For any business, no matter what industry it’s in, marketing is one of the most critical yet exciting aspects of business ownership. Marketing can make or break your business — without a solid marketing plan, there is no way for consumers to hear and know about your products and services, or about the existence of your business at all.
To succeed in marketing, you need to have a thorough understanding of industry best practices, as well as an awareness of the common mistakes that you should avoid. This is especially true when you’re a startup business, as your margin for error is very limited; any mistake might plummet your business’ growth downwards. Here are some of the most common marketing mistakes that every small and startup business owner should avoid:
1. Not having a business website
A website is a crucial marketing tool in today’s digital times. Studies show that 89% of consumers do online research before purchasing a product in-store. Many small businesses forego website creation due to a lack of budget or resources. However, building a website is an investment that’s worth every penny.
For businesses on a budget, Google My Business offers free creation of a business website, and it seamlessly integrates with Google My Business’ other suite of features for better online visibility. If, however, you want more features and functionalities for your website, it’s a better option to have your website customized by professional web designers and developers.
2. Not investing in social media marketing
With 59% of consumers using social media as a source of inspiration for purchases, businesses who don’t have a social media presence are missing out on a lot of opportunities. Many business owners fail to realize that social media marketing is one of the most cost-effective and powerful digital marketing strategies today. It can help you increase sales, drive traffic to your website, and boost your website’s SEO rankings.
For a social media marketing strategy to be successful, you must invest both time and effort in regularly engaging with your audience and crafting compelling content for each of your social media channels. You also need to determine which social media platforms your target audience are most active in. If you’re not sure, at the very least, a Facebook business page is a good place to start.
3. Not creating a marketing plan
Just as a business plan is essential in starting out a business venture, a marketing strategy also needs to have a clear plan for it to be successful. What some business owners fail to realize is that a business plan is different from a marketing plan, and that every business should have a formally written plan for their marketing efforts.
An effective marketing plan should cover the following business aspects: your marketing goals, target market, competitive analysis, pricing and promotional strategies, unique value proposition (UVP), marketing budget, and metrics.
4. Not tracking and evaluating results
Startup and developed businesses alike often make the mistake of being too lenient in evaluating their marketing efforts. Without thorough and regular evaluation, you won’t know what areas to improve on in your marketing strategy. You might also be wasting money on the wrong audience, in the wrong ad campaign strategy, and in the wrong type of content.
Have at least a weekly, monthly, and quarterly review on your marketing performance. Additionally, you should be able to track the following key metrics: qualified leads, cost per lead, conversion rate, engagement rate, bounce rate, click-through rate, website traffic, and time spent on page, just to name a few.
5. Refusing to try new marketing tactics
Trends in marketing frequently shift, often at a dramatic pace, depending on consumer behavior. What works well right now may not have the same effect on consumers in the near future. For many businesses, it’s easy to fall into rigid routines — and this includes sticking to the same marketing strategies over and over again.
Refusing to try new marketing tactics could greatly hurt your marketing performance, and when you’re behind the times, it could cost you your business. Businesses need to remain open to trying new marketing strategies when the need arises. Do not be afraid to experiment and venture in new and creative ways to promote your business and reaching out to consumers.
6. Lacking professional marketing collateral material
Many small businesses tend to skimp on budget for marketing collateral — such as business cards, brand logo, web design, and brochures — often opting to do it on their own to save money. However, if you’re not exactly experienced in graphic design and branding, this could backfire on your business in a big way.
Your marketing collateral reflects who you are as a business: poorly made business cards communicate the message that you’re a business with low regard with your customers. Graphic design is a specialized skill that can only be perfected through years of experience and training. Investing in professional graphic design for your marketing collaterals is essential in building the foundations of your brand identity.
Wrapping It Up
While in general, mistakes can be a positive learning experience and are a normal part of growth, you can save a lot of time, effort, and especially money if you avoid some of the most common small business marketing mistakes before you make them.
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