Marketing moves at break neck speed. For small business owners this presents a huge problem. Not only do they need to find the time to keep pace, but they also need to ensure that their existing marketing activities are relevant, prudent, and that they are generating return on their investment.
Ultimately, they need to make sure they’re not creating fundamental problems that will cost them big.
So, here’s our top 8 common marketing problems. Which are you suffering from?
1 // Not having a strategy
We’re not the first to say this, and we won’t be the last. Having a marketing strategy, that includes clearly defined goals, is vital. And, planning out tactics, budgets, and timelines are all crucial to the success of your business. But don’t just take our word for it. According to market research included in the 2015 Content Marketing Trends report, businesses with documented marketing strategies are twice as likely to achieve marketing success.
We say: “Taking time to decide on, and document a marketing strategy keeps your marketing activities on track, and your marketing team organised and efficient from the start”.
2 // Stressing about the small stuff
All too often we come across business owners who have tied themselves up in knots with concerns over blogging, twitter, Facebook, pay-per-click and whole host of other marketing tactics. When in fact what they should be getting straight first is their business proposition.
We say: “Work out what your service is, how it will make you money, and who you’ll target first. The right direction for the rest will naturally follow”.
3 // Taking a website holiday
An effective business website is the online hub of all your marketing and lead generation. And, according to research conducted by Google, the first impression of a webpage happens in the blink of an eye (50 milliseconds to be exact). That’s why one of the biggest marketing mistakes made by SMEs is not maintaining their website.
We say: “You’ve invested in a professional site which is easy to navigate, search engine friendly and mobile ready…but you’ve forgotten about the most important part; updates! With long-tail searches now contributing 70% of search traffic, and 65% of buyers citing vendor’s content as impacting their purchase decision, this is a mistake which will hit you hard on the bottom line”.
4 // Letting marketing rule you
We work with lots of clients who are dedicated to marketing their businesses, but find that manually creating campaigns is becoming too time consuming and ineffective. Perhaps they feel the pressure to constantly post pictures real time to Instagram or Facebook, or only manage to dispatch email marketing late in the evening once the business is closed.
We say: “Experts estimate that effective marketers spend at least 50%of their time on content. But the great news is that much of this content can now be automated. By using a marketing automation platform our clients are able to schedule emails, segment contacts, automate social media posting, manage their content, and track the lifecycle of customers. Staying lean, focused, and as profitable as possible without compromising on quality”.
5 // Being head, not heart
Lots of small business owners are so busy slogging away at the coal face; getting to grips with the business environment, finding cost effective ways to reach customers, how to communicate across more channels and more devices. So busy in fact that they forget about softer stuff. Delivering a meaningful customer experience.
We say: “Companies that focus on customer experience throughout a customer’s lifetime see higher growth, with studies showing that it takes 12 positive experiences to make up for one negative experience. Perfect the customer experience, and integrate it into the marketing strategy, and opportunities for customer engagement, interaction and sales will grow as a result”.
6 // Being impatient
Marketing, no matter how great, doesn’t deliver success overnight. You need patience, and staying power to attract an audience base that is not only large enough to sustain you, but is also perfectly matched to your products, price point, and service benefits. Most experts agree that the “Rule of Seven” (people need to see or hear about you seven times or more before they take any action) is still very true.
We say: “Great marketing doesn’t happen overnight. You can’t just throw out a product and expect people to flock to it because you’ve created it”.
7 // Being short on skills
The internet doesn’t care that you are a small business. It judges you equally against all other businesses, be they large or micro. This level playing field offers huge potential for business growth, but it also presents a massive headache when it comes to HR. And, the fact is most SMEs are inexperienced or understaffed when it comes to marketing. There’s nothing wrong with admitting you can’t do it all.
We say: “To succeed in internet marketing you need a team full of specialists, from a graphic designer to craft engaging infographics and promotions materials, to a great content writer, technical SEO specialist, and a senior strategist able to understand conversion rate optimisation. We are that team. Experienced at crafting internet marketing strategy to generate results.”
8 // Not measuring results
When there is an insufficient reporting system, or no reporting system at all you are always operating blind. Unable to assess the success of a seasonal promotion, a Google ad and social media competition. And unable to plan where best to invest in the future. This puts you at a competitive disadvantage.
We say: “It’s important to have a simple reporting methodology so that you can capture, organise and interpret campaign data. This means you can improve your marketing efforts next time, and keep improving ROI. Ask, did we generate more website traffic? Did that traffic generate leads? And, have those leads turned into actual customers?”
Viewpoint Marketing is a full service marketing agency based in Chelmsford, Essex. We create successful, strong brands, marketing and advertising as well as innovative websites and online solutions for growing businesses.