Want a better return on marketing? When it comes to marketing, effort and money won’t guarantee results. It’s not about doing a lot but doing the right things well. Here’s why small businesses struggle with marketing and how to fix it and make your marketing pay off.
7 Reasons Small Businesses Struggle With Marketing
1. Lack of Planning. You only have so much time and money. So it is important to create synergy with your marketing efforts. You can do this by integrating a variety of tactics (with the same message) so it gets through the clutter. But this requires planning. Planning helps you prioritize and build the synergy you need. So, when you have a new marketing idea, ask yourself “How does this fit with what I am already doing”. Timing is everything and you will get better results and your marketing will pay off when you combine tactics and messages.
2. Failure to Understand Your Products or Services. Just like customers, your products are not all created equal. Some are more profitable and some are unique. Others are simply standard for your type of business. In other words, customers expect you to have them. Focus your resources, time and money, on those that are premium or profitable. Let the others sell themselves. For more on this topic, check out my article, How to Diversify Products to Maximize Sales and Profit
3. Failure to Define Your Target. Don’t try to serve everyone. Figure out who the ideal customers are for each of your products or service categories. Then market with them in mind. Speak their language, understand their needs, and solve their problems. That is a recipe for marketing success.
4. Inadequate Follow-up. Few sales are produced with one call or discussion. Prospects need nurturing. It takes 7-10 contacts on average to turn a lead into a sale. For high ticket purchases, it may take more. Regardless of which methods or tools you use to generate and nurture your prospects, follow up and stay connected. You’ll turn more prospects into paying customers.
5. Inconsistent Implementation. When something works, keep doing it. Build a system to make it easier next time around. Document what you do and say and how you do it. Incorporate technology and automation where possible. It will save you time and money so you can do more with less effort. When your marketing is on auto-pilot it is easier to do or delegate to others. Consistency is the key to generating more profit.
6. Inadequate Information. The more you know about your customers, your strengths, competition, and past performance (results), the better your marketing will be. You will save money and time when you stop chasing the wrong customers and focus on what you do well.
7. Lack of Patience and Commitment. Marketing is a process, not a one-time event. You need to be in it for the long haul. If you treat it like a faucet that you turn on and off, you create large peaks and valleys in sales. It’s costly. Instead, focus on doing a few things consistently well. Add or try new things but be willing to test, measure and modify as needed. Your commitment to building a pipeline of ideal customers will pay dividends now and in the future.
If you want to attract more quality customers into your small business, address these issues and make marketing something you do every day. To learn more, check out my article, The #1 Rule to Drive Business Growth.
About Joan Nowak. As a business improvement expert, business coach, and consultant, I’ve been helping entrepreneurs turn ideas into profits for more than a decade. My whole-business approach empowers clients and drives improvements in key areas including revenue, operational performance, team development, customer satisfaction, and profitability.