According to the Small Business Administration, small businesses that bring in under $5 million should devote 7 to 8% of their revenue to marketing. It would be a shame to waste your marketing spend on poor strategies. If you want a high marketing return on investment (ROI), you can’t afford to pour money down the drain. Make the most of your marketing budget by avoiding these common mistakes.
1. Failing to find your target audience
How you market depends on who you’re marketing to. And if you don’t know who you’re marketing to, you’ll be preaching to (and throwing money at) the wrong choir. You need to find your target audience.
Once you know who your target audience is, tailor your marketing strategy to them. Create offers that resonate with them, market on the platforms they use, and highlight why your product or service is something they need.
But again, you need to pinpoint your audience first before you can do all of that. To find your target audience, ask yourself these questions:
Who are my potential customers?
What do my potential customers need?
Where are my customers located?
When will these customers buy from me?
Why would they buy from me?
How do they make purchases?
When gathering target audience data, hone in on details like age, gender, and occupation. Understand how your business products or services fill a market need for these customers. Then capitalize on your target market analysis information with a marketing call to action that actually works.
2. Forgetting to emphasize your unique value proposition (UVP)
What makes your business different? Failing to call attention to what sets you apart is a marketing mistake you don’t want to make.
Whether you’re doing online or print marketing, you need to draw attention to your unique value proposition (UVP). A UVP highlights the unique benefits of a business’s products or services. If you don’t include it in your marketing materials, your target customers may opt for a seller who does.
Previously I wrote you needed to know why your target customers would buy from you. In your marketing, you need to show your customers this “why.”
3. Not setting up a website
Over one-third of small businesses don’t have a website. If you fall into this statistic, you could be making a major marketing blunder.
Small business websites build brand awareness, establish credibility, and create sales opportunities. Marketing only on social media or using traditional marketing is limiting. Consumers searching for businesses in search engines will never get the chance to know about your company if you don’t have a website.
Create a website to get in front of online consumers. Display your business’s contact information and hours of operation so customers can easily reach you.
But that’s not all. When setting up a website, consider establishing and regularly adding to a blog. Successful blogging, publishing 16 or more blog posts per month, can get you upwards of 4.5 times more leads!
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4. Refusing to measure results
A successful marketing strategy is born from failed ideas. I’ve never known a company to create perfect marketing materials off the bat. Instead, businesses continually try out new ideas.
The not-so-secret sauce to effective marketing is measuring the results through key performance indicators (KPIs). However, measuring marketing results can be a challenge. According to a study by HubSpot, 40% of businesses cited “proving the ROI of marketing activities” as a marketing struggle.
Measuring the results of your online marketing efforts is generally easier than print marketing. You can measure click rate, open rate, and conversions when you send emails. And, you can gauge how many people read your blog posts or engage with your social posts.
To effectively measure the results of print marketing, include coupons or promo codes that identify how customers heard about you.
Some essential key performance indicators you should be tracking include:
Cost of customer acquisition
Lifetime customer value
Social media traffic
5. Falling behind on trends
Social media took marketing by storm sometime in the early 2000s. How have you kept up?
Popular marketing trends that can help you stay ahead also include focusing on personalization and customer experiences. And, video marketing—along with the use of live videos—is also a critical trend. One retailer reported shoppers who viewed product videos were 144% more likely to make a purchase.
You also need to ask yourself, What’s next on the horizon? Keep up with new technologies, like chatbots and augmented reality, to stay on top of new marketing opportunities. If you fall behind on trends, your strategies can grow stale.
What’s the key to avoiding marketing mistakes?
So, now that you’re familiar with some of the top marketing mistakes that could hurt small business revenue, you probably want to know how to avoid making them. The key to avoiding these marketing mistakes (and others not mentioned here) is to create a marketing plan. Your marketing plan should outline your:
Revisit your marketing plan after you measure results, as well as when new trends emerge.
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