Marketing is a crucial priority for every small business – but it can also be something of a minefield.
Whether you are new to marketing or you’ve already been through the trenches, mistakes will happen. We’ve compiled a list of some of the most common problems for you to avoid in order to maximise your marketing success.
1. Not being consistent
Consistency is one of the most vital considerations in marketing. You need to make sure that your message is the same across every channel. Clearly, this becomes more complicated when you are using more channels, but it is crucial that you are taking the time to ensure that your messaging remains the same. This means using the same tone of voice, the same brand images, and the same colour schemes across every channel, whether that includes direct mail, social media, or print advertising.
2. Pushing too hard for a sale
This might sound counterintuitive, but often the most effective way to make a sale is to take a softly-softly approach. Think not about how you can push the potential customer into making a purchase, but instead about how you can help them fulfil their needs in order that you are top of their mind when they come to buy. Content marketing is a great way of doing this; using these techniques you publish interesting, useful, informative content online in order to solidify your brand position amongst current and potential customers.
3. Ignoring local search
Local search has become an increasingly vital aspect of online marketing, and yet it is still frequently overlooked. Google’s Places service can provide you with far more visibility in search results. Just as importantly, it can help to ensure that you appear on mobile Google Maps results – a major consideration given the increase in mobile use amongst UK consumers. You can find out more about Google+ Local and Google Pages in our new microsite.
4. Forgetting about promotions
Price remains a key factor in determining consumers’ and businesses’ purchasing decisions. Promotions should therefore be one of the key weapons in your marketing arsenal. While price promotions might cut into your margins to begin with, they can be a highly effective means by which you can encourage repeat custom. Combine this with a well-planned loyalty campaign and you can transfer promotions into loyal customers.
5. Not identifying your USP
Your USP is one of your most important assets. This defines what you have to offer that your competitors don’t. Your USP could be as simple as ‘impeccable customer service’, but you need to identify it and then build your marketing around it. Why should potential customers choose you? By answering this question you can help to position your business in your marketplace, and build marketing efforts that really mark you out.
6. Forgetting the customer
It can be tempting to get carried away with your own vision of what your business should be, forgetting that the real focus must be on the customer. Every aspect of your marketing should be customer-focused. What does your customer want, where do they live, and why should they deal with you rather than your competitors? By keeping the customer constantly at the forefront of your mind you can help to ensure that your marketing efforts are properly directed.
7. Cutting back
Finally, in these straightened times, businesses across the country are looking for ways to cut their spending. All too frequently, this means that small firms now back on their marketing efforts. In fact, this is often counter-productive. As competition increases, it becomes ever more important that your business is visible and competitive. This means doubling down on your marketing to ensure that you are best placed to benefit from every pound spent.