In order for a business to succeed, they need to have customers. How does a business attract new customers? This is a common struggle for many business owners. The simple answer is marketing. Yet, marketing a business is anything but simple or easy.
In fact, many business owners will never experience positive results in their marketing efforts, despite spending thousands of dollars on campaigns and other marketing tactics.
So, if so many people cannot get a return on their marketing investment, how can you achieve better results?
While I can’t give you an exact formula to get marketing success, an excellent place to start would be to learn from their mistakes.
As a business owner, growing a sustainable and profitable business is one of your top priorities. To become sustainable, you need to spread the word about your company.
In fact, you probably didn’t struggle with this when your company was just getting off the ground. This is because we naturally like to talk about things that make us feel excited. Unfortunately, this feeling doesn’t last. So what do you do when the newness wears off? To begin, all business owners should take the time to familiarize themselves with some of the core marketing fundamentals, even if you opt not to do your own marketing. This will help you to identify marketing strategies that are not beneficial for you business and will help you from making some costly marketing mistakes.
Here are a few of the top mistakes that I've seen other business owners make, including myself.
For your marketing to be effective, your efforts should show purpose. That requires a process. Without a system or strategy in place, your marketing activities may be irrelevant. And this applies to those working with an agency and those doing their own marketing.
If you’re working with an agency, ask questions about their processes. A reputable agency will guide you through their discovery process to learn about your business and your customers.
In my experience, the only successful projects were the ones where the owner showed up and took an interest in teaching me everything that I could absorb about their business. During my first few years in marketing, I received a lot of kick back from business owners about the discovery process. The primary objection was, “I am too busy”. And many times, I was told, “Isn’t this why I hired you”? The answer to that is Yes and No.
Yes, I can oversee your marketing, but I do not know your business like you do. And when you don’t take part in the discovery process, you are limiting data that could provide important insights into the lives of your customers, competitors, and your brand values.
This portion of the process allows your marketing experts to get to know you. And it sets a foundation for all the future campaigns that they put into place. Therefore, if you omit this step, it is possible that all of your marketing efforts are targeting the wrong audience, or that your messaging doesn’t align with your company’s values or mission.
This could mean that you’re targeting the wrong audience or demographic.
Or, it could also mean that you’re targeting the right people but not where they exist.
For example, if you’re promoting a gadget for photographers, where would you go? Opting to promote your product on Linked In might not achieve the same results as Instagram.
There are many unique types of marketing campaigns. From printed advertising, digital paid advertising, organic search, radio ads, and more. Many businesses will run multiple campaigns during the same period.
While multiple campaigns in themselves do not cause a problem. Not tracking the results can lead to more lost resources and money.
How do you know which efforts are producing results?
Most independent business owners are not aware of certain tools or marketing hacks that allow them to track where leads are coming from. Often, a business owner may think incoming leads are coming from one source when they are coming from another medium.
SEO (Search Engine Optimization) can transform a business from invisible from search queries to prominent by placing their website in the direct path of its ideal customers, leaping ahead of its competitors.
The goal is to appear on the first page of the search engine results (and ideally the first position) for a relevant keyword or key phrase associated with that business.
This is as important for a local service business as it is for an online retail store.
And while a lot of companies choose not to invest in SEO because it’s expensive to hire a marketing firm. There are many facets of SEO that an organization can do themselves. This is true now than ever before, thanks to all the valuable guides and resources online.
The fact remains that both SEO and local SEO can propel a blog post, a product, or a website to the top of the ranks when it is implemented correctly.
Unfortunately many companies get frustrated with their agency or freelancer before the resits are visible. And while it is true that some SEO tactics might provide a quick boost, this is not always the case. In fact, a new website is unlikely to see any massive gains for at least the first 6-12 months. This is because it takes time for the search engines to trust your content. However, it is important to remember that the longer that you wait the longer it will take.
The excuses I hear most often when asked why they aren’t creating content are, “I’m not a writer”.
News Flash, you need not be. You have options available.
If you don’t think you possess the skills to write a well-written piece of content, you can hire a writer.
If you think you can’t afford to hire a writer. Shop around, there are a lot of places to find writers and the prices vary from platform to platform.
If you still don’t have the funds available, write the article and hire someone to proofread, edit, or jazz it up.
There are a lot of opinions about how long an article should be. Although, it’s best not to worry about the length in the beginning, but focus on getting your ideas out there so it will help you connect to people.
A website is like a piece of digital real estate for your business. With today’s technology, getting a website is easier than ever before. Yet, many businesses think if they are not selling merchandise online, they do not need a website. But selling products is not the only reason you need a website.
In fact, there are a lot of reasons that every business needs a website. Some top reasons include:
People are turning to their smart phones to look up a business before they will consider doing business with them. This includes more than searching for a business they’ve never heard of before, people will also research a business that a friend or family member told them about. (So much for word of mouth, unless your website confirms what they were told).
In addition, most consumers will review several businesses prior to deciding which business they will use. And if your competitors have a website and you don’t, then the competition will reign.
Marketing doesn’t offer a one size fits all approach. Therefore, something that works for one business may not work for yours. However, when you understand the principals and the fundamentals of strategic planning, you’ll be able to gauge what works for your business and what doesn’t work. And if you are not getting the responses or the return that you expect, make certain that your efforts are focusing on the customer’s needs and that you’re addressing those needs.