If you’re like most small-business owners, you have a very lean marketing budget. Reviewing your current marketing strategy could reveal that, with a few inexpensive improvements, you’d do a better job of spreading the word about your company, getting others interested in your products, and bringing in more sales. But what you don’t want to do is waste precious dollars on marketing tactics that don’t work.
Here are five small-business marketing mistakes to avoid:
1. Overlooking existing customers — Reaching out to potential clients is certainly a key way to grow your business, but it can also be expensive. Bringing in a new customer can be up to six times more costly than selling to an existing one. What’s more, current customers often spend 33 percent more than new ones. To nurture your current client base, look for ways to build a strong relationship with them. Consider asking people to fill out a survey about how you can better serve them, request feedback on current products, or start an email newsletter to keep them informed on upcoming promotions.
2. Overloading on social media — Instead of trying to be absolutely everywhere online, really think about who your customers are, says LaMecia Butler, a marketing consultant in the Los Angeles area. Do they expect to find your company on Facebook or Twitter? Do they want to rate your business on Yelp? Rather than trying to be on all platforms, choose only the ones that are a good fit for your company and your customer base, Butler suggests. Focus your efforts on building and updating your presence on those sites.
3. Trying to copy Wal-Mart’s model — When setting prices, you don’t always have to offer the lowest around. “Low-price options really only work if you’re providing goods and services at a high volume,” says Butler. If not, you run the danger of costs outweighing the amount of cash you bring in through sales. As an alternative, try adding a “9” to the end of the number (think $49 or $9.99). Customers who are price-conscious may view such a number as a good deal, even if it is not the lowest price around.
4. Not knowing what you need to expand — If you’re looking for funding to help take your business to the next level, make sure you can tell others about your ideas in a clear way. “Funders will want to know the next step for the business,” Butler says. “If you don’t have a plan to grow and can’t communicate it effectively, there’s little reassurance they will see their money returned to them, let alone a return on their investment.” To make sure you’re well-prepared, create — and practice — an effective elevator pitch for your company.
5. Failing to update your online data — Is the information about your company that’s listed on your website still accurate? More importantly, are your prices correct for the current season? “There’s nothing worse than finding outdated information online,” Butler says. Check your company’s website, blog, and social media accounts on a regular basis. Doing so will give current customers the details they need and ensure new visitors that your business is up-to-date and running smoothly.