5 Marketing Mistakes Small Businesses Must Avoid

The world of marketing is evolving, and it’s a continuing challenge to ensure that your business gets the exposure it needs to thrive. Check out five marketing mistakes that you should avoid if you are looking to get the word out about your firm.

1. Counting on Your Marketer to Solve All Your Problems

You may have brought on the best marketing professional in town to handle your needs, but that person can’t overcome fundamental issues if you have them. Poor products or services, a bad reputation and shaky financial footing cannot be solved with a marketing strategy, and you shouldn’t simply try and use a marketer to make your company’s other problems go away.

Putting all your eggs in the marketer’s basket also causes problems if that person chooses to leave the company. In many cases, entrepreneurs think “their next hire will solve their biggest problem,” Mark Cuban told Entrepreneur. Instead of pinning all of your company’s hopes on your marketer, create a solid product or service and market test it to make sure all systems are go.

2. Not Identifying your Target Market

Without knowing who your audience is, it’s impossible to market to the right group. You’ll waste money by throwing your message out to the whole world, and you could even damage your reputation this way. Instead, perform careful research to determine who your market is, and advertise directly to those people or businesses.

“It’s impossible to please everyone no matter what industry you are in, and you simply cannot solve the needs of everyone,” said Frank B. Mengert of ebenefit Marketplace when speaking to Forbes. “My advice is to identify your target audience and where you can bring the most value. Create something special and exclusive with your market and they’ll love you for letting them in,” he said.

3. Solving a Problem That Doesn’t Exist

Some entrepreneurs will get so excited about their new ideas that they’ll begin to market them before determining whether they’ve come up with a solution to an actual problem. “No market need” was the top reason for startup failure, according to a 2018 CB Insights survey, representing 42 percent of small business failures.

If you haven’t yet done a market research study to determine the efficacy of your startup, the time to do it is at the ideation stage. This is a vital part of both your marketing and operations strategies, and can be costly if you overlook it.

4. Ignoring Social Listening

Listening to what’s being said about your company on social is imperative to your growth – and it’s not expensive at all. “One of the savviest ways to build early traction for your startup is to double-down on social listening for lead generation,” writes Tech From Vets President Jeff Shuford. “Use everything from SocialMention.com to Reddit search and Twitter's advanced search.”

This strategy will allow you to see white spaces that your target customers are seeking, generate keywords, and identify competitors that they’re discussing. In addition, it’s an easy way to field feedback on your products and services that you can use to tweak your strategy.

5. Not Looking Ahead

If your marketing strategy is focused only on the next month or two, then you could be missing the bigger picture. It’s likely that your operations team is focusing on the next six to 12 months, so your marketing team should be doing the same thing.

“You have to ask a simple but tough question: What is the one strategy that will enable me to achieve my goals?” said HubSpot CMO Kipp Bodnar in a Forbes interview. “If the core business problem is attracting new customers, then the focus has to be on the tactics that drive that.”

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