Becoming a small business owner, or the marketer for one, can be challenging because there are a lot of thing that must be learned by trial and error. Every industry, market, and consumer is a little different, so there is no magic formula for perfect marketing. However, there is no reason to reinvent the wheel. Here are four common marketing mistakes that small business owners should avoid.
Giving Up on a Tactic Too Quickly
Abandoning a marketing strategy prematurely could easily be the biggest mistake that all marketers make, and the experienced are just as susceptible as the novice. This is evident from the number of blogs there are where people lament that “_________ marketing doesn’t work because we tried it and didn’t our company.”
It’s important to remember the the experience of one company (or even several companies) is not enough to justify or debunk a marketing strategy when there are tens of thousands of companies who use the tactic. The value of a marketing tactic can only be measured when there is enough data from enough trials. This is true for individual businesses. Marketers have to be willing to try multiple times to find what works for their audience. Far too often, a marketer promotes one post on Facebook, doesn’t get the result they want, and then writes the off all of social media marketing as a result.
In this day and age, marketers need to start from the assumption that internet marketing works, and look to their content before blaming the medium they chose. Marketers must use the same kinds of skills they learned for other marketing channels. If a business puts out a bad television commercial, and they get a poor response, no one in the marketing team is going to say, “Well, TV ads don’t work.” There is just too much evidence to the contrary. Instead, they are going to try to make a better commercial, find a more appropriate channel to show it on, have a better offer, etc.
The same is true for internet strategies like social media marketing and email marketing. There is too much evidence that internet marketing, email marketing, and social media marketing can work. Rather than giving up after one attempt, marketers need to examine their content, refine their strategy, learn from those who successfully used the tactic, and then try again. It’s a much more useful way to handle difficulties in internet marketing than going online and trying to convince others that just because one company couldn’t do it, no company can do it.
Non Targeted Marketing Campaign
In most cases, marketers have no choice but to create campaigns for specific target demographics, because only the target audience would want the product. To illustrate, a male hair loss product clearly only appeals to a specific kind of person. But when marketers find themselves with a product or service that has widespread appeal, there is a tendency to try to market to all groups at once. The problem is that no marketing or advertising campaign to appeal to all people equally. Trying to do so leads to content that is so bland and generic that it doesn’t appeal to anyone. This may mean writing different ads for different groups. It’s far better to put in the effort and make two good ads that appeal to target audiences, than make one ad the appeals to noone. Even soap manufacturers know they need to target their marketing.
Ironically, this problem is most severe on social media channels, where marketers know that there is a diverse range of people, but social media channels, like Facebook, offer some of the best tools for targeting specific demographics. Before beginning a social media marketing campaign, small business owners need to take the time to familiarize themselves with targeting tools and other available techniques a social network may have for targeted campaigning.
Inadequate Marketing Budgets
Though the old adage, “you’ve got to spend money to make money,” is often heard from people selling the equivalent of internet marketing snakeoil, it is true all the same. Small business owners are understandably wary of spending too much on marketing and advertising, but trying to run a bare budget campaign can lead to unsatisfactory results.
The need for adequate budgets is especially important for social media marketers. There are so many users and competitors on social networks, it is hard to target specific audiences effectively and to reach them before the competition if the company is relying solely on the organic spread of the material on the social media network.
This doesn’t mean that business owners need to plow every dollar they can into Facebook ads, but it does mean that internet marketing strategies show include budgets for promoting content on social media and pay per click advertising. It is naive to expect good results from internet marketing without using some paid advertising. Despite what people may want to believe about their product or service, nothing is so amazing that it sells itself.
Not Enough or Over Dependence on Research
A common mistake for new business owners is that they don’t do enough research before they start their marketing campaign. Most small business owners can’t afford large focus groups and scientific surveys, but it’s not enough to rely on information from friends and family. However, this doesn’t mean that marketing plans have to be developed in ignorance. There is plenty of information available that small business owners should consult.
The solution is to take the time to perform secondary research. Study reports produced by other researchers, read blogs from experts about the subject, and check with other business owners that can give an unbiased opinion.
It’s equally important not to become dependent on making marketing decisions based solely on research data. Researching a topic doesn’t mean getting bogged down with numbers and data. While the statistical data involving a particular tactic may be useful, it shouldn’t be the deciding factor when developing a campaign. The key to successful marketing is balancing data with good business sense. But to do that, business leaders need to be sure they have both.
Effective marketing is something that all businesses must strive for if the wish to succeed. Using tips like these and research from others can help business owners avoid the pitfalls that have claimed other businesses that were ill-prepared for adapting to the challenges of internet marketing.