If you are running a small business, you probably don’t have a huge marketing budget. The good news is that vast financial resources and a dedicated department are not critical to successfully marketing your brand.
What is important is that you make the right decisions, avoid throwing away money and resources on strategies that are wrong for your company and avoid the five mistakes listed below.
Don’t treat SEO like an afterthought
As your business grows, you’re going to become busier. A large number of small business owners use that as an excuse to let their search engine optimisation (SEO) efforts fall by the wayside. Make that mistake and the consequences you can expect are reduced search engine visibility, making it hard for new customers or clients to find you and a gradual loss of social media followers, further reducing your online presence.
If you have a business website (and you should), correct SEO should always be on your radar. Don’t help the competition, if you’re too busy to personally oversee the optimisation of your site and social media accounts, delegate that task to a knowledgeable employee or invest in someone outside of your business who can take care of it for you.
Ensure that your website is mobile-friendly
A lot of small business owners did not update their sites last year to a responsive design. The reasons provided include limited budget and lack of time. If you want to stay on Google’s good side you must have a site that displays well on mobile devices. On April 21 2015, the search engine confirmed that any site that does not display well, will be penalised. If your site isn’t mobile-friendly, it’ll miss a huge amount of users. Mobile Internet traffic now exceeds its desktop equivalent, which is hardly a shock given the fact that everyone uses their smartphone or tablet to surf the web on the go. Mobile users have also indicated that they won’t return to sites that are not optimised for their devices, so if you have been stubbornly clinging to your all-Flash website, it’s time to convert.
Maintain active communications with customers
Social media has gradually changed the way that consumers and businesses interact with each other, but not all small business owners grasp this. They use their company Facebook and Twitter accounts to broadcast upcoming sales or announce new products, but there’s no real dialogue involved. This is a big mistake.
To make your social media accounts really work for you, make every post or tweet an opportunity to interact with your customers. Ask for new product ideas, solicit opinions and encourage feedback. Consumers love a business that listens.
Don’t forget to say thank you
Without your customers, your business or brand can’t exist. Therefore, it is important to keep them happy and loyal so that they continue to support you. The internet has provided the average consumer with more choice than ever before, so if you can’t make your customers feel valued, someone else definitely will. The easiest and most affordable way to show appreciation is to say thank you. To go the extra mile, give away some free product samples, set up a loyalty rewards programme, or let your customers try new services for free before buying. None of these efforts will cost a lot but the value of the loyalty they will create is immense.
Always ask for reviews
Consumers are more likely to buy from a company that has positive reviews available to read. A lot of small businesses, however, worry that negative reviews will reflect poorly on it and shy away from actively soliciting feedback. If a negative experience is resolved quickly and efficiently, then the customer will be more likely to return.
It’s all about how you deal with people and how you are seen to be dealing with people. Errors in business happen, but if customers are treated with respect and the rest of the world can see this, then a negative can be turned into a positive.
These mistakes can gradually damage your company or brand and undo all the hard work you did to turn your dream or idea into reality. Marketing is not a static process, it requires constant attention and evaluation, but the results are worth the effort.