Do you feel like your small business marketing isn’t really working as well as it could? It’s a reality for many small businesses. There are some small business marketing problems that are as frequent as the common cold. Let’s have a quick look at the most common so you can go away and decide if your business marketing is in good health.
Tough competition: Be Standout!
Trying to get your small business to stand out in a crowded marketplace is tough. Surprisingly, the answer to this problem doesn’t start with expensive advertising and more exposure. You first need to discover what makes your business different and more appealing than your competition. Developing your niche needs to become a priority. A common mistake is believing that your business can’t really be any different. Every small business can be different and even unique. A great starting point is to ask your customers what they like about your business and why they choose to do business with you.
Poor results from Advertising
Have you ever created promotional material that you thought was great, but the results were poor? One likely reason for this is that you created something that appeals to you, rather than your target market. This is a very common marketing problem. The truth is, there can be a vast difference between what you like and what your customers find appealing. Effective advertising and promotion starts with an understanding of your target market. Who are they? What problems do they have? What is their motivation for wanting what you have?
You Don’t have a Marketing Plan
For most small businesses, the best place to start is with a simple marketing plan. Even a one page marketing plan will help you clarify who your target market is and how you will reach them. It will also make it easier for you to be consistent. One of the most common reasons not to create a marketing plan is also one of the best reasons to do it: “I just don’t have time.” The time you spend planning your marketing will reduce the time you waste doing tasks which are not helping you achieve your marketing goals.
Expecting immediate results from long term marketing tactics
Some marketing tactics take far longer than others to bring in results. Small businesses frequently use long term tactics without being aware they’re long term. They don’t see much in the way of early results and abandon their efforts. If you pull the pin too early it’s expensive, time consuming and frustrating; three things you want to avoid.
Take social media as an example. Many small businesses get a presence on Facebook, don’t do much with it and they give up. The same thing happens with many small business blogs. The truth is it takes time to build an audience and to build trust. They are great tools to establish your credibility and increase awareness, but they take time.
Not generating enough referrals and word of mouth
Word of mouth marketing is one of the best ways to get new business. Other people are doing your marketing for you. The problem many small businesses have is simply hoping for word of mouth rather than having a plan to generate buzz. If you want people to talk about your small business you have to give them reasons to do it. The most effective way to do this is to surprise them by exceeding their expectations. e.g. Let them know what you will be delivering and when, but deliver a little more and do it faster. Remember, telling your customers what to expect is a lot more effective than guessing what they expect.
Business is up-and-down and too unpredictable –
This marketing problem can be the result of having too few sources of leads. Having multiple sources for new leads is important for all small businesses. You’ve probably heard the saying: “don’t put all your eggs in one basket.” It applies to your marketing as well. If your marketing is reliant on too few marketing tactics it can be a real issue. For instance, you could rely heavily on Yellow Pages and local newspaper advertising. These may have worked well in the past, but now they are less effective. If these are your only forms of promotion, you have a significant problem to deal with. However, if you also used other marketing tactics the impact could be lessened.
Spending money on ads without knowing if they are working
A typical scenario is you run a Google Ad and business ‘seems’ to pick up over the same period. You decide the ad is a success and keep running it. In reality, the pickup was due some other factor and your continued investment is not justified. After renewing the ad, business slows down again and you’re not sure why. To help avoid this problem, define what a good return is before you advertise your business. Track the results of your advertising. You must track and measure the success of your marketing activities. This lets you know for sure what is and isn’t working. For example, if you spend $100/month on google ads which generate $200 worth of sales, then your ROI is not viable.
Not getting the best results from your marketing tools – Small business operators often try new marketing trends without much success. You may get a new website or a Facebook page, but it’s just not bringing in any new business. In many cases you have the right idea, but may know how to go about making it work effectively. Take a more considered approach to your marketing. Ask yourself: Is it right for you? How much effort and expense will be required to do it well? How will it help you achieve your goals?