Building and maintaining a successful brand is all about marketing your products, services or yourself. Although mistakes can be thought of as opportunities to learn new things, marketers often have to work with very small margins for error, namely due to being very limited with their time and available resources. All it takes is a single mistake to further limit their resources and it would take even more time just to make things right, let alone do a decent job advertising the brand. Here are some of the most common marketing pitfalls small business get caught in, as well as advice on how to avoid them in the first place.
1.) Not having an advertising plan
Promoting your products and services without an advertising plan is nothing more than shooting blindfolded and hoping to get a hit. While you may experience a lucky streak and achieve your results, in the end, you’ll be wasting a lot of money and time in order to do so. An advertising strategy will outline precisely what it is you want to accomplish, but a marketing plan will provide you with details on how you’re going to do it. If you plan out your strategy properly, you will know the exact tactics you need to deploy, how much will they cost and the amount of time needed to achieve positive results.
2.) Not having a business website
Considering that people tend to search for everything these days, whether it’s for directions, pricing and availability information or to simply to compare two products, having a business website to provide them with that information is very important. Just make sure that the website you’re making will be mobile friendly, or at least responsive. This way, you’re catering to both desktop and mobile users and providing them with an excellent user experience.
3.) Lack of a dedicated marketing budget
Whether you’re running a small to medium-sized business or a billion-dollar corporation, advertising is crucial for your company’s growth and profitability. The issue is that the majority of startups and small businesses simply don’t allocate enough resources into advertising, or worse, they don’t even have a dedicated budget for marketing. A marketing budget is calculated based on the industry you’re working in, the size of your company, as well as the stage of growth you’re currently in. It is split into costs regarding brand development such as blogs, websites, sales, etc. and business promotion costs that include advertising, different marketing campaigns, events, product and service promotion, etc.
As a rule of thumb, a small business that generates less than few million dollars a year needs to allocate around 7%-8% of their overall revenue for marketing. That said, startups and small businesses are notoriously low on cash, which is why business owners often get into massive bank and credit card debt in order to keep their companies afloat. A much more reasonable idea would be to consider low rate personal loans, namely due to significantly lower interest rates, which can also be completely personalized, but also very quick to get a hold of. All you have to do is get a personalized rate quote, which can be done for free, complete the application and your loan will be ready within about 72 hours.
4.) Lack of an adequate sales funnel
A properly developed advertising budget requires going over every little detail regarding your sales funnel. This requires knowing the exact number of monthly visits, generated leads, converting leads, as well as the costs associated with generating and converting them, such as content creation, website development, pay-per-click advertising, SEO etc. You also need to know the typical value and the revenue of every new conversion and use all this information to further improve your strategy and maximize your revenue, which leads us to the last mistake on this list and that is:
5.) Not tracking your results
Unless you track your results, there’s no way to know whether your strategy actually works. Whether it’s tracking website goals with Google Analytics, conversion rates via your pay-per-click advertiser or the amount of paying customers you need to generate in order to keep your company running. This information is crucial- without it, you’re not making a way for improvement and you’re essentially throwing all of your hard-earned money away.
These mistakes are just the tip of the advertising iceberg. Other mistakes include not researching your market, not knowing your target audience, failing to keep track of your competitors and simply positioning marketing as a cost, instead of an investment. Develop a strategy and create a plan to see it through, measure the results, tweak and repeat. As simple as it sounds, far too many companies don’t even advertise in the first place, limiting the amount of brand exposure, as well as the amount of revenue they could potentially generate.
Lauren Wiseman is an entrepreneur, currently based in Melbourne and a regular contributor to bizzmarkblog.com. She assists clients in growing their personal and professional brands in a fast-changing and demanding market environment. Covering finance and investment topics, Lauren strongly believes in holistic approach to business.
Any questions on this post? Just ask!