Small businesses need effective marketing more than any other type of business.
With larger businesses, there is more leeway and they aren’t as negatively impacted if there marketing efforts don’t produce the results that they targeted. Big businesses have more room for forgiveness in their marketing for two simple reasons: they have deep pockets and a vast marketing budget. On the other hand, small businesses are the complete opposite. Time and money are very limited and they usually don’t have the marketing budget or leverage to buy advertising in the most competitive marketing channels.
This is why small businesses need the most effective marketing that money can buy so they can rest assured that they will receive a positive ROI on their advertising and marketing expenditures. If you run a small business, make sure that you don’t make the following critical online marketing mistakes that small businesses make all too often.
1. The Failure to Exercise Patience
Yet another marketing blunder that newbies and small businesses make is failing to exercise patience. The fact of the matter is that keywords are by and large extremely competitive. It takes a lot of hard work to get to the top; don’t make the mistake of thinking that you can get there overnight.
In addition to the hard work and stiff competition, there’s another reason why it takes a while to rank for your relevant keywords. Google has actually incorporated code into their search algorithm that intentionally makes it more difficult for new sites to rank. Think of it as a time-delay that prevents brand new sites from buoying to the top of the search engine results pages. In reality it is another online entry barrier to your industry that keeps out the riff-raff and helps protect all the hard work you have done to reach relevant rankings.
After all, you wouldn’t want a brand new site to pop up and replace you in a matter of days, would you?
Of course not! Maintain patience because you won’t rise to the top in the blink of an eye.
2. Failing to Watch the Competition
Not keeping an eye on the competition is a big no-no in any industry. Contrary to what you may believe, the search engine rankings are constantly changing. Competitors rise and fall as they publish new content, acquire more back-links, and further optimize their sites for various other Google ranking signals. This is why hiring an SEO professional is so valuable. It’s more than a full-time job monitoring other businesses in your keyword space, fine-tuning your website to rank higher, developing quality content, and all the while keeping up with the latest social media trends and changes to the Google search algorithm.
If you lose sight of your competition for even a little while, you will give them an opportunity to capture organic traffic streams that could have been yours. Competition is pretty darn stiff these days, and competing companies are always looking for clever marketing tactics that will give them an edge over their competitors. Keep an eye on other businesses in your industry or live to regret it!
3. Not Creating and Promoting Great Content
For well over ten years the online marketing mantra has been the same: Content is King. It still rings true today.
Content is not only a great way to build up your website and educate your potential customers, but it's also a tried-and-true way to get backlinks from other sites. It establishes you ask the expert, and others want to share your great information.
And I don’t care what industry you’re in – back-links are undeniably valuable and usually necessary to get to the first page of Google. If you aren’t promoting your content off-site, you are making a marketing blunder that is stymying the growth of your business and crippling the effectiveness of your online marketing efforts. What good is creating great content if you don't get eyeballs in front of it?
Some small businesses neglect to add content to their website because they realize that they just don’t have the time to keep posting regularly. But this is a gigantic marketing mistake. Content adds a lot of value to your site that far surpasses the benefit of helping you rank for keywords. Not only will your blog rank for keywords, but it can help you:
- Build an audience
- Provide value for your readers
- Serves as “link bait” to bolster your back-link profile
- Cast yourself as an authority figure in your industry
- Engage your readers and interact with them via commenting options
- Provides marketing leverage through social media channels like Twitter and Facebook
Now, there are other ways to get links. You could choose to go out and spam forums with links to your site and list your website in every directory you can find on the Internet, but get this: Google has become highly evolved at finding websites who abuse back-link scams. I'd highly recommend against doing this!
Not only will creating great content give your website more authority, it will establish you as the 'smartest guy/gal in the room' - even if you're not!
4. Not Having a Followup System in Place
So you've put together a great lead magnet and are actively soliciting people through Calls to Action on your content - then what? Many business fail to put a system into place that will 'touch' these prospects on a regular basis after they visit their website.
And I don't mean you'll send them a boring "here's what we're up to" newsletter every once in a while.
I mean a fully automated email campaign that teaches them more about your business, your products, and your processes.
I love helping businesses build marketing funnels. Once built, they do so much of the work for the business! Sure, setting them up is a lot of work, but once they're in place, the system pretty much takes care of itself.
5. Misallocating Your Budget
It’s safe to say that most small business owners don’t understand the latest developments in marketing and advertising, especially online. As such, many small business owners misallocate their budget. Not only do they fail to reserve enough of their income for marketing, but they choose poorer marketing and advertising options that do little to help their business grow.
No, Craigslist is not a good way to advertise your services. Putting advertisements in the back of a magazine is not a good investment of your money either. Though some traditional marketing tactics still have some value today, things have mostly transitioned to online marketing.
Online marketing is inexpensive compared to other forms of traditional advertising. Don’t misallocate your budget and don’t waste your hard earned dollars on advertising techniques that stopped being effective years ago!
And the best part? Nearly all online marketing is trackable. You can find out exactly how many people clicked on something, engaged in something, or did a certain action. Then you can modify your budget to make those things happen more.
Remember these five marketing mistakes so that you can maximize the effectiveness and return on your investment in marketing campaigns. Small businesses need effective marketing more so than massive corporations, and every dollar counts. By keeping these five points in mind, you will be able to better utilize your time, money, and energy to market and grow your business.