Marketing is not a perfect science and can seem like an extremely daunting task, especially for start-up companies with limited resources and funds. Avoid these following marketing mistakes that many new businesses make:
- Spending money too quickly. Many small business owners want to jump right into marketing their business; it’s a great attitude to have, but it can be extremely detrimental if you do not have a solid plan in place. Figure out what message you want to get out, how, to who, and how much money you can actually afford to spend before you start spending it!
- Not trusting your gut. It’s YOUR business. While it’s great to get feedback from other individuals (such as your family and friends) about what may or may not work, you should be the one making the final decision. Don’t delay marketing your brand because you’re getting conflicting feedback. Think things through and take a stand. If you feel it is best for your business then trust your gut. Remember that if you feel overwhelmed because you simply don’t know where to begin, then take that task off your plate and hire someone who can help you, such as a marketing firm or a freelancer—they’re the experts! It’s okay to ask for help!
- Not using the correct channels. A common misconception many individuals have about marketing is that the only mediums that exist today to get your message out there are radio, television or billboards—wrong! Social media is a GREAT investment for small businesses if used correctly. Social media is inexpensive compared to other methods and the ROI (return on investment) is high. Pick the social media platform that works best for you. Conduct research on each medium to help you decide which one will give you the biggest bang for your buck. If your budget allows for it, test various mediums to see which one(s) your target market responds best to.
- Trying too hard to be “perfect”. Like I mentioned earlier, marketing is not a perfect science, so don’t sweat when you don’t see the results you were hoping for immediately—it takes time! Don’t let yourself go into “hyper mode” immediately—be patient. If after time passes and you have measurable data that proves that one method isn’t working, switch it up. On the other hand, don’t wait too long to get started on your marketing efforts. I have seen many small businesses “open their doors” without even creating a website or building a social media following because the details “weren’t quite right yet”. Don’t delay. Get the foundation of your social media account and website running with pertinent information and start to build the hype BEFORE your launch and iron out the smaller details later! Otherwise, you may be missing out on potential customers.
- Not measuring results. It’s nice to hear various marketing channels promise you x amount of views, customers, listeners, readers, etc., but don’t forget that they’re in the business of selling, too! Don’t just take their word for it. Make sure you have your own measures in place to track results from your marketing efforts. Ask your customers specifically how they heard about your business and use online tools to measure various factors on your website and social media platforms (such as number of visits, engagement, page clicks, etc.). If you don’t measure your results, how will you know if you’re getting the ROI you hoped for?
There you have it—a few things you should consider when you’re beginning to market your business! If you do happen to run into a mishap, don’t stress over it…learn from it and move forward!