Here’s how not to suck at marketing your small business
When you are a small business owner, your business can succeed or fail in a season and mistakes can be extremely costly. Fortunately, if you know the things to avoid, you can plan ahead and make sure you don’t become one of the 50% of businesses who fail in their first two years of trading.
1) Believing everyone is a customer
When we ask a business ‘who is your customer?’ and the answer is ‘everyone’ then we know we are already in the red zone. This just means you’ve not done the work to really understand who needs your product or service and why. If you get this wrong and fail to identify the specific groups of people for whom your particular widget is essential and necessary, then you will be ever-pouring your advertising and promotional dollars straight down the drain.
2) Building a website
Building a website is the LAST thing you should do. Really? Most SME’s now know that in order to be found and trusted by potential customers, they need a website. Quite right. So they rush into making this the first thing that they put together. Unfortunately, if they have already fallen into trap 1) then the chances are they aren’t even directing this site to the right people – and will spend lots of money on the wrong thing. Also, businesses make the mistake of building a site that tells customers exactly what they are all about, instead of trying to understand ‘What would someone searching for a solution to X need to know in order to buy from me? Build your website at the end of the process of knowing who you are talking to, what they want from you and how much they are prepared to pay for it.
3) Focus only on leads and not on conversion
Many businesses are so focused on getting new leads, that they forget all about the conversion process of the existing leads. It’s all well and good to have a promotional campaign, but if you don’t contact those people who have engaged with your business within 24hrs, chances are you are pouring money down the drain again. One client improved his business by 200% revenue in three months, just by putting in a telesales follow up call to the leads he had already generated. If you are a B2C business (business to consumer) you need to work doubly hard to ensure that the customer experience is strong at the point of sale.
4) Taking the eye off the customer
It is easier to generate additional spend from a happy, existing customer than it is to find and build loyalty in a new customer. Happy customers will bring back friends, will willingly up-size and add-on. Happy customers will sing your praises and do the job of promoting your business cheaply and with more conviction than promotions can. Many businesses fail to really make an effort to treat their existing customers as if they were brand new customers – nurturing them, checking they are (still) happy and telling them about other existing and new products and services. a reminder to an existing customer that you also can meet their X,Y and Z needs is 65% more likely to get a response than if you tried the approach on a brand new prospect.
5) Missing out the Call to Action (CTA)
What do you want me to do? Did you ever see a great advertisement and then realise there is no phone number? Or visit a lovely website and come away without engaging with the company? Customers mostly do what they are told to do – you need to plant in their minds exactly what it is that you expect them to do and make doing that process as EASY as possible. If people are coming to your website, make sure you explain on each page what you expect them to do with the information they are receiving and tell them how, when and why to contact you (if this is what you want). KISS – Keep it Simple, Stupid. Make sure your message is easy to understand , easy to follow – and requires little effort on their part to do it. Make some smaller steps to your main goal if it’s a big thing like driving out to see you, that will start the relationship with them in the right way right from the start.