Branching out to help other small business ventures with marketing and social media has been an eye opener. From the start, I have witnessed small business owners and their companies make a lot of mistakes. They have a noticeable lack of effort and they have a lack of motivation. Regardless of the company’s success or industry, their mistakes are repetitive. Through this article I hope to reach at least one business out there. I want you to have the necessary tools and I want you to become a better business.
1. Zero Marketing: I am surprised to see how many small businesses don’t have an actual marketing strategy. I’ve spoken with numerous companies in consultations, or in a passing conversation, and 85% of them don’t have a strategy, or at the very least, a plan to acquire new customers. In the remaining 15%, half of those businesses don’t have an actual marketing strategy. They go off the cuff. Without a marketing strategy, what is the plan on customer retention or acquiring new customers? What if the current “plan” begins to fail? Marketing strategies give small businesses the opportunity to plan for the worst, to continue increasing sales, and to ensure that your company doesn’t fail.
2. Lack of Research: Know who the competition is and what they’re doing, know what’s going on in the local area, and understand the company’s demographic. Studies from 2016 show that 80% of potential customers research a company online before making a purchase. Understanding can help a business plan and strategize their next move. Understand what is happening in your area, what your competition is doing, the latest trends, and your demographics.
3. Complacency: Business is great right now, but it doesn’t mean that a company should pause all marketing efforts. If business is great, increase the marketing budget and make business even better! When it comes to the realm of marketing, one is none, and two is one. If a company only has one form of marketing (or advertising), what happens when that channel no longer works? This company now has Zero Marketing. Business may be awesome in the present, but things change quickly.
4. Inconsistency: For the companies that actually make an attempt, inconsistency is as bad as having Zero Strategy. Inconsistency wastes time and money. Imagine digging a hole for a new pool, then stopping half way through to start a different project. While the other project is taking time away from the pool, rain and wind are washing the dirt back into the hole. When a company begins advertising, or any form of marketing, it’s imperative that it remains consistent. You need to keep pushing your brand and your message. Keep at it and keep pushing!
5. Pride: As mentioned in “Stop Drowning Yourself”, Pride can wear down a business just as much as anything else. Pride can cause Inconsistency, Complacency, and Lack of Research. Knowing how to do everything and having eight years of experience in every field isn’t enough. There’s only so much time in the week.
6. Lack of Brand or an Online Presence: 80% of customers research a company online before they make a purchase, only 50% of small businesses have websites, and one out of five companies that have a marketing budget invest in digital marketing. With the constant change of the internet and social media, those numbers are appalling. Today, websites are more affordable than ever, and the number of people using the internet to research and make purchases is constantly increasing. Why wouldn’t a business invest in a website? That’s right, Lack of Research and Complacency. The average consumer discusses brands at an average of 90 times a week. If a company’s brand is never the face of the consumer, how can it join the conversation (in a positive light)?
7. Poor Customer Service: Yes, Customer Service plays a role in marketing. Customer Service sells a company the same as advertising. Who wants to return to a business where prior they were treated poorly? As a small business, customer service needs to be one of your top priorities. Many business owners feel that they don’t have to offer amazing customer service because they’re the “owner” and they’re better than their customers. This mentality stems from the owner’s Pride.
8. Bad Presentation: Take Apple for example. Their products are all extremely appealing to the eye of the consumer. They are sleek, smooth, and simple. This plays into Apple’s marketing strategy so well that the product’s appearance alone is almost enough to sell itself. Regardless of the business, appearance sells. Take a look at the trendy restaurants, typically seen on the Food Network, that serve food almost too fancy to eat. That’s marketing, and that sells. When businesses take additional time to put forth a little extra effort, along with their Customer Service, this can make a huge impact on their sales.
9. Wrong Investment: It’s easy to be talked into a random marketing opportunity or to sponsor an event in hopes that it’ll bring in a solid return. In the past, I was talked into a horrible ad spot on a t-shirt for a local fire department. I spent $250 on this horrid shirt with its terrible ad placement. Social Media has the highest ROI in advertising. That $250 that I spent on an advertising slot, could have been better spent on an ad that tests for free. Yes, for FREE. Facebook allows advertisers to test their ads for free before they spend a dime. If they don’t like the results of the free ad, they don’t have to pay. They can go back to the drawing board and come up with a new advertisement. Once an ad does well, then it can be boosted for more results. All that is required is a small amount of Research.
10. Simple Minded: In today’s tech savvy world, any business can become something special. A lot of these small businesses seem to fall into the same, boring and mundane groove. They open a shop, which they can only hope is in a great location because they didn’t do any research, and they wait for people to start walking in the door. This isn’t 1990. With Facebook and YouTube at our finger tips, businesses have the ability to grow exponentially. The possibilities are endless.