Small businesses may not have the budgets of their larger competitors, but they can still market effectively. That being said, there are some common marketing mistakes that small businesses tend to make. What are they, and how can your business avoid them?
Bad Website Design
Most business owners know that they need a website to keep up in today’s world, but some can’t bring themselves to pay a professional to design one for them. Maybe they’re too attached to controlling every aspect of their business, or perhaps they question the value of spending money on something they could, in theory, do themselves.
While it’s true that there are plenty of easy options for DIY web design, they often end up looking like exactly what they are: amateur projects. While a poorly-designed website might have passed muster when the Internet was still a novelty, these days it’s a major downgrade for any small business’s online reputation. Business owners who have the time to learn how to build great looking, intuitive, mