Following are the five mistakes most small business owners make. Avoid them and watch your business flourish that much sooner!
1. Fail to Implement a Marketing Plan: Most small business owners know a lot about their product/service, but little about how to market it. Marketing is the lifeblood of every business.
No matter how good your product/service, if no one knows about it, it will remain "your little secret." So, before you open your doors, formulate, implement and plan to follow a marketing plan. What will you do daily, weekly, monthly to increase sales?
You must make marketing a habit to become successful.
2. Don't Speak to Core Audience: French to the French; English to the English: What does this mean? Specifically, speak to your core audience in their language.
Your core audience is made up of your loyalists, your die-hard fans. These are customers who will purchase from you, not because you are having a sale, but because they truly like, trust in and have come to identify with your product/service.
For example, I'm a runner. When I go to buy new running shoes, I buy Nike. I don't even consider other brands. Why? Because I know Nike, like them and am comfortable with them. In short, I trust that their shoe will always be kind to my feet. Because they've served me well in the past I don't want to take a chance on another brand.
This is called customer loyalty and it's always what you as a small business owner are striving for. Twenty to 30% of your customers will account for 70% to 80% of your sales. Customer loyalty is a foundational building block that you must have for long-term, sustained sales.
Conversely, if I was a fair weather customer, I might ask the salesman, "What's on sale today?" when I go to purchase new running shoes. If Reebok beats Nike's price, I'd purchase Reebok. I refer to these types of customers as peripheral. They'll purchase from you if, if, if: if the price is low enough; if you're offering a 2-for-1 sale; if you offer a hefty rebate.
3. Give up on a Marketing Plan too Soon: "I sent out 500 brochures and only got three calls." Or, "I placed an ad in the paper and nobody called."
Not taking into account that something could be wrong with your message, one-time contact is not effective marketing. When you consider that a customer has to see your message 7 to 28 times before they act (depending on the source you read), placing one ad or sending one postcard is not going to work.
Marketing is a long-range plan, not a one-hit sales program. This is why it's important to choose marketing methods you can afford to repeat. Postcards, writing and distributing free articles, e-mail campaigns. All of these cost nothing, or practically nothing.
Use them on a consistent basis to see consistent results.
4. Don't Market When Things Get Tight: You had a slow month and figure that you won't design and send that brochure after all. Mistake.
How is not contacting your customers going to help? Maybe you can't afford to send a slick brochure, but what about a postcard, an e-mail campaign? Just because you can't afford to do what you want to do is no reason to abandon marketing.
Whatever you do, do something. Don't allow yourself to slide into the habit of marketing only when you have the money. Use free and low-cost measures all the time; that way you will never have an excuse not to market.
5. Fail to Diversify Marketing Plan: To reach new markets, you need to diversify your marketing efforts. If all of your energies have been concentrated offline, try some online marketing (eg, e-mail campaigns).
Try targeting a new newspaper, magazine, e-zine with your articles. You never know how it might turn out.
Avoid these mistakes and you will be well on your way to increasing your bottom line.
by Yuwanda Black
================================================Yuwanda Black is an Author/Instructor/Speaker,
and small business expert who advises others on how to achieve the
dream of working for themselves. She has written and published
numerous small business articles and press releases
in promotion of
her ventures. Her current venture, EthnicVendors.com is an
online shopping portal and catalog distributor for ethnic goods and
services. It is a subsidiary of EthnicHomeDecor.com.
Was this article
Review these related resources & products
I Need More Time
A Marketing Plan to