Running a small business is extremely difficult. One of the most difficult parts of the job is marketing your business. While huge corporations may have huge marketing budgets with almost limitless resources, small business owners must make do with much less. If you want to succeed at marketing your small business, there are common mistakes you must avoid. Below are five.
Not Properly Utilizing Social Media
One statistic you should be aware of is that over 4.4 billion people use social media. That will be a huge portion of your customer base. If you aren’t utilizing social media as a small business owner, you are making a huge mistake. It doesn’t matter what kind of business you are running either. Even small local restaurants need a social media presence. Many of your would-be customers may end up checking your page and menu on Facebook. If they can’t find your Facebook page, they may end up choosing to eat somewhere that does have a social media presence. Utilizing social media accounts is typically free, so it shouldn’t be a difficult choice.
Not Utilizing Affiliate Marketing
Another powerful tool that should be at your disposal is affiliate marketing. Affiliate marketing can be thought of as a kind of outsourcing in a sense. Instead of only you and your employees performing the physical acts of advertising your products, third parties and affiliates, will be utilized.
These affiliates will then go out and advertise your products and help to create leads for your sales team or direct traffic to your website or brick and mortar stores in exchange for a commission.
Gaining access to these third parties isn’t as difficult as you may assume. It is usually as simple as joining an affiliate marketing network that can give you access to the talent you need to sell your products.
Not Localizing Your SEO
Search engine optimization is something every business should utilize for marketing purposes. Most people these days, of course, use their smartphones to find products they want to buy and businesses they want to patronize. However, you shouldn’t try to optimize a small business in the same manner you would a huge national chain.
Instead, you must focus squarely on localized SEO strategies. This means tying your business directly to your city, town, county, and general geographic area in regards to SEO key terms and phrases. It also means getting your business listed on online map services and other locally relevant resources. Doing so can drive customers directly to your door.
Not Utilizing Market Research
Something else that every business needs is quality market research. This is not something only reserved for big corporations and huge national brands. Market research can also do a lot of good for small businesses as well. If you can understand exactly who your core customer is, you’ll be able to more successfully market directly to them. Think, for example, if you could know exactly who your most likely customers were in terms of age, income, race, ethnic background, sex, religion, preferences, and hobbies. You could fine-tune your marketing messages directly to people who fit that specific criterion. This may allow you to draw in more people than you would have if you were using a more generic and uniform approach.
Not Watching Your Competition
While not directly following your competitors in all regards is a good idea, you should still be very cognizant of what they are doing in the market. This is especially true for small businesses. If your market is small enough, one or two new competitors could be enough to knock you out of business entirely. Overall, you must follow trends in your industry. While there may be a few things about your business you don’t want to change, not changing anything can be a foolhardy choice that can leave you in the dust of more market-savvy competitors that better understand the changing needs and preferences of consumers.
Don’t ignore the importance of marketing and performing your marketing correctly as a small business. There can be many challenges to overcome in regards to marketing that much larger businesses do not have to contend with. Still, if you put in the appropriate time and effort and avoid common mistakes, you may find that you can draw in enough business to produce profits you hadn’t even dreamed were possible in the past.