The 12 biggest marketing mistakes small business owners make ... and how to avoid them!
“Hi I'm Keith Banfield. As and International professional Speaker, business coach and seminar leader have been fortunate enough to speak to tens of thousands of business owners. I quickly noticed patterns developing and small business owners making the same marketing mistakes over and over again. So let me share with you some of them here, so that you can learn from other people's mistakes rather than having to make your own.” The 12 biggest marketing mistakes small business owners make ...and how to avoid them!
Not knowing who your customers really are
Whatever business you are running, it is essential to know who your customers are. Amazingly, one of the biggest mistakes made by small business owners is to not know who their customers specifically are. For example, if you were to ask the question, "who would you like as a customer?" Sadly, the all too common response is, "well anyone will do". So what do your customers look like?
How old are they? What business are they in? Where are they geographically? Are they male or female? In other words, could you specifically define who you are trying to attract as a potential customer?
Not allocating any money for marketing
Think of your business like a brand new shiny car sitting out there on your driveway. Doesn't it look great? So where would you like to go in your car? Certainly, if you want it to go forward, you'll need to put some petrol or diesel into it. Indeed, it doesn't matter how good your car is, unless it is moving forward you'll never get the full value from it. Now let's liken that to your business. The petrol or diesel is your marketing, because without it your business will be going nowhere fast. So why is it, that so many small business owners simply do not have a budget allocated for marketing?
How can they hope to drive their business without a marketing budget?
The truth is that many small business owners have picked at a bit of advertising, perhaps tried sending out some glossy brochures only to find that they received little or nothing back from it, leaving them feeling despondent, annoyed at losing the money they spent and of course frustrated at not knowing how to get it right. If you want your business to be successful, you need to allocate
a marketing budget and spend it wisely. Which leads us nicely onto the next biggest mistake made by small business owners.
Wasting money on marketing that doesn't work
Virtually everyone I speak to has spent money on marketing that doesn't work. I'll include myself in that because over the years I’ve spend tens of thousands of dollars on advertisements, faxes, direct
mail and other marketing that has pulled little or no response. When it happens, you think to yourself, "I am not going to do that again". But then sooner or later a magazine will phone up with a last-minute offer that seems just too good to be true. If you can relate to this, you'll like the solution. You see I eventually discovered the right way to spend my marketing budget so that it gets results
rather than flushing it down the toilet. To achieve this, I have read hundreds of books on marketing, sought out some of the best marketing experts in the world and had them coach me. Having learnt what works and what doesn't, I then spent eleven years testing all the different strategies and then working with over 1000 other companies to share information with them too. I would love to help you further and so I will be shortly running a special Marketing Webinar with stacks of useful marketing ideas that
I have tried and tested personally - so I know that they work! I will send you full details.
Getting advice from or using companies that don't know what they're talking about
In the early days when I didn't know how to generate all the leads I wanted, the temptation was to hire a marketing company. In fact, I hired not one but six marketing companies in total. It seems that
their expertise was in squandering my money rather then being accountable for the results that I wanted them to generate. Each time, they would promise the earth and then make feeble excuses as to why they hadn't achieved results. Two that stick in my mind, "I can't believe it, this has never happened to us before...", and the other was, "well there are no guarantees in marketing!" I realise now that this is complete rubbish. If you follow a tried, tested and proven strategy that works for others, it will work for you too. That's why for example, with our Profit Booster Kit product, we are
prepared to put our money where our mouth is. If you are going to use a marketing company, make sure that they give you a guarantee like ours, which is:
“If after applying the strategies in this program you are not completely delighted with the extra profits that you've made, and you can have a whole year to decide, you'll receive a prompt and
courteous refund from us. No hassle, no quibble and no fuss. All that we ask is that you show us that you have used the material. Could anything be fairer?”
Looking for new customers in the wrong places
This may seem absolutely ludicrous that anyone would deliberately look in the wrong place for potential new customers and even worse, place advertisements and other marketing in the wrong places too. Surprisingly though, this happens all too often. That is why it's critical to know who specifically your customers are and where they hang out. For example, if you are running a business as a mortgage broker and one of your products is a home loan which requires no financial statements and the tiniest amount of paperwork, but at a slightly higher interest rate than normal. Who would this appeal to most? The answer might be self-employed people. (Can you see what we
have done here? We have focussed in specifically on one product rather than trying to be all things to all people. This is an important element in marketing.) So the next question to ask yourself would be: where do they hang out? What do they read? Who else is already speaking to them who is not a competitor? Taking all of this information into account, you could quickly create a list such as:
· Chambers of Commerce
· Breakfast networking groups
· or even Government funded events.
So where do your customers hang out? Isn't that the best place to put your marketing message?
Creating the wrong message about you
We've all heard the expression that you only get one chance to make a good first impression. The fact is though that many small business owners are too hung up about spending money and end up creating a marketing image that looks homemade. If you want to attract business, everything about your company needs to create the right impression. I'm talking about your letterheads, business cards, printing everything that your customers or potential customers are going to use to decide whether or not you are worthy of their business. I can perhaps best illustrate this with a story. A few years ago I was attending an exhibition and I spotted an odd looking man in one of the tiniest exhibition stands that I have ever seen. In fact, it looked more like a broom cupboard. (He probably got it cheap-it's certainly looked like it!) So being curious, I walked over to the exhibition stand then spoke to the man who was dressed with a suit and bow tie. I asked him to tell me about his business and he revealed that he was in fact a management consultant and handed me one of his business cards. The moment that he did, what little credibility that he had was instantly dissolved. The business card that he handed me was printed straight from his ink jet printer on what looked like
reasonable quality toilet paper. To make matters worse, the ink jet printer that he had used to print
the business cards was running low on ink for the ‘card’ that I received. So the message that he was putting out was that he couldn't afford a full sized exhibition stand and neither could he afford to pay for any business cards to be printed. What a waste of time. Would you hire him as a
management consultant in your business?
