I have to be honest: small- to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) make a lot of marketing mistakes. I’m not slamming anyone. But it can be very difficult to formulate the ideal small business marketing strategy with a limited budget. [And there’s always added headaches: having to make do with outdated technology, or being overwhelmed by the onslaught of marketing trends and buzzwords.]
I’ve been there. So I want to help make sure that your business avoids common SMB marketing mistakes, and give you the information you need to make smart marketing decisions.
Wasting Time & Money on Your Small Business Marketing Strategy
The short answer is, they’re applying a cookie-cutter approach. They’re using marketing techniques that work for the fat cats, without considering how to adapt them to a smaller business.
Don’t believe me? There’s a study by Ogilvy that’s got some pretty shocking numbers:
Even for pages with more than a half-a-million likes, Facebook Business Page posts are only seen by around 2% of a big brand’s followers.
Most individual emails only connect with about 20% of customers. While that’s certainly better than 2%, there’s still 80% out there who are untouched.
If that’s the case for companies with a huge online following, how do you think it’s working for your small business?
There are two key mistakes SMBs make that shoot their marketing strategy in the foot.
Mistake #1: They only focus on lead generation.
Don’t get me wrong— lead generation is important. But what about the customers you already have? If you’re not taking steps to nurture existing customers and build loyalty, you’re ignoring a critical part of your customer base. That means your bottom line is likely to take a hit. [Current customers may represent up to 40% of your revenue, according to an Adobe Digital Index Report.]
There are a couple ways to make sure you don’t fall into that trap:
- Create targeted marketing campaigns for loyal customers. You know a lot about these customers. You’ve got info on their demographics, their buying behavior, and how they interact with you online. That makes it more likely that your marketing campaigns for them will have a good ROI. You’re taking less of a risk marketing to current customers.
- Build initiatives that encourage referrals. Customers that are loyal to your brain are likely to bring other loyal customers to you, thanks to their positive experiences. Creating referral campaign and rewarding good word of mouth marketing are to ways to capitalize on the power of referrals and stretch your marketing dollars.
Mistake #2: Ignoring marketing channels.
Just because your a small business doesn’t mean you can’t create a multichannel marketing strategy. If you’re only sending emails, or only creating social media posts, you’re hurting your chances with current and potential customers.
A multichannel approach doesn’t have to break the bank. Not to mention that most key marketing channels, such as social media email, contain integration features that make it much easier to streamline your marketing efforts. There also plenty of digital marketing tools with either free or low-cost version that is perfect for small to medium-size business. Here are a few we recommend.
In general, a multichannel strategy should include:
- Social Media
- Web Content
- Value Added Content/Resources (non-sales content that helps your customers)
Not every customer will use every channel, but using every channel makes it far less likely that large groups of your customer base (whether new or existing) will fall through the cracks.
In short, there’s no magic bullet small business marketing plan. Some trial and error will be involved, and what works for you may not work for someone else. But generally speaking, taking an integrative approach that doesn’t ignore customer retention is going to set you up for success. The key lies in knowing how to innovate and adopt best practices and make them work for you. What is (or isn’t) working in your Small Business marketing strategy? We’d love to hear from you!