No matter what industry you’re in, marketing is essential. Even though it can make or break your business, it’s still one of the most exciting aspects of business ownership, with potentially unlimited ways to promote your value offerings. Yet, most small businesses still get caught making some avoidable mistakes of marketing. In this post, we’ll look at the top 5 mistakes small businesses make in their marketing plan and share some actionable steps to avoid them.
Mistakes Small Businesses Make in their Marketing Plan
For small businesses to succeed in marketing, they should have an in-depth knowledge of what to do, and more importantly, what not to do. The following are 5 mistakes small businesses make in their marketing plan:
1. Not Developing a Marketing Plan or Budget
Trying to promote your business without a marketing plan is like driving a car blindfolded. Sure, you know how to drive the car, but there’s no way you’ll get to your destination, even if you don’t crash. Without a marketing plan or budget, you will most probably waste your money in the process. If you don’t have one, here are 5 steps to create a marketing plan:
- Set your marketing goals and budget.
- Conduct market research and identify your target audience.
- Conduct competitive analysis and differentiate your brand.
- Finalize your marketing strategy and set an implementation schedule.
2. No Customer Segmentation
Another common mistake of marketing is considering everyone to be a potential customer even if you have a product that appeals to huge audiences. You need to segment your potential customers to ensure you don’t flush down your marketing dollars by targeting the wrong audience. Here are simple steps to segment your target audience:
- Identify your target market in terms of geography, demographics, psychographics, and behavioral models.
- Create subgroups using these models.
- Identify expectations and needs of these subgroups and devise separate marketing strategies to target each.
3. No Differentiation Strategy to Gain Competitive Edge
We live in a world dominated by red ocean businesses. So, it’s rare that new businesses create a new category or product/service that’s never been seen before. Thus, small businesses face a lot of competition, which is why they need to have a unique value proposition – a solid reason that explains how you’re different from other businesses and why they should buy from you.
Here are 3 steps to create a differentiation strategy:
- Determine what you want to be known for and how prospects can benefit from your area of expertise.
- Do your research.
- Conduct a competitive analysis to develop your differentiators and unique selling proposition.
4. Not Developing an Online Presence
We live in an era where most consumers research a business online before making a purchase decision. Yet over 35% of small businesses still don’t have a website. Another mistake small businesses make in their marketing plan is thinking that they’re local, have just one location, or too small to need a website.
Apart from not having a website, many small businesses ignore the potential of social media. Today, it has become one of the most cost-effective marketing techniques for small business owners. Here’s how you build your online presence:
- Invest in a website (preferably professionally made. You can also create one yourself using website creating sites like Wix, WordPress, or Sqarespace etc.
- To build your social media presence, smart small by focusing on one platform at a time.
- Select and analyze your success metrics.
5. Poor Understanding of Marketing Metrics
Many small businesses and startups don’t have a great handle on marketing metrics and ratios, which is why they fail to understand what’s working, what isn’t, and how much they should be spending on to attract new customers and retain existing ones.
While it’s important to measure CTR, impressions, and backlinks, small businesses should also measure:
- The visit rate to understand which type of content generates the most visitors.
- Lead rate and volume
- Sales funnel report data to understand and optimize your customers’ purchase journey.
For small businesses, there’s a slim line between success and failure. Now that you know some of the top mistakes of marketing, eliminate them and put together an effective marketing plan to reach more customers and grow profitably.