Perfect for a B2B business or marketing blog, this article goes over common mistakes small businesses make with their marketing strategy and how to avoid them. Includes recommended links to high-quality sources.
By ALAN MATHEW
Marketing is a vital element of any business, yet small businesses often misunderstand how to market effectively and underestimate how much time, money and effort are required. Unfortunately, the result is usually a disaster. But thankfully, where others have failed, you can succeed by learning from their mistakes.
Hopefully, you’re not making any of the following mistakes. In which case, great news for you! However, if you are, now is an excellent time to turn things around before it’s too late.
1. Having a Weak Online Presence
It doesn’t matter if you’re a local business or an international marketing; you need an online presence in today’s digital era.
97% of consumers now search online for products and services, and over half of those searched are for local businesses . Yet despite this, barely half of US businesses have a website .
A website and a social media account are essential elements of running a business. Considering the former is inexpensive, and the latter is free, there’s no reason not to use these powerful marketing tools.
2. No Marketing Plan
As a small business owner, you might think writing out a marketing plan is a waste of time and resources for their new startups, but a report from the content marketing institute  shows this couldn’t be further from the truth.
As the report shows, 40% of the least effective marketers lack a written marketing plan, whereas many B2B marketers reported increased effectiveness once they had a written plan in place.
A marketing plan will help you budget effectively, create metrics to analyze your success rate, and target your ideal audience. But, to put it bluntly, without a written marketing plan in place, you’re playing a guessing game when it comes to your marketing strategy.
3. Ignoring the Marketing Strategies of Competitors
Want a free way to discover what marketing strategies do and don’t work? Just look at what your competitors are doing.
What marketing ideas did your competitors try once and then abandon? Likewise, what do your competitors invest heavily in and do regularly?
Don’t just look at your direct local competition here. See what businesses in your industry are doing further afield as well. By studying this data carefully, you can learn from mistakes without making them yourself and get some fresh ideas on things worth trying yourself.
4. Not Differentiating Your Product or Service
So, we just talked about learning and taking ideas from your competitors. However, your business will never stand out and succeed if you only do what everyone else does.
You need to give your customers a good reason why they should come to you and not someone else. Hopefully, there’s already a good reason why customers would want to use your products and services anyway, but this won’t do you any good if you don’t tell your audience what this is.
A Unique Selling Proposition is an excellent place to start here. But, ultimately, a marketing campaign focused on educating your audience on what makes your business special is essential.
5. Treating Marketing as an Expense
Marketing isn’t an expense. It’s an investment. The whole purpose of marketing is to produce future value by creating leads. So you invest in marketing now to create growth later.
Many small businesses don’t realize this, though. As a result, when times get tough, they quickly cut their marketing budgets. Unfortunately, this is counterproductive and potentially disastrous since they essentially cut off their future revenue. On the flip side, as a MarketSence study found, businesses that invest in marketing during times of recession often see exponential growth .
If you don’t see marketing as an investment, now is the time for a change in perspective.
6. Marketing to the Wrong Audience
When you start your business, you probably have a notion of who your ideal customer is. However, once you’re up and running, it’s time to drop these notions and see who is buying your products and services.
Marketing to the wrong audience is a sure-fire way to drive up costs and flush money down the drain. So instead, spend time learning who is buying your products and why.
Whatever you do, don’t disregard your already paying customers in trying to reach a new audience, as you’ll probably lose more of an audience than you gain.
7. Not Tracking Results
If you don’t track your results, you won’t know what works. You also won’t know what doesn’t work. Actually, without tracking, you won’t know much of anything.
Whether it’s not keeping an eye on your pay per click (PPC) conversions or not knowing your cost per lead (CPL) or cost per customer (CPC), a lack of metrics or analytics will leave you in the dark.
Running a successful business involves a lot of trial and error, but you’ll never improve or learn from mistakes if you don’t track.