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  • Writer's pictureClaire Taylor

Ten avoidable small business marketing mistakes

Updated: Nov 26, 2019

If you are a small service-based business, you might be thinking about how best to market your business. I have put together these top tips so you can avoid making some of the common mistakes that small businesses make.

Common mistakes:

  • Not understanding your purpose, why you are in business in the first place (in addition to what you are trying to sell) – and how this should play a big part in your marketing

  • Not having a true sense of the problem you solve for your ideal client and not marketing the solution

  • Trying to please every customer or a broad group of people who have different needs and clues

  • Not being unique or offering something different

  • Playing it safe so that you don’t put yourself out there because you are worried about being judged.

  • Not talking to your customers enough or ideal customers if you are just starting out

  • Not choosing marketing as a priority in your business

  • Concentrating on marketing on social media platforms only

  • Not measuring your marketing results

  • Not having a marketing strategy.

Why these mistakes can stand in the way of your success

Marketing is changing every day and this approach is something you need to embrace and enjoy.

It is no longer about taking your services and ramming the market with adverts, flyers or a website, whilst they have their place, the way that you go about marketing is changing.

Marketing should be built into every service that you create, making sure that from the word go you got something great to talk about.

It should be at the heart of everything you do as a business, no matter how small you are.

You could argue that small business can fail because they spend too much time on running the business and only the successful small business survive by focussing on marketing their service.

Step 1

People do not buy what you do, they buy why you do it. It is therefore important that you know exactly what you stand for because people like to buy from business and people that they like. It makes them feel good.

Step 2

Be relevant and compelling to a group of people.

The best approach for your marketing is to focus on one niche. If you do this you can choose a specific customer that has the greatest needs for your service, and who are the most profitable.

Decide on who you would like to work with and ignore the rest for now.

Step 3

Be valuable.

What you solve is much more important than what you sell. Understand the core (emotional) problem you solve and the value you provide beyond the physical service. The more you understand how you solve your ideal customer’s needs, the easier it will be to connect with them and offer them something that they want.

Step 4

Be different

It isn’t about being the best, it is really important that you must be different. If you look at good quality, great features, good services, whilst these are important, they do not create loyalty. Without loyalty you rely on persuasion tactics that whilst they can work, they aren’t always sustainable and you don’t know when you might need to lower your pricing if things get tough.

Step 5

Tell them the benefits of working with you

People buy for emotional reasons and then they go back and justify with logic. Make it easy for your customers to identify the real benefits of how you can help them. Don’t expect them to work it out themselves, or else you will lose them in the buying process. If you translate it for them and then they can easily understand how your service will improve their life somehow.

Stage 6

Trust. Earn it.

The hardest yet the most important thing is to earn the trust of your customers. It makes it easier.

You might be very trustworthy, but you need to prove this so that people believe you.

We all have had a story where we have been burned before and we all have a story about someone we can’t trust anymore. If people can't trust you, you will struggle to survive. Trust is earned. If you understand the perceived barriers that people face when purchasing your service, you can work out ways in your marketing to lower their risk and build ways to earn their trust.

Stage 7

Make them want to act now

Just because you tell our clients about your services and how great they are, doesn’t mean they will immediately act. If you are still in the process of completing steps 1-6, then you might want to create a reason for people to act now. People can be so close to taking that leap and buying from you but so many of us keep waiting to see when the moment is right.

You need to give them a reason to act now. Many people are afraid to look pushy or too salesy and avoid this completely. You don’t need to sound like an infomercial, there are more comfortable ways to do this. Plant the inspiration to act in your marketing through compelling offers and include limited time frames and test each appeal to see what works for your niche.

Marketing is changing all the time, with new rules. This is an exciting time for small businesses. Small businesses are more agile, have little to lose (I know it may not feel like this always) but you have a lot to gain.

Offer your services. Be generous with your knowledge. Make marketing your small business meaningful.

If you need any help with your marketing contact me here.

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