Every year between 40 and 80% of small businesses fail, depending on the industry. By year 10, up to 90% are no longer able to stay in business. While there are many reasons for this, one major factor is a lack of communication with their market. The owner might not have enough experience to manage the daily operations of running a successful business, but frequently, they simply don’t know how to communicate with their potential customers.
Many companies, even when they have a unique and exciting product, fail because of this communication disconnection. Often, they neglect to build an online presence, losing out on this important share of the market. Or, they don’t know how to reach out to potential customers. They may have neglected to discover who their market is, or they just don’t know how to connect with the people who could have made their business a success.
Ineffective marketing means that you neglect to create an ongoing conversation with potential customers. Without this conversation, you won’t find them, and they won’t find you. In my experience of watching these new businesses, I have noticed three big mistakes that small businesses make in their approach to marketing.
Here are the top three marketing mistakes that I see all the time…
1. Businesses consider a marketing budget a luxury item.
Owners make the mistake of considering a marketing plan to be a luxury they can’t afford. A new business may be squeaking by and so they use any money that comes in to buy office supplies or pay their rent, instead of using it to bring in new customers.
To succeed, new businesses must get the word out about who they are and what they offer. They may not manage their expenses well, or they didn’t have enough money to start their business in the first place. Either way, they attempt to build a company on a shoestring that doesn’t include a marketing budget.
I’ve also seen businesses spend their money on ideas that sound good in theory, but that don’t bring in more revenue. When considering any expense, the business owner should ask themselves whether that expense will result in more business. If it doesn’t, then wait until revenues are flowing more freely.
Marketing should always be a top priority, especially if bringing in new customers is important to growing your business. If you aren’t communicating who you are, and people don’t know about you, they can’t support you!
2. Approaching your business plan from where you are now.
Many entrepreneurs approach their business from the wrong perspective. They know what the business is selling, but they haven’t taken the time to set business goals. They have no clear idea of where they want their business to be in the future. They struggle with day to day operations, hoping for future success, without ever thinking about what that means to them.
A better approach is to consider where you want to be in the future, then create a plan that takes you from where you are now, to where you want to be. Creating this plan is your road map to business success.
Think of it this way… If you are planning a vacation you begin by thinking of where you want to go. That way, you will pack for your destination, decide how you will get there, and plan accordingly for all contingencies. Without this plan, you could end up anywhere! And while that might be okay for a vacation, it is not a great plan for a business.
If you have a well thought out idea of where you are headed, it is much easier to create a conversation that gets your market to join you on your journey.
3. Doing your own writing.
While it seems like this is a cost-effective way to save money on marketing, most entrepreneurs don’t have experience in writing copy that sells. A direct response copywriter knows how to write to your potential customers so they know exactly what you offer, and writes to get them excited about doing business with you!
I have seen many great small businesses with websites and marketing materials that read like a college textbook.Even if a potential customer finds these sites, they won’t stay and read them because it is simply too much work. A professional copywriter writes specifically to get people to visit your business, use your services, and buy your stuff!