Small businesses face a lot of difficulties when it comes to marketing, if for no other reason than a lack of funds. Startups in particular are limited financially, and often in terms of manpower at the same time. This doesn't mean that digital marketing efforts to suffer as a result, but in many cases there are mistakes that get made that can easily be avoided.
Focusing on Brand Perfection
Far too many small businesses and startups focus too intently on shaping, and reshaping, the brand image of the company. In these early days, or for a company that is too small to waste the money, focusing too intently on brand perfection in the eyes of the consumer is just wasted effort. Regardless of your thoughts on the matter as a business owner, focusing too closely on the brand can cause consumers to tune out because they see a lack of value when all you ever promote is the brand, rather than its products, services, and overall value.
If you want to properly build your brand, focus on providing your digital customers with content and information that is pertinent to them and their problems or situations. There's always time to make adjustments as your business grows and matures.
Lacking Social Media Strategies
You've got a Facebook page, Twitter account to interact with followers, and even an Instagram page to share photos and briefs on your products. That's great, but what's the goal? Using social media just to be online and be seen isn't good enough. You need to have a strategy for all of your social media activities. Are you trying to reach more consumers? Promote specific products? You need to figure this out before you share, post, comment, and tweet.
Failed Blog Strategies
A blog is a great way to get a focused group of consumers who already pay attention to your brand, to learn more about your products and services, while encouraging further engagement with your brand. Just like your social media activities though, you need to have a strategy. Simply believing that "if you write it, they will come and read it" won't do the job.
Here's some advice for a good blogging strategy:
- Build a bridge between the blog and your business: A blog is a great way for people to discover your business, but that only works if you connect the content on your blog to your greater business website.
- Make it relevant: Just as your blog and business need to be connected, the content you're sharing on your blog needs to be relevant to your business and the problems/situations facing your customers.
- Quantity and quality matter: There's no specific number of blogs you need each month. The key is to develop the right quantity of blog posts, without watering down the quality.
Spending Too Much Right Away
Far too often businesses will overspend out of the gates hoping to establish their brand quickly, and reap the rewards. This strategy can work, but if it fails you are going to find yourself incapable of meet any other marketing demands because you spend your entire budget on a massive rollout. Test your audience first, discover who your value customers are, and tailor your initial marketing efforts to catch the attention of your target market.
There are studies that suggest upwards of 84% of businesses fail to track ROI from social media and other digital marketing efforts. The vast majority of new analytics tool allows you to track where your customers come from, what brought them to your site/profile, and offer conversion tracking so you can see what's working and what's not. Use these tools and statistics to build an effective marketing campaign that you can adjust and grow properly in the future.