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8 Ways Small Businesses Waste Money Marketing

20 March 2017 | 0 comments | Posted by Che Kohler in nichemarket Advice

Way small businesses waste money

First thing first, marketing is one of those professions where everyone is an expert, everyone knows how to market their business and speak to their customers but funny enough marketing is not easy. If it were the case would you be reading this article? Small businesses often develop their own marke ting strategy without any marketing department or external consultation and it doesn't always work or costs a fair bit to keep them above water, especially with small margins. Although marketing is about spending time and money to increase the brand awareness, not all marketing practices are for every small business. In this article, we will tackle the most popular money-wasting marketing practices small businesses have grown fond of.

Practice 1: Using Too Many Social Media Channels

There are many social media channels. We can use Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, or YouTube to build the brand awareness and build the followers. Some marketing advice suggests that you need to have many social media channels. Such advice does not work for every business. Social media is good to connect people to the business.

However, the most important thing is not to build the followers. Instead, it is to identify the target audience and engage with them online. If the customers like to comment on the Instagram posts, the business owners should focus on Instagram instead of a tweet on Twitter. Pick 1 or 2 social platforms where you feel most of your business will come from and focus on that, once you've built up a presence and a following you can look into adding new networks to expand your growth. This way you're building up active channels properly and it can save a lot of time and money in the long run.

Practice 2: Creating content for the sake of it

New business owners often want to create new content and as much as they can, but they ignore the engagement and quality of the content which can actually hurt the brand awareness. There is nothing wrong with creating content but strive for quality over quantity. People like to see quality content, they don't want to have their time wasted and if you are seen as a producer of quality content these users are likely to return for more.

Generating content can take time, valuable time that could be spent on other sales-driven activities, so your content marketing efforts should look to bring in revenue more often than not. So, use some of your budgets to hire a content strategist to create high-quality contents plans and to do keyword research for your business. Trust me, it will take the stress out of trying to generate ideas and have you targeting the right people with your content, no more spray and pray jobs.

Practice 3: Casting a wide net

Many new businesses like to cast a wide net because it seems like the simplest method to market their new business, get enough eyes on it and hopefully, someone will buy. However, such practice may end up wasting time and money marketing to the wrong audience or the wrong places, especially with how targetted marketing has become in the digital age. Good marketing efforts will become great marketing efforts when the business owner target on the right audience effectively.

The business owner should research their existed customers to find out where they spend time online, what encourages them to buy online and how they found the business or similar services. Then find the best ways to target similar user behaviour patterns or demographics through your advertising. Start small and targetted and once you've saturated your niche, you can begin to open up to new areas. Winning one market to as an anchor is the best way to leverage expansion, be it geographically or demographically.

Practice 4: Influencer Marketing

Paying influencers to market the business is not for everyone. Firstly, it can be very expensive. Secondly, there is no effective way of tracking influence on sales. Thirdly the business owner may waste their money on the wrong influencers. Forth, the influencers may control the content meaning it is not always ideally what the business owner actually wants.

Fifth, if the business owner creates the products for a small niche market, influencers are probably not going to help much. If the business owners believe the influencer marketing is the right way to market the product, they need to identify the key influencers in their industry in order to build real working relationships that can benefit the business in the long-term. A few social posts from an influencer is hardly going to be memorable by influencer fan bases, no matter how avid the follower.

Practice 5: Video Marketing

Many business owners believe that video marketing works well and hire a production company to put together an impressive marketing video or video series. Video can be powerful but only if done consistently. A perfect product demo products can gain a little traction. A preview of a new product video may have more engagement, but a weekly or bi-weekly review people can look forward to seeing will drive way more views than a once off video campaign.

Before planning on the video marketing, do some research and run some trails, is your current content being picked up with some level of interest, if not then video marketing will not be the silver bullet. Vide marketing can only amplify for your current content or offerings. Develop a clear and detailed strategy with clear goals and make sure you have real costings because it can easily become an expensive failure if not thought out properly.

Practice 6: Expecting the result too soon and then giving up

New business is risky and we all know failure rates are high. According to the Small Business Administration, 30% of new startup fail within two years. Nearly 50% of startup businesses fail within 5 years. Many small business owners expect too much from their business too soon, it may be a great product or a great idea, but you need to sell the belief you have to your consumers. Expecting consumers to see your product or service the way you do is why many businesses expect results within a short period of time.

Developing a long-term marketing strategy is important, you're either started this business to sell it on in years to come or to run it into your old age, you don't start a business simply to keep yourself busy for the time being. Business owners need to set out their long-term vision for what they want to achieve and then look at creating actionable steps they can apply today to get there. As Biz Stone co-founder of Twitter said, It takes 10 years to become an overnight success.

Practice 7: Over-reliance on paid advertising

I've seen this one grow in popularity and it isn't necessarily a bad thing, but it needs to be monitored carefully. Many businesses need or look for instant gratification and growth and AdWords offers that by the pound. It's simple to keep feeding your account with cash and the traffic will keep coming however with conversions at a high of 3% - 5% it still an expensive exercise to pay for 95% of your visitors not to convert.

AdWords paints over the cracks many online businesses have, allowing them to ignore trying to grow other channels, or optimising onsite and generating content. Once AdWords bids become more and more competitive and exhausting budget or eating into margins you're left with a more expensive traffic driver. While your other channels aren't there to pick up the slack, which can become very dangerous as you scale.

Practice 8: Not trying to migrate users

As mentioned in my previous point, the majority of your visitors will not be purchasing anything and to get them to return to your site 2 or 3 times before they buy means you paying 2, 3 or even 4 times for the 1 purchase, which drives up your CAC (customer acquisition costs).

Trying to migrate users to free or cheaper channels will help ease this pressure on your paid ads. Encourage first-time visitors to follow your social channels, sign up for your newsletter or download your app. This way you can contact them easier and directly and improve the growth of lower CAC channels.

Do not waste

If you've made some of these mistakes, I hope you now have a way to correct it and optimise your current practices going forward. I encourage be smart about your marketing and your money and it can only lead to online success.

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Tags: Content Marketing, How to, Social Media

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