In any company, marketing is what gets customers in the door and buying your product, and in today’s internet-savvy culture, the opportunities to market your brand are more accessible than ever. For small businesses, however, the various elements of a robust marketing approach can be challenging to juggle on top of the day-to-day tasks that keep your company running. As our CEO, Jim Continenza, says, “Ideas are easy, execution is hard.” Unless you have a clearly defined strategy and plan for execution, something will fall through the cracks.
Common Mistakes in a Business’s Marketing Strategy
1. No Website or No Mobile-Friendly Site
Having an established website is the backbone of a business’s internet presence. It is often the first impression that a potential client has of your business, and it should contain valuable information about the products or services that you provide as well as contact information. In the modern digital sphere, this tool is no longer optional, as your company can lose a huge client base by not having an official site.
Further still, optimizing your website for mobile devices is equally as necessary for client conversion. A 2017 Google study found that the probability of a person abandoning a slow-loading website on their phone increases 32% after three seconds of waiting, 90% after five seconds, and 123% after 10 seconds. A lot of this failure to convert has to do with the number and size of the elements on your site. A useful mobile site should be a simplified version of your desktop webpage that is made for phone screens, and the page should respond almost immediately when a potential customer clicks on it.
2. No Tool to Optimize Directories
In the endless pages of results on Google, you want your business’s website to surface at the top of a search. If you don’t—you will certainly lose customers to the business that does appear at the top of the search results. To get there, though, you need to use a strategy called Search Engine Optimization (SEO). To curate a search result, Google uses an algorithm—a set of rules that dictates which sites it prioritizes. It looks for keywords, links to credible sources, even webpage formatting to decide which sites it likes. SEO capitalizes on this algorithm by giving Google exactly what it wants to see.
If you own an Italian restaurant, for example, you will want to use keywords like ‘Italian restaurant,’ ‘pizza,’ ‘pasta,’ and other words or phrases that relate to what you sell. You’ll also want to highlight where your business is located, so if people search “Italian restaurant in Your Town, USA,” then your website would pop up. SEO is not the most straightforward strategy to get right—especially if you have several imminent competitors in your area—so it’s often a worthy investment to have a professional update your website to incorporate best SEO practices.
3. No Social Media Presence
In the tech age, social media can be a huge advocate for brand awareness. But if you think social media is just about feel good posts and pictures, think again. Social media is a huge and growing part of the buying cycle. Skimp on your social strategy, and you’re sure to miss out on potential business. Studies show that roughly 71% of people will turn to social media when making purchasing decisions. Here’s a breakdown of the leading social platforms that you should consider:
- Facebook is an excellent tool for promotion and education about your product. It is particularly effective at engaging specific audiences with targeted advertising—which can show up as banners on their feed even if a person doesn’t follow your page—as well as with curated content. Whether you find a blog post relating to your services, have an event coming up, or want to boost publicity for your business, a Facebook page can be ground zero for connecting with your clientele, and should be the first form of social media to invest in for small businesses.
- Instagram is the visual king of the social media realm, and it can be a valuable asset for brand awareness. This platform works as a compact visual feed of what’s going on in your brand. Instagram stories are a particularly personal way to bring your costumers into the day-to-day of your company, with useful stickers for engagement like polling and Q&A. As you promote events, product launches, and other happenings on your story, you can then organize them into a curated highlight on your page for customers to view at any time.
- LinkedIn is often a platform with untapped potential for a lot of businesses, particularly those in B2B markets. It is a smart tool for flexing your industry knowledge as an expert in your field. Since the site is more professionally-oriented, the most useful posts engage other industry professionals, creating community conversations about trends, up-and-coming products relevant to your business, and other shop talk.
4. No Reviews
Reviews can feel like a double-edged sword—while a good review can make your business look reputable, it almost doesn’t feel worth the risk of a scathing one. Ultimately, though, they are an influential part of connecting with your client base—and without them, you’re sure to miss out on a huge chunk of business. Roughly 63% of social media users see consumer reviews as an essential part of the buying process. By extension, products and services that have 50 or more reviews have a 65% better return than those that have less than five. Even complaints can turn into a positive for your business. One or two-star posts can offer valuable feedback to refine your customer experience, and a carefully-drafted response that both supports your team and respectfully apologizes for the complaint can show future costumers that you are receptive to constructive criticism. Bottom line: reviews—be they good or bad—build trust with potential customers. If you don’t have any, that raises a red flag with consumers.
5. Too Many Platforms
While incorporating different elements to your marketing approach can grow your business, be wary of spreading yourself too thin. A multi-faceted strategy is only effective when the different platforms are all engaging and have a cohesive message—your accounts should all have regular content posted that supports the uniform identity of your brand. If you feel like you can’t keep up with all of them, scale back your strategy until you have a larger team to accommodate the workload. This tip is especially important if you’re using pricey tools like tweet decks or targeted advertising; if you’re not using them efficiently, they can diminish your margins. More importantly, if you’re spreading yourself too thin, or spending too much time logging into various platforms, your job of running your business could suffer—potentially losing you new and repeat business.
Don’t miss out on another potential customer. Learn more about how Vivial can help you streamline your marketing approach and grab every piece of business you deserve! Contact us today!