management, the art of persuasion, understanding nuanced audiences and channels, a genuine flair for language crafting and creative writing, and borderline-obsessive grammar knowledge.”
It’s best to leave it to the pros unless you’re a trained copywriter. An experienced copywriter can provide a fresh perspective on your company, help you shape your value proposition to differentiate yourself from the competition and write polished copy that will sell. If you’re looking for a way to set yourself apart in your industry, and expertly written copy is the way to go. And if you invest wisely in a copywriter who knows what they’re doing, you’ll almost certainly see a quick return on your investment in terms of higher conversion rates and overall marketing ROI.
2. Ignoring your website’s needs
Your company’s digital face is your website. If you have a physical location, it reflects that experience and sets the tone for what customers can expect when doing business with you. When you neglect your website, you risk not only alienating potential customers who believe your business is closed or poorly run, but you also harm your SEO, which means you’ll get less traffic from search engines over time.
“Taking proactive steps to keep your site clean and Taking proactive steps to keep your site clean and running smoothly can help buffer against external factors, supporting your long-term goals for your site and marketing strategy,” according to SEO Polarity. This is referred to as “SEO hygiene,” which entails performing a series of checks and tasks regularly to ensure that your website looks and performs at its best.
Here are some SEO hygiene best practices from SEO Polarity that small businesses can use:
- Keep your website code clean.
- Make sure your website is mobile-friendly.
- Handle any redirect issues.
To keep users on your site and ensure high SEO performance, make sure your page load time is as short as possible.
If you manage your website, make it a point to check for broken links at least once a month and, if necessary, update website copy such as your contact information and hours of operation. To keep your site feeling fresh, hire an SEO professional to help you check for technical SEO issues regularly — at least once every six months — and make it a point to update your branding, imagery, and messaging once a year.
3. Wearing down your audience
While many small business owners are guilty of not publishing enough content due to time and budget constraints, others are guilty of publishing too much — and usually on the same channel.
It’s understandable that, without a large marketing team, you’d prefer to concentrate on the one or two channels you’re most familiar with, such as email or Facebook. While it’s important to get your message out there and raise brand awareness, you should avoid overwhelming your audience, or they’ll leave. According to a GoodFirms poll, 42% of users unfollow brands that publish a lot of content.
“To occupy enough of their mind space to get a deal down the line, you have to constantly remind contacts and connections of your value. But you have to do it in a way that doesn’t ‘fatigue’ them” However, you must do so in a way that does not ‘fatigue’ them, according to The Paperless Agent’s marketing experts. “To prevent that fatigue, good marketers use multiple channels of communication to stay connected with their audiences.”
Make sure you’re communicating with customers via a variety of channels, such as email, SMS messages, Facebook, and your company newsletter, and measure the success of each campaign.
4. Failure to keep track of your results
Another common blunder made by business owners is failing to track the results of their marketing campaigns. Despite the lack of data, they will continue to invest in marketing strategies without knowing whether they are successful.
You could be wasting your marketing dollars and missing out on opportunities to significantly improve your results if you don’t have metrics in place to tell you what’s working and what’s not. Furthermore, metrics assist you in fine-tuning and improving your marketing strategy over time.
Rialto Marketing’s Tim Fitzpatrick identifies a few reasons why some business owners overlook marketing metrics:
Lack of time
Some business owners believe they are too busy to analyze data or review performance reports. If you have time to market, you also have time to evaluate your efforts. It may only take a few minutes once you have it down.
Lack of technology
It’s a common misconception that analyzing metrics necessitates the use of specific tools or software systems. Google Analytics is free, and many social media platforms have reporting pages of their own.
Lack of knowledge
Some people are unsure what they should be measuring, but a little online research can help them figure out the best KPIs (key performance indicators) for each channel.
Concentrate on the essentials
To keep an eye on your marketing campaigns, you don’t need to track a lot of metrics you shouldn’t. To begin, set aside an afternoon to review your marketing channels, identify a few metrics to track in each, and create a simple spreadsheet that tracks these metrics, as well as your marketing, spend for each. Set up a Google Analytics account if you haven’t already to help you analyze your web metrics. Finally, make sure you ask each new customer how they heard about you and keep track of this important information.
Set aside an hour or two each month to update and review your spreadsheet. Consider hiring a marketing consultant or virtual assistant to take care of this for you with all the money you’ll save by tracking your marketing ROI.
5. Ignoring your intended audience
Are you having trouble getting the results you want from your marketing and advertising campaigns? “More often than not, the problem is a disconnect between you — the content creator — and your audience,” explained Cox Business’s business experts. “When a piece of writing (or any other form of creative content, really) fails to resonate, it’s usually because it’s not what the audience was looking for.”
When it comes to creating relevant content that converts, knowing who you’re talking to is essential. After all, how can you persuade prospects that you’re the ideal solution for their problems if you don’t know what they’re looking for?
Audience research is the first step in creating great content. Make a call to your most valuable clients and spend some time getting to know them. Request the following information from them:
- Their age group, generation, or life stage
- If they don’t live in the area, ask them where they live.
- Language preferences and culture
- Interests, hobbies, and affiliations
- They like to consume and share their favorite content.
- Their most pressing issues
- What they’re typing into Google to find solutions to their problems
- Their preferred social media platforms and sites
- Anything else you can think of to help you communicate with them more directly in your marketing
You’ll be amazed at how much better your results will be if you use your answers to inform future marketing copy.
Work smarter, not harder
It’s difficult to generate qualified leads and move prospects through the conversion funnel when you’re also trying to run your business. However, as long as you’re strategic in your approach, it doesn’t have to take a long time. Avoiding the marketing blunders listed above is a great place to start. Even if this means spending a little more money on marketing upfront than usual, you’ll find that your efforts will pay off in the long run.
Learn more from Marketing and read These 3 Legal Mistakes Could Destroy Your Business.