Marketing a business isn’t a one-off. It takes plenty of time and efforts, but it is (in my opinion) the most important aspect of running any business. So why do so many business owners find it hard?
This I can’t answer, because I am not a business owner, but I do have a simple solution. It all comes down to planning and execution. You need to set out how you plan to market your business and then actually do it – even if it does take up more time than you want. Also, expect to make mistakes along the way, it’s the only way you will learn and develop your marketing experience.
To get you started though, I have outlined six common mistakes that business owners should avoid when getting their marketing started.
1. No marketing plan
A marketing plan isn’t just for big business, it is just as important for small businesses. In fact, it’s probably more critical. So take time to write down your marketing plan for the next 12 months at least and stick to it!
I recently wrote an article entitled 4 Step Online Marketing Plan for 2011 which will act as a good starting point if online marketing/advertising is in the pipeline for your business.
2. Not knowing target audience
Do you know who your target audience is for the products/services that you offer?
Defining your target audience will give you a good idea on where to advertise/market your business. Some questions to ask yourself in order to define your target audience are:
- What is their net household income? Can they afford my products/services?
- Where do they look for my product/service? Both online and in physical locations?
- Do they work out of the home or in the home?
- What is their job profile – an executive, manager, worker, entrepreneur, stay-at-home parent, etc.
3. Who is responsible for marketing?
Who in your business is responsible for marketing? For most small businesses it is the owner themselves. If this is the case, are you holding yourself accountable for your marketing efforts?
If you’re not finding the time or it’s not a strong skill for you, then you should consider outsourcing your marketing.
4. No tracking of marketing performance
If you don’t currently measure the results of your marketing campaigns then how will you know whether they were effective?
Here are some suggestions for ways to measure campaigns:
- For online marketing, using unique website pages and track the results from each URL with Google Analytics
- Use unique phone numbers for large campaigns so you can keep tab of the number of incoming calls you receive
- Use specific coupon codes
- Advertising specific offers exclusively via one campaign
5. Inconsistent branding
It really does add to your credibility if your branding is consistent across all areas of your business. This includes your business cards, invoices, letterhead, website, blog pages and all forms of advertising.
6. Poor spelling and grammar
This is an easily solved problem, but if it’s not done then it can make your business look very unprofessional. Double-check every piece of writing before it is sent for any spelling or grammar errors. This includes invoices, quotes and emails.
Do you have any other small business marketing mistakes to suggest? If so, feel free to share them below.
*Hat tip to Flying Solo for the inspiration