Running a small business is no easy task. There’s always something that needs to be done, you are always working, and the to-do list never seems to shrink. With so much to do, many times the first thing to be put on the back burner is the marketing of the business. As a digital marketing shop for small businesses in the Indianapolis area, we witness this every day when meeting with new clients. In this article, we’ll point out the top marketing mistakes that many small business owners are making and what they can they do to fix those mistakes and start growing their business.
Mistake #1: Not Measuring Site Traffic
They very first thing we ask new clients are how well their sites are doing. How much traffic are they getting? What about organic traffic from Google and Bing Search? What keywords are they ranking well for? What channel do they get the most traffic from?
What we find is that many owners aren’t tracking their site traffic well or in some cases, not at all. We always tell them that Root Digital Marketing can’t work with them until they have installed Google Analytics and Google Search Console on their site. These two analytics tools are what every site should have at the very minimum. With these simple analytics tools, we can analyze the health of a website and set benchmarks that we can measure against as we roll out marketing campaigns to drive traffic to the site.
So if you haven’t done it yet, install Google Analytics and Google Search Console on your site. At Root Digital Marketing, we can do that for you. We’ll also set up views, filters, segments and other settings to improve the analytics reporting of your site. And we can also provide an initial report on the health of your site in order to determine where and how to grow your site going forward.
Mistake #2: Not Being Active on Social Media
We recently met with a client who was desperate to drive more traffic into their business. They had been spending most of their marketing budget on direct mail pieces and they weren’t seeing any results. So they pulled all their direct mail marketing and decided to make a video that they promoted on Facebook for less than what they were spending on their direct mail marketing. The result was over 6,000 Likes on Facebook in less than a month and a huge boost in traffic and sales to their business.
That business owner became a believer in social media marketing and is now looking for more opportunities to market their business on social media. But we’ve met many business owners that aren’t active enough on social media or don’t think it’s a viable marketing channel, especially B2B business owners. In those cases, we show them where their competitors are already on social media and are already talking with their customers.
Imagine a party where your customers and your competitor are at. They are telling stories, sharing tips and developing a stronger and more trusted relationship. And imagine yourself standing outside that party, watching your customers having a good time with your competitors and not being able to join them. Well, that’s not how it is with social media. No one is stopping you from joining the social media sites that your customers are one and engaging with them in conversations. And no one is stopping you from doing the same with your competitors’ customers. So what are you waiting for? Find out where your customers are, most likely Facebook, and befriend them. Don’t sell to them, don’t talk to them, talk WITH them. And when the time comes when they are in the market to buy what you are selling, you’ll be the first business they think of.
Mistake #3: Not Capturing Customer Data
Email is the dinosaur of digital marketing. We use it every day at work and at home. Many of us have numerous email addresses including ones just for spam. We’ve gotten better and the email software has gotten better at filtering our emails, so we are more efficient at reading, replying and sending emails. It’s probably the one digital tool that we couldn’t live without. And yet it’s the one tool that many small businesses don’t utilize for their marketing efforts.
Are you capturing your customers and site visitors’ emails? Are you sending a weekly or monthly newsletter to your email list? With all the marketing channels out there, both digital and traditional, email is still one of the most effective and least expensive. You should be grabbing your customers and visitors’ emails every chance that you get including in the store, on the phone, on your site, and on social media. Give them a deal, run a contest, or share tips, in exchange for their email. And don’t stop there. If you can get their mobile phone number, you can then explore text message marketing. If you get their address, you can mail them personalized deals. If you capture their past purchases, you can customize future marketing based on what they bought or looked at on your site. The more customer data you can gather, the better you can target your marketing and improve your ROI.
Mistake #4: Not Diversifying Your Marketing Efforts
The great thing about digital marketing is that it is easily scalable and affordable. Whether you are looking to promote a Facebook post, run an AdWords ad, create a blog post, write a Medium article, build up your Twitter following, sponsor a forum, or work with an influencer; the costs can be as small or as big as you want. Unlike a radio ad or a billboard or even a direct mail piece, the price of admission in most digital marketing channels can be very nominal. This is great news for small business owners and should be encouragement enough to test the many digital marketing waters to find the best channels to market and advertise your business. The reality is that most small business owners don’t.
Many small business owners tend to put all their eggs into one basket and while it may be driving business, they could be driving more business. Think about how you go through a buying decision process. Do you use Google search? Do you read reviews? Do you ask friends on Facebook about a product? Do you visit the store site? Do you visit the manufacturer’s site? Are you reminded of your buying decision process by an ad on a blog you’re reading? And do you use Google shopping to find the best price of the product that is sold by a store near you? As you can see, the buying process can be a long and twisted road which is why it’s important for your business to be present at as many of those places as possible. So test the waters, measure the results and optimize for better results. At the very least, test out content marketing, search engine marketing and social media marketing. Find out what works best and focus most of your marketing budget and time on those channels.
Learn From Your Mistakes & Failures
Mistakes and failures are not a bad thing. If you want to grow your business, you must be willing to test news waters. If the water is too cold, then get out and try some other new waters. But how will you know if it too cold, too hot or just perfect if you don’t dip your toes into it first? Jump. Learn. Optimize. Jump Again.