Common Small Business Marketing Fails: What Not To Do
Updated: Aug 17
Starting a small business can be overwhelming, to say the least. There are countless things you have to do before you even launch your business. One thing that people overlook or have misconceptions about is the importance of marketing. Proper marketing is the key to any business's success. Posting on social media, paying for ads, and even interacting on your timeline can make all the difference to a potential customer. Check out these six tips so you will know exactly what NOT to do.
1. Don't wait to start marketing
Yes, you can begin marketing without a complete product. You can start marketing to Build up anticipation while your merchandise is being created. Isn't that what a movie trailer is for? Movie trailers are to get you excited to go see that movie even though it's still in the final production stages. You have to create the hype around your products and grow your audience, on social media and off, way before it’s time for your business to launch. That way your audience will have gained familiarity with your brand and will be anticipating your launch.
2. Ignoring your competitors
Always check out your competition. Checking out your competitors will help you in many different ways. You can check out their marketing strategies and what works for them, take their strategies, and do it better. Doing research on companies similar to yours will make all the difference in how you differentiate yourself from the overall competition. Try doing a SWOT analysis on the competition to see their strengths and weaknesses and then relate that back to your business and how you can improve yourself.
3. Marketing before making a USP (Unique Selling Proposition): Separate yourself from other Brands
Every business needs a unique selling position to stand out in any market. Let's say you’re selling rubber bands. What makes your rubber bands different from other rubber bands? Are your rubber bands indestructible? If so, that would definitely be a VERY unique selling proposition. You have to think about what makes your product different from your competitors. It doesn't matter how small it is. That small detail might be the thing that attracts a customer to your product. After all, vegetables were just vegetables until someone decided to market them as organic right?
4. Not having a target audience: Pinpoint who and where your audience is.
Deciding your target audience is very critical in marketing. If you don't have a target audience, how will you know what platform to use? You have to conduct proper market research in order to know how to advertise to a specific audience. For example: you're trying to sell a weighted blanket. Your target audience would be someone who is fifty or older. Trying to market online to that specific audience would take you to Facebook, not Instagram or TikTok where the general audience is in their teens and twenties. Knowing your target would also decide what type of jargon you would use in your marketing campaigns. When marketing to teens, brands tend to use trendy language. However, when a brand targets young adults and older people, they would use more specific descriptors and elaborate diction.
5. Too much selling, not enough marketing
Everyone hates a salesman. The only other thing worse than an actual salesman is the feeling you get when someone is actively trying to sell you something and it's unsolicited. The key to marketing is subtlety. Your market shouldn't feel like you're trying to sell them something. Your marketing strategy should be more about what your product can do for the customer, rather than how awesome your product is. Nothing is more valuable than a consumer testimonial. Using positive feedback from clients with who you have done business is a good marketing approach that will get return customers to feel appreciated and new customers interested.
6. Not having a clear marketing plan: Try to establish specific goals
If you don't have a clear vision you won't get far. Marketing without a plan is like scuba diving without an oxygen tank. While it is possible to do, it can be very inconvenient. The strategy you use to market to the target audience should directly reflect the goals of your business's mission statement. Setting a specific timeline for your marketing plan/strategy is also necessary because the campaign will end up being more realistic as far as expectations.
When you are just starting out as a new business marketing is intimidating. Marketing correctly is not as simple as selling something or just paying for ads here and there. Being good at marketing is all about customer care. You have to formulate a strategic plan and take the time to follow through. If you interact as much as possible without being pushy, that will assuredly impact your business. Being consistent with your content and your audience will establish trust in your brand. Following these steps will put you miles ahead of your competitors and put your business on the road to success. Don't be afraid of marketing, embrace it, because now you know what not to do.