(This is the first in a series of columns designed to help small businesses market their products or services).
Marketing has come a long way since Product, Price, Place, and Promotion were the industry buzz words. Today, marketing is a complex art and science that requires strategic planning and an intense understanding of new media.
For a small business with a limited marketing budget, there is absolutely NOTHING WORSE than spending hours working on a marketing flier... creating a sales brochure ... slaving over website copy ... carefully planning a promotion... attending networking event after networking event ...and still not ending up with any new clients - especially when you know your products or services are top-notch!
It happens all the time.
I’m sure you are great at what you do. But marketing? That's a whole other challenge.
You either don't know WHAT to do, or you're doing the best you can to figure it out on your own. Sometimes you hit a homerun. But mostly, you swing and miss. The result is costly mistakes that waste money and create missed opportunities.
From my experience, here are a few common small business marketing mistakes:
- You don’t market to the appropriate audience at the right time.
- You mimic what their competitors do rather than developing your own voice.
- You cram too much information – or the wrong information -- into your marketing.
- You can't explain what you do in a clear, concise, compelling manner.
- You don't have a logo, or if you do, it is not professional looking.
- Your business and marketing materials are an ever-changing mish-mash of looks and messages.
- Your website is not effectively capturing and tracking leads.
- You don't have a marketing plan or, if they do, they don't stick with it.
Please don’t be offended, but I’d venture to say you are making one or more of these mistakes, too.
So, what’s the answer? How can a small business, with limited budget, little time, and no expertise, put together a successful marketing campaign?
Stay tuned. Over the next few weeks, you’ll find out.