When operating a small business, it’s likely you are on a tight budget that doesn’t allow for any wasted expenditures or wasted time. In business, time literally is money, and you want to ensure you are spending it wisely. This of course, includes how much you spend on your initial marketing campaigns. At Park House Solutions, we understand that your business may not be at the stage of hiring a marketing firm, so we have put together a short list of marketing "don'ts" to avoid in order to ensure your business grows at the quickest speed possible.
Don’t Neglect the Value of Marketing. Period.
Pretty easy starting point. At this stage in your business’ life, it may be difficult to see the value in effective marketing, and it might just appear as another expense. Marketing is significantly more than that. An effective and efficient marketing strategy designed and curated for your business is one of the most important investments that you can make. In all forms of business there are always expenses -- known and unforeseen -- that must be budgeted for, but beyond that we strongly encourage you to give effective marketing planning and execution the required amount of time, and money it deserves to ensure your businesses success. It won’t matter if you have the best service, or the coolest new product on the market; if you do not have a plan to effectively market your products or services, your business will not grow to its full potential, or perhaps even at all.
Don’t Spend All of Your Time and Money on New Customer Acquisition
Every business is trying to acquire new customers – and spending a portion of your marketing budget on customer acquisition is essential for growth – but it is important to acknowledge the value of returning customers and targeted campaigns. It is significantly more expensive to attempt to generate new customers than it is to retain an existing one. If you only offer great deals or incentives to new customers, you may end up snubbing your potential returning buyers. That is why it is important to develop strategies where your marketing system can foster customer loyalty and retention. Not only that, this ensures you are spending your marketing dollars targeting leads who are qualified – because they've already purchased in the past. Open-ended marketing strategies are not often very efficient, as you may be wasting valuable resources on an uninterested audience that is less likely to convert. Of course, you have to focus on acquiring new customers, but don’t make the mistake of focusing all of your energy and resources on it. Build loyalty, and establish and nurture existing customer/client relationships and you'll reap the rewards.
Don’t Neglect Social Media Marketing
If you are a small, recently established business you must be present on social media. There arguably aren't that many "musts" when it comes to marketing, but social media marketing has, at least in our opinion, become one of them. Operating a business without an effective social media strategy significantly hinders your business’ likelihood of being shared to relevant audiences, to personalize your brand, to be discussed, to engage with your fans and customers, to be reviewed … basically to be viewed as a credible player in your market. Engaging, relevant content on social media platforms is essential to helping small businesses grow. In fact, there are businesses now that operate solely through social channels like Facebook to complete all of their brand communications, and drive customer acquisition and ensure retention. By posting informative content, communicating one-on-one with their fans in the comments sections of posts, or in Messenger, there are many businesses that have turned their social channels into hybrid tools that do everything from attract new customers, to act as customer relationship management (CRM) platforms. This is especially true for smaller markets and small towns, where many individuals know each other, and shares of local businesses have great return rates. Put simply, don’t neglect social media marketing – especially in today’s COVID-19 world where so many more people are active on social networking sites.
Don’t Ignore Your Data
Whether it is from Google Analytics, Google Search Console or even your business’ social media analytics – do not ignore the data. If you do not understand it, be patient and try to learn how to interpret it first.
Once you have a grasp of what the data is telling you, take the next step and begin to operationalize it -- in other words, allow the data to influence and steer your digital marketing strategy. The amount of data that is available today, even to small businesses, is staggering. Knowing how to make sense of all of it, and in turn transform data insights into strategy is essential for growth. Developing a marketing strategy is important, but failing to optimize it to reflect what your customers are trying to tell you is a recipe for failure.
Don’t Ignore Your Competition
Depending on your business' industry and market, there could be an abundance of competitors offering the same, or similar products and services as yours. For example, as a small law firm located in a city of 30,000 people, you may not only be competing with other similarly-sized firms operating within your local market, but also against large firms with huge marketing budgets operating out of metropolitan cities like Toronto or Montreal with an appetite to generate more business across larger geographic regions. It's obviously extremely difficult for a business owner to keep up with all the happenings of her competitors while efficiently running a business. That being said, it is incredibly important to evaluate and recognize the strengths and weakness of the businesses most closely related to yours within your immediate market. What are they doing that is driving customers to their door (or website) and not yours? How are the positioning themselves in the market? What's their value proposition, and how does it stack up against your own? If you don’t take the time to identify who your key competitors are, and evaluate their strategies and the effectiveness of those strategies, how you can maneuver potential leads/customers away from them? Without competitive intelligence, you risk being left with only what they leave behind.
At Park House Solutions these are just a few of the things we can help you with. Contact us today to learn about a range of options, from developing your marketing strategy, competitor analysis, to customer acquisition and retention technologies.