Not telling potential customers what they want to know
Since we were talking about business cards in the last example, let me continue on the same subject, since virtually all businesses have a business card. At least 50% of all business cards that I am handed miss out the vital information that's important to me, the person receiving the card. Take a look at the business cards that you've received and you'll see what I mean. They have a persons basic details on, a pretty logo and in most cases that's about it. Oh dear, that will be costing that company money in lost business, lost opportunity and ultimately lost profits. So what is the vital information? The answer is, what can you do for them? So your business card needs to clearly state on it what the
receiver will get if they contact and work with your company. If you think about it, isn't this really the only thing that they are interested in? As well as telling someone what they will get from being a customer of yours, the second thought is to remember that you want someone who has your business card to remember you. Now we all remember names to a degree, if however you really want a potential customer to remember you, put your photograph on your business card. Do you remember faces more than names? I know I do. Finally, make sure that you use the back of the business card too. This is a place where you could add a powerful marketing message. How many do you see that are left blank?
Not using the Internet to generate leads for you.
The Internet is such a powerful tool yet most businesses don't realise how to utilise this powerful resource to generate leads for them. Some have pretty looking Websites but have no idea how to capture the traffic that visits their Website. If you are serious about building your business, it is essential that you understand how to utilise the power of the Internet, capture the traffic that visits your site and learn how using cost per click campaigns you can drive targeted traffic to your site.
You might want to check out https://adwords.google.com/select/ where you will discover a stepby-
step process for setting up a ‘cost per click’ campaign. If you haven't seen this before, it is essentially like paying for an advertisement where you only pay for the responses you get. Imagine what it would be like if all the major magazines conducted their advertising programs in this way. On the Marketing Webinar that I mentioned earlier, you’ll get specific strategies for capturing traffic that comes to your Website. That’s not all, I’ll then show you how you can transform them into hot sales
Trying to advertise like the big guys
There is a big difference between the advertising strategy you would adopt for marketing a large multimillion-dollar company and that for a small business. You see, the big guys have got big budgets and with big budgets you have more options. The biggest difference though is that large companies are often focusing on building their brand and getting their name better known. As a small business, you will be more interested in creating direct response.
In other words, you want your advertisement to generate leads that you can turn into orders. You want to be able to see a direct return on your investment and as quickly as possible. So when you are planning any type of advertising, think about how you will measure the response and what response you expect, rather than building a brand.
Not knowing your numbers
Many small business owners see marketing as an expense rather than an investment. Ask them if a campaign has been successful and more often than not the answer will be a general "yes I think so, we haven't done too badly". Responses like that are complete nonsense. What does haven't done too badly mean?
Advertisement in Woman’s World Magazine Results
No of advertisements 6
Number of leads generated 65
Number of appointments made. 30
Number of sales 15
Total value of sales $ $14200
Total Cost of promotion $ $5000
Profit $ $9200
You need to know precisely how much you've spent and how many leads you have generated from that spend. You then need to qualify how good each lead is and monitor your conversion ratios. Only then will you be able to see how effective your marketing is.
Creating a product or service for which there is no market
This really amazes me. Business owners create a product or service and then try to find a market for them. How crazy is that? Why create a product or service and then go hunting, hoping that
you'll find someone to buy it? The correct way is to find your market first, identify the product or
service that they are screaming out for and then give it to them. So for example, Dyson identified that one of the frustrations in the vacuum cleaner market was that a vacuum cleaner would start to lose suction as the dust bag filled up. Knowing that there were millions of potential customers with their hands up waiting for a bagless vacuum cleaner which would not lose suction, he created one and subsequently took a huge share of the vacuum cleaner market from under the noses of his competitors.
Mistake No. 12
Not having someone to answer your ‘phone!
Many small business owners lose stacks of business because they don’t have anyone to answer their phone when they are not there. Instead they have valuable sales leads directed to an answer phone.
Each time they hear a click as the phone is put down with no message being left, that’s another potential customer lost. The solution is to hire a professional phone answering service or virtual office. Prices range from about $40 upwards per month. Typically they will answer calls in your name (you divert when you are going out to the special number they give you).
They will take the callers details, what they are calling about and then text or e-mail you, so that you can call them back when convenient. You will not lose any leads this way and it gives the impression that you have a full time receptionist.
Some people might be tempted to divert to their mobile, but then it often cuts out, diverts to voicemail etc. If you give out your mobile as the only number, your potential customer is being forced to pay for a premium rate call or use one of your competitors. I wonder which option they will choose…
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I wish you every success in your business. If I can help you
personally with business advice or one-to-one coaching, please feel
free to contact me in Australia on
+61 (07) 3886 8649
(GMT + 10 hours BST or +9 hours normally)
or by e-mail
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