Five marketing mistakes made by SMEs

Marketing is incredibly important when it comes to running a business. Yet, when it comes to marketing, many small businesses make common mistakes that could easily be avoided with just a little bit of knowledge and expertise. Here, Rob Staathof, CEO of Liberis, highlights some common mistakes that should be avoided in order to increase the chances of success.

Expecting to get something out of the business without putting anything in

Many of small businesses start up expecting everything to work out right for them from the outset. Both effort and money need to be put into any new business whether that business is large or small. If the effort isn’t there then the results that they expect won’t be either. Making an effort to work should be a ‘given’ but if putting enough funds into the business is a struggle, then taking advantage of a merchant cash advance for SMEs is a viable option to aid in the quest for business success. With effort put into marketing the brand from the beginning, and money being funnelled in to achieve these goals, it will be much easier for a small business to be set apart from the rest.

Not knowing who to target and how to target them

Plenty of small businesses start with no marketing plan at all which is a major mistake. The best place to start is with a simple marketing plan, no matter how small. Breaking the whole market down into segments and then identifying the ideal area to target is a good start: then you can investigate the relevant ways to reach them. The aim of your marketing plan should be to highlight which strategies or tactics are right for your business and how, when and where you are going to use them. It should also include details about who you intend to sell to, how you will sell to them and how you will let them know about your business.

A reluctance to put the effort into a marketing plan will only cause problems – if a small business cannot be bothered to get the word out there properly about what they provide, how can they ever expect to achieve their goals? A clear and concise marketing plan can help small businesses grow exponentially so it is a necessity when starting up.

Not standing out from the competition

A clear and concise marketing plan should help rectify this, but one of the biggest marketing mistakes small businesses make is not standing out from their competition. With the lack of viable marketing plan or consistent direction, companies cannot identify their strengths and competitive edge and instead may flounder among their competition, trying desperately to get noticed. Standing out from the competition is tough which is why it is so useful for a small business to undertake a basic SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats) to see if they really have a competitive edge that they can exploit. Many small businesses fall foul of the belief that their business cannot or will not be any different to the other small businesses out there. This is wrong; each business can be unique if they look into what their strengths are and who their ideal customer is. Asking existing customers why they choose to use you is a great way to find out what makes you stand out from the other businesses out there.

Expecting immediate returns on their marketing

All too often small businesses create a marketing plan, put it into action and expect an immediate and positive return. While this is not only unrealistic, marketing takes a little time to be implemented and even then it needs to be implemented fully and effectively before any returns are likely to be made. Unfortunately, some small business owners are left disillusioned with the results of their marketing when they simply don’t realise that they haven’t given it enough time to be effective.

Although many marketers want to ensure that the marketing plan is perfect and follow it every step of the way until it is fully implemented. Marketing is often reactive, so following it to the letter is not necessarily the right thing to do. Being aware of trends in the market, or what the competition is up to and generally being alert to the business environment is always essential for businesses.

Not diversifying enough

Far too often companies are relying on just one or two avenues to generate leads when they could be taking advantage of a variety of others. While word of mouth, or newspaper adverts, may work well at first, there is every chance that these leads may tail off so there needs to be something in hand ready to supplement these channels. Advertising in various publications, trying social media, exploring paid online advertising or local advertising are other possibilities that will help to rectify this situation. Not diversifying the marketing outreach enough is one of the most popular small business marketing mistakes and it is easy to see why. However, shaking off this limited thinking will help to generate more leads which in turn will lead to a bigger and better turnover for the business.