We all make mistakes and those who succeed learn from them. But, what if you’re a small business with a limited budget, can you afford to make any mistakes? No you can’t. So now that the pressure is turned up high and the sweat is dripping from your forehead what are you to do? We learn from our mistakes and those around us, so why not look around and see what other businesses have done right and wrong.
7 Small Business Mistakes You Need To Avoid:
1. Messaging: Consistent every time!
To sell effectively your customer has to “get” the message you’re delivering. Deliver a customer-centric marketing message that educates your prospects and persuades them to become customers. Too often small businesses make the mistake of selling their product, instead of how the prospect would benefit by purchasing their product. Keep this in mind:
• Identify the problem, from the prospects view.
• Explain why the problem should be solved immediately and how you have the right solution.
• List benefits your prospects would receive from your products or services and provide an unconditional guarantee to calm any fears they may have.
2. “Broad strokes” Marketing: paint your world!
Paint with a LARGE canvas and hold your marketing team accountable. You must demand accountability from your marketing efforts, tangible results are required in the form of a healthy ROI (return on investment). Develop targeted messages for each of your target markets and make them meet specific needs and wants of your customers and prospects.
Do you feel guilty about the dreaded “broad strokes” marketing ideology? Some businesses (people) do and that tends to drain their resources to the point where it very often leads to their demise.
Don’t make the same mistake, instead be clear and precise in your marketing effort and measure every activity and campaign tracking your results.
3. What about value? Realize it in Marketing
Sustaining a small business requires constant attention to demonstrating value to your prospects and customers. This is where marketing and branding come in to play. Used effectively and through out all marketing and sales material you can create value to your audience. Always strive to over-deliver allowing the customer to perceive great value in your business. Understanding their wants and needs will help to focus this message.
4. Teach Them First, and They Will Sell Themselves
You’ve heard it before, ” I don’t want to be sold’. Most people and businesses for that matter hate to be sold, they want to buy. For this to happen you must avoid the need for you to ‘land’ the order and begin the process of developing a relationship. One of the easiest ways to do this is by teaching your prospects.
Knowledge is power and knowledge begins with information. Give you prospects enough information to come to you the expert. This education-based marketing is a powerful marketing strategy and helps to overcome the feeling of being sold. Build a strategy that makes use of giving away valuable information, educate about the benefits of owning your product or using your service, offer this in exchange for information about them.
This strategy is the beginning of building trust and leadership in your market. Grow from it and plant the seeds along the way and your business will reap the rewards from being a knowledge source.
5. Testing 1, 2, 3
Understand your customer and test every possible variable important to them. This applies to both online and offline marketing efforts.
Today with the use of the Internet and the low cost marketing options available to small business helps make this easier then ever before. Utilize online resources for creating copy, keywords, and metrics for ROI. Test and re-test to make sure you are getting the most out of your budget.
6. I Never Heard Back From You: Follow Up and Remind Them Why They Need You
The cost of prospecting is enormous to a small business. Forgetting to call back is inexpensive and critical to landing orders. To many small businesses forget this critical step and think that the job is over after the first meeting, “they loved me and will buy”. Never forget that your prospects are talking with competitors and sizing everyone up.
Contact them repeatedly by phone, via direct email and by e-newsletters. Keeping your name in front of them often will help to address questions that prospects often face, who do I trust, who will be there after the sale. These and many more questions are easy to answer if you’re always in front of them.
7. What do you mean they don’t ice fish in Hawaii?
You know what they say about assumption, ye out of you and me! Never assume that the audience you think wants your product or service actually does. Every business is guilty of this so ask yourself these two questions:
1) Who are your customers or target market?
2) Who will use your service or buy your products?
Ask yourself often to make sure your track your target market.