Let’s face it; every business is out there to turn a profit. However, it feels like small businesses need to get especially creative to draw customers. They often don’t have the staffing or marketing budgets to follow suit of the industry giants. It’s okay to try to approach marketing differently, but there are still some guidelines you need to follow in order to avoid common pitfalls. While mistakes can be a great learning experience, you don’t need to trip on every single hurdle. Here are six avoidable marketing mistakes small business owners make and the best ways to steer clear of them.
1. Not having a strong social media presence
Marketing campaigns come in many forms. There’s a lot of stuff you can do yourself, or you can outsource the marketing and hire a company to do it for you. Whatever you end up doing, you mustn’t neglect social media. You need to have a strong presence on multiple networks and coordinate your efforts on all of them. Any business, large or small, can benefit from social media marketing.
You should aim to turn users into brand ambassadors and have them spread the word for you. Post engaging social media content that users can interact with. Small businesses should focus on user engagement through interesting content instead of relying on expensive gimmicks.
2. Forgetting old content
While there are many myths regarding search engines and link building out there, this one takes the cake. Thinking that Google doesn’t care about old content is just nonsense. Having broken links on your website can cost you dearly. It’s an avoidable marketing mistake small business owners make, and it’s totally fixable. Go through your entire website because search engines definitely will.
Make sure none of your content is outdated. Actually, you should avoid investing your time and money into content that will age out in the first place. As a small business owner, you probably can’t afford to output only trending content at a regular pace. Try to make your content evergreen and something that users will want to come back to. That way, you can invest in quality content while it continues to generate user interest and engagement.
3. Ignoring the competition
Not caring what your competition is doing is the most common avoidable marketing mistake small business owners make. Scoping out your rivals is something you need to turn into a regular routine. There are even tools to help you get the job done, so you don’t need to invest a fortune or become an expert. See what works for them and adapt it to fit your marketing strategy.
You can use these tools to measure competitor’s websites for:
- Number of users
- Page visits
- Sources of traffic
- Keyword ranking
A large part of online marketing for small businesses has become SEO optimization. Learn how the algorithm functions and start gaming it. Your competition can inadvertently help you out, and you won’t even need to thank them. Some of their data is readily available, so why not use it?
4. Not having a marketing plan
You might not know exactly what you should be doing when it comes to online marketing, so you just… try a bunch of different approaches? That’s a great way to burn through a bunch of money really fast. Spending money isn’t the same as investing in a carefully developed marketing plan. It’s one of those avoidable marketing mistakes small business owners make while they think they are doing the right thing. Instead, you need to determine the cost of such a project and ensure you don’t do things on the fly. If you accurately determine the budget of your marketing campaign, you’ll avoid spending more than you can afford. It’s also useful to start thinking of marketing as an investment and not an expense.
5. Sending mixed messages
Figure out what makes you stand out from the competition. Once you pinpoint what makes your business unique, you should include it in all of your marketing efforts. A unified theme across your website and social media accounts will make you recognizable. Customers will realize what your brand stands for and will have an easier time identifying your products and services. If your marketing is mismatched, it will confuse your users, and you could lose potential sales. Coordinate the dates of your posts and ads so that they work together, instead of confusing your clients.
6. Not knowing your target audience
Targeting everyone with your marketing is possible, but it’s just not cost-effective. Do some research to identify and clearly define your target market. This is one of those situations when you want to rely on data and not your gut. Know who your customers are and adapt your marketing strategy with them in mind. Another good idea is to focus on the local area. Small businesses usually have customers from their immediate neighborhood. Keep that in mind when constructing keywords and social media content. Search engines also tend to favor local results, so focus your marketing locally for the best outcomes.
Online marketing has become measurable and quantifiable. It’s easy to track data and know if what you are doing is performing well. You’ll quickly be able to tell if something isn’t giving good results, but you don’t have to learn everything the hard way. There’s no need to fall for one of the avoidable marketing mistakes small business owners make. After reading this article, you definitely know better!
Jeffrey Combs has been involved with online marketing for the past 7 years. His main focuses are SEO and social media marketing. Jeffrey is eager to consult with large businesses, but has also worked with small startups, guiding them through the loopholes of online marketing.