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Seven things to avoid when marketing your new small business
I went into business as a sole trader three years ago, and my company went limited at the end of last year. As a small business owner you’ll know it’s a very steep learning curve in the early days! I’ve made some good decisions and quite a few mistakes that have cost me valuable money and time, so I thought I’d share my experiences with you to help to prevent you from doing the same thing.
#1. Saying yes to any work that comes along
When you’re starting out you may well experience cash flow problems. You may see potential cash instead of making the decision to work with people based on a fixed process. If you don’t have an ideal client in mind you won’t know whether they fit your criteria, so give it some thought and build an ideal client profile. Problem clients are more hassle than they’re worth!
#2. Not having consistency in your branding and names
Branding is a way of defining your business both to yourself and your target audience. When building your brand, think of it as a person and consider what’s driving your business. Be clear on who your business is, and let your brand character promote your business by connecting with your customer base and differentiating you from the rest of the market.
#3. Not having a good business model or not knowing your proposition/competition
It sounds obvious, but I come across business owners who have an idea and roll with it, instead of actually working out whether there’s a demand. The best marketing in the world won’t help you if you have a poor product or service. Do your research and work out how and when you expect to make money. Be aware of the competition but don’t copy them.
#4. Registering for all social media channels and not using them
Like any business activity you engage in to meet new customers, social media marketing is all about the return you get for the time, effort, and expense you put into it. Not every site has the same potential for success, and not all channels will be right for your business. Focus on the ones that work, and do them well. Also remember to check the links from your website go to the right place!
#5. Thinking that your website will be on the first page of Google as soon as it’s finished
Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but Google use more than 255 factors in their ranking algorithm, so you’ll need to consult an SEO specialist if you want to rank on the first page. Your content needs to be well-written and regularly updated, and your titles and images need to be correct. Also bear in mind that getting people to come to your site is only useful if they actually buy your product or subscribe to your service. Just getting loads of traffic is not going to make your business successful.
#6. Not building your email list straight away
When I started, people talked to me about ‘building my list’ and I thought they meant for when I was shopping in Sainsbury’s. What I should have done right away was keep a database of people I met and networked with, so I could email them in future. Email is still the most powerful way to communicate online, and it’s not going anywhere soon. It’s the best way to build an engaged audience, sell a product online, or create hype around your next big event or service project. Get those email addresses!
#7. Writing about you instead of your customer
I’m afraid nobody cares when you were established or what your hobbies are. They want to know what’s in it for them, so write what your reader wants to read, not what you want to write. Write for a single person and focus on benefits – how your product/service solves a problem for the reader. Be credible, clear and concise, and focus on ‘YOU’. Don’t ‘we’ all over your copy! Always have a strong Call To Action (CTA) and tell people what you want them to do.
I hope these tips are useful. If you’d like to give your small business a marketing boost please get in touch.
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