Running a small business is not easy. From the cash flow crunch, competitive marketplace, to tire kicker homeowners, small businesses have to grapple with a wide array of issues as they grow. That’s why you can’t be surprised to hear that a big portion of the startups fail even before they get to a point where they can be financially reliant. Well, there are of course those that have succeeded and marketing has played a central role in this. As you know, your business needs to sell to generate revenue and you can’t sell if you don’t have a customer base. Marketing is designed to help you acquire a share in the market or expand the share that you already have. Contrary to what most people think, marketing is not just spending, it’s an investment.
There are a number of mistakes though that small businesses make in their marketing effort and here are some of them:
Failing to Embrace the Digital World
Digital marketing is the new frontier in business marketing. As a small business, leveraging on the internet to reach out to new customers can open new doors for your business to expand its market and revenue streams significantly. And you don’t even have to invest in a big digital marketing strategy to get results. Even something as small as opening a social media page for your business can really play a central role in market expansion.
Not Following Up On Leads
The main reason why you are marketing your business is to generate leads. These are basically contacts with people who will use your service or buy your products. However, generating leads is not the hardest part. Converting that lead into a sale is what really matters. You need to remember that making the initial contact with a customer is the first step in building a relationship but it can’t just end with the contact. As a good marketing practice, you need to follow up on the lead. Some of the things to do include:
- Making a follow up with the client approximately 30 minutes after the first contact
- Follow up with the client after providing a quote
- Calling at the right time so that someone answers your call
- Showing up for meetings with the client if needed
Not Using a Lead Generation Service
As noted in the introduction of this post, many small businesses lack the expertise needed to take the business to the next level. If this expertise is lacking in the lead generation team, then there’s nothing wrong with hiring a lead generation service provider that can bring that expertise to the table. After all, it’s not possible for you to do everything on your own and outsourcing to someone who can do the job can really help increase the efficiency and maximize marketing outcomes.
Not Asking for Referrals
There’s a lot of value in having a loyal base of customers. Building trust is a great advantage because you are guaranteed of return buyers. However, there’s more to it. If you have a loyal customer base, you can leverage on that loyalty to get more business. You can request clients to bring in friends and other people they know who would use your service. Add an incentive too so that the loyal clients are encouraged to do so as well.
Failing to Recognize the Power of Thank You
Although the words “thank you” may look simple, they carry so much weight. Customers want to feel appreciated and a thank you note is indeed a great way of doing this. So instead of packing up the tools and leaving without a word after finishing the contract, next time make sure you leave or send a thank you note. It will really go a long way in strengthening your relationship with your client.
Making the Assumption That People Know About You
Don’t always assume that people in your locality know about your business. This can be a huge mistake. Even if you feel that the word is out there, make sure you remind people who you are and what you can offer. Get involved with the community and engage people on what you do. You never know, you may just strike gold simply by talking to people.
Advertising is, of course, expensive but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it. There are a number of low-cost solutions you can use to advertise your business. For example, a contractor offering plumbing services can brand his work van with the business name, contacts, and slogan. This also ties in with a website.
Failing to Do Networking
Interacting with customers and other professionals in the field is simply a must. Although most people may not really like this, it’s an essential part of your business. And you don’t even have to do this all the time. Even if you can attend 2 or 3 trade shows a year, you will learn so much that it will eventually make a positive effect on your company.
Underestimating Business Cards
Business cards might be old school but they are still an effective tool for selling and advertising your business. Don’t forget to carry your business card everywhere you go. Whether you are going for a job, meeting a client, or attending a trade show, always carry your business card with you.
Not Asking for Customer Feedback
Your business should never stop asking for customer reviews. You should always ask for customer feedback so that you understand what they need. Don’t assume that everything is smooth sailing. Remember that old rule that “the customer is always right?” Take some time to find out what the customer thinks and improve based on that expectation.
Well, marketing does not need to be hard and if you can avoid the mistakes above, there’s no doubt that you will get great results. It’s just that simple!