You could have the greatest business idea in the world, but with poor marketing, no one would ever know about it.
The beauty of living in the digital age is that there are many different ways to market a business, and many of them provide substantial return-on-investment (ROI).
Gone are the days when you needed to pay big money for ads just to get your business off the ground.
On the other hand, all those ways to market your business also means there’s quite a bit to learn. And trying to wing it is a bad idea, because poor marketing is just as bad as no marketing.
Whether you’ve already created marketing campaigns for your business or you’re still in the research phase, make sure you avoid these five common mistakes.
1. Lack of Research
The saying “failing to plan is planning to fail” certainly holds true in the marketing world. No matter the methods you choose, it’s better to do your homework so you can set yourself up to get the best results instead of wasting time and possibly money on ineffective campaigns.
For example, let’s say you decide to start practicing content marketing by publishing blog posts on your business's website.
This is a common strategy, and can work well if you do it right. However, you need to research things such as what topics will resonate with your audience and which keywords to focus and then structure your posts accordingly for the best results.
Otherwise, you’ll get lost amongst the crowd of other content, and your content marketing efforts won't draw any traffic and produce the results you need.
It doesn’t matter if you’re focusing on content marketing, Google pay-per-click (PPC) ads, marketing your business on Facebook or another marketing method. Your first step should be research, followed by coming up with a strategy.
2. Spreading Yourself Too Thin
If you’re trying to market your business everywhere, you’re probably not doing a very good job of marketing it anywhere.
The reality is that there’s only so much time in the day, and when you own a small business, you can only commit so much of your time and resources on your marketing efforts.
Large corporations can market themselves on a variety of different channels, but you’ll need to be more selective to have success.
In the early stages, it’s a good idea to stick to about one to four marketing methods. How many you choose will depend on the size of your marketing team.
So, instead of putting generic promotional posts on every social media site, you could stick to developing your business’s blog and its Twitter account.
As your business grows, you can commit more resources to your marketing and expand to new marketing methods.
3. You Don't Know Your Target Audience
Narrowing down your focus isn’t just important when it comes to your marketing methods. It’s also crucial that you narrow down who you’re marketing to.
Nothing is going to appeal to everyone, and that’s especially true for small businesses. You should be able to define your target audience with ease, but far too many small business owners haven’t even thought about it or have a very general idea of it.
If your target audience is “men,” “small business owners,” “homeowners” or anything similar, then it’s not specific enough.
An example of a better target audience would be “renters between 20 and 30 with annual incomes of $40,000 and above in Seattle.”
This allows you to make your marketing efforts much more specific. You’re not excluding those outside your target audience, you’re just marketing to the people who are most likely to buy from your business.
4. Failure to Keep Track of Your Results
Effective marketing is about testing and analyzing the results of your efforts and making adjustments to improve those results.
If you aren’t tracking and analyzing the results of your campaigns, how can you expect to improve anything?
With all the analytical tools available online, there’s no excuse for failing to track results. Google Analytics is a great way to track statistics related to your business’s website.
All the major social networks have their own analytical tools that you can use to see what kind of engagement your account and your ads get as well.
One of the simplest ways you can test and analyze is through A/B testing. You simply change one factor on a web page or ad, and then see which one performs better.
For example, you could set up a PPC ad with two different headlines to check which headline gets a better click-through rate (CTR).
5. Issues with Your Business Website
A website is a necessity to market your small business. A business's website should be able to provide helpful information about what your business does, why you do it, your products and services, and so on and so forth.
However, only 51 percent of small businesses even had websites at the end of 2014. Considering how many people research businesses online, failing to set up a business website is a huge mistake.
With templates, it’s not too difficult to set up at least a starter website on your own, or you could simply hire someone with experience to give you a platform for growth.
It’s not enough just to have a website, though. If your website is unprofessional, it can do more harm than good.
That’s why it’s important to make sure the website is topnotch before launching it. It should include multiple ways customers can contact you, effective copy, and a call to action encouraging customers to take a specific action.
Make sure it’s fast, because it's no secret that people don’t like waiting for websites to load. It also needs to be mobile-friendly, as the number of web users browsing on their smartphones continues to grow with each passing day.
Setting your small business apart from the competition isn’t easy. The effectiveness of your marketing efforts plays a major role.
By avoiding these five common marketing mistakes, your efforts to grow as a small business are much more likely to be a success.
I hope you found this information beneficial and feel free to comment down below any thoughts or questions you may have.