Many small business owners think of marketing as a black magic that involves spending lots of money in advertising in the hope that it will magically bring additional customers and sales. They get frustrated when not as many customers as they had hoped show up and the scant few that do never return again. The worst part is business owners feel they have no choice but to continue doing this because they will lose even more customers and sales otherwise. As a result, they end up wasting their hard earned money on marketing when they could have received better return on their money.
While consulting with number of small business owners we have uncovered several recurring mistakes that many of us make in terms of marketing. By simply understanding those mistakes and taking steps to avoid them from happening with your business you can not only save money on marketing, but also get much better return. The list below shows 7 common mistakes many small business owners make. We also show references to other articles that provide additional details and explain how to prevent them from hurting your business.
- Spending money on advertising without having good understanding of target customer base. Not all customers are created equal. You first have to select the right customers for your business and target your marketing to attract those customers.
- Not getting involved in the community you do business in. Just like any good citizen it behooves you to give back to the community that gives you business. The best part is community involvement can improve your sales. What can be better than having win-win situation for all parties?
- Putting marketing ahead of products. Ok, repeat after me several times – “great marketing without having great products is a waste of money.” Many small business owners think that just by enticing customers with slogans and coupons they will not have pay as much attention on products. This is a big mistake! You just cannot build sustainable business on marketing jargon alone, period.
- Not backing marketing claims with customer service. Here is the scenario – you advertise how great your products are and promise them to give the best customer service on earth. There is only one problem – you forget to tell your employees about it or you hire employees who do not care for your passion for customer service. How long your marketing claims will last?
- Spending money on acquiring new customers, while ignoring the existing ones. This is probably the most common and most harmful mistake you can make. As we all know it is easier and lot less expensive to hold onto existing customers than getting new ones. Do whatever you have to hold onto existing customers.
- Not differentiating between “bad” and “good” customers. As any businessmen will tell you not all customers are equally profitable. You have to learn to identify and deal appropriately with “bad” customers. At the same time, you also have to learn to pamper your best customers.
- Not leveraging low-cost or no-cost marketing tactics. Contrary to what marketers have led us to believe, marketing doesn’t have to cost lot of money. In fact, I would argue that good marketing doesn’t cost you anything. Ever heard of “word-of-mouth”! There are number of ways by which customers can do marketing for you, free of charge!
Which one of these mistakes do you think is most common? Why?