Congratulations, you have successfully managed to run a business without folding. In the beginning, you probably thought of some ways to get your name out there, but that fell by the wayside as soon as you started getting more leads, so you must have done something right. Except that marketing your business is a lot like running a marathon and success right now doesn’t guarantee success down the road. There is always a better, more interesting way to increase your reach, but from being misinformed to thinking you know it all, there are still plenty of marketing missteps that can cost your business plenty of money. Think this has nothing to do with you? Think again. Check yourself against the top four mistakes many business owners make when it comes to marketing themselves.
You Assume You Have No Competition
Okay, so you have the most amazing business in the whole world and it’s original and unlike any other and you really don’t have any competition, right? Wrong! Every business owner out there faces a massive amount of competition, but it is the truly smart ones who understand that they must constantly outdo themselves. Competition is about more than other establishments in your field with similar offerings. Even if no one else in the world is in your line of business, you still have to compete against something pretty tough: a customer who can choose to not use your product or service and walk away. No one is obligated to buy what you are trying to sell, no matter how great you think it is. This is why your mission (should you choose to accept it) is to make sure that your audience understands not just how your product is better than any alternative, but also why.
You Think You Know What People Want
Ah, so you know exactly what people are thinking, right? Sure, you don’t have that many regulars but that’s just the economy…or just a slow period. Yes, that must be it. Pssh. Please. Like a good marriage, a business and its customers need to listen to each other and build trust in order to have a successful relationship. We cannot stress enough how listening to your customers and understanding who they are and what they need is the key to giving them exactly what they are asking for. When was the last time you thought about who you are selling to? What is their life like? What do they need most? What can you do to add to their life experience? Questions such as these are what separate a good business from a great one. There are no shortcuts! You have to listen to your audience and understand their behavior if you are ever going to turn something they want into something they need.
You Mistake Quantity for Quality
You think you’re pretty smart now, huh? You signed up for one of those social media pages and are well on your way to 1,000 likes by asking any and everyone to like your page and share. One of the most annoying parts about social media is the rat race. When you’re hot, you’re hot and when you’re not…well, you might as well start posting obscure statuses about life, cat videos and pictures of your dinner. While we all aspire to have a million followers on our business pages, it is always better to focus on quality over quantity. After a follow, you likely won’t hear from your friend’s cousin’s half-brother or that server from Chili’s again unless there’s a reason to pull them back. It takes a hell of a lot of work and great content to make people care about your posts (trust us, we got you to read this, didn’t we?) So yes, your grandma Pearl can like your page because she used to change your diapers, but if we were you, we’d spend less time collecting random likes and more time building solid brand advocates.
You Have No Clear Marketing Strategy
Say you’re about to be set up on a blind date, but you hear she just got out of a really bad relationship. Oh and there’s that funny thing about her trying to burn that guy’s house down. But she is quite a catch as long as she is still on those meds. Oh, and she’s very active in community service and it’s probably not even court ordered. Probably. Still interested? Exactly. In business, you have one chance to make a good first impression and if you don’t have the right marketing strategy in place, who knows what people have heard about you? We have said it a billion times, perception is everything and a slew of mixed messages can be the kiss of death for your business. While you can’t control how people first hear about your business, you can control whether or not your message is being presented in a clear, consistent manner across all channels. Doing so will not only give your business much more credibility, it will also give prospective clients a clearer expectation of what you have to offer.