Nearly every business owner knows that effective marketing can help them reach their target audience to sell a product or service. Nearly every business owner also makes a series of common mistakes along that path to success. These mistakes hinder business owners from spending their invested capital efficiently and distract them from other imperative business decisions.
It’s time to clear the air, call out these common SMB marketing mistakes and guide decision-makers back to the path toward successful business. For a more detailed version of this article, check out Chuck’s Published Post on LinkedIn.
- Making Marketing Decisions Piecemeal
Too often, SMBs make the mistake of making marketing decisions based on the thoughts, “we really need to get the word out” and “we really need more customers.” This leads to making purchases of gimmicks and services with limited scope and fixed effectiveness. This also leads to the gobbling up of a company’s marketing budget without an overarching strategy.Instead, base vendor and spending decisions on a strategy rooted in your limitations: budget and timeline. While this is most certainly not groundbreaking insight, most companies spend massive amounts of time strategizing on behalf of clients and customers and not enough on a sound strategy of how to market themselves. It is important to take the proper time to plan internal marketing efficiently and effectively over a precise timeline. This overall marketing strategy is crucial for tying tactics together to reach measurable goals.
- Doing Your Own Branding
That logo your brother’s friend made for the company at its founding? Time to update it. That obscure name and tagline? It’s not working. A company’s brand is its core and should drive all of its messaging—right down to the phrasing used on the company voicemail. There is a reason branding agencies like BatesMeron Sweet Design exist. We are experts at diving deeply into the core of a brand, extracting its essence, examining its finer points and translating it all into refined, consistent elements: naming, tagline, logo, brand standards, elevator pitches and micro brands.
Further, we then use those prime elements to pull a brand’s essence through to every touch point with a target customer: advertising, sales materials, e-blasts, web design, brochures and signage. Your company specializes in a specific product or service, and you’re great at it. Don’t make the mistake of stepping outside of your bounds and expect to effectively translate your vision. Let the experts work their magic so you can put your best foot forward and reach your company’s goals.
- Skimping on Design
Cheap design looks like cheap design. SMB decision-makers spend far too many hours and dollars on building and refining their craft to turn around and neglect its public face. Consider this: two packs of gum are in front of you for your purchasing consideration. One has professional packaging appealing to you visually and projecting an air of tastiness, the other looks like it was spray-painted and taped together by somebody’s “creative” cousin. On the basis of appearance alone, which do you choose?
The answer is not only universal, but very human. Whether we like or not, we make psychological judgment calls constantly throughout our day. And when a new entity is introduced to our attention, the way it looks matters more than we often care to admit. The visual representation of your company is often the first impression your target consumer gets. Make it the right one by working with a professional design team.
- Skipping SEO
You don’t understand SEO. I have personally conducted SEO—search engine optimization— in the past and I don’t understand it either. Why don’t we understand it? Because it is a complex, transformational industry. SEO experts focus on SEO alone because it is a full-time job spent guessing and deciphering the secret codes of search engine giants to ensure that your company appears at the top of relevant search terms. It is vital that your customer can find you online.Don’t play with fire by deeming your company so important that sheer public adulation will drive you to the top of Google’s search results. There is an art to SEO and it all comes down to one important thing: making sure your company is easily found. Make SEO a part of your marketing plan, budget for it and hire a trusted expert to get it done. The analytics of SEO will pay off in the long term.
- Reducing Marketing When Sales are Down
There’s an ongoing joke among those in the marketing industry surrounding the CEO who thinks it’s prudent to slash a marketing budget in times of financial woe. Those in the know are aware that this is precisely the opposite strategy. As a business owner, it can be tempting to go into panic mode and start cutting budgets.On paper, a company’s marketing is often erroneously viewed as expendable among business function peers such as operations. But consider this: why preserve the budget to keep making widgets if you’ll have no new customers to buy them?
So there you have it! Business owners and decision-makers have too many choices to make to keep tripping over the same common mistakes. Here’s hoping your decisions will serve an informed, ongoing strategy to keep your company moving in the direction of success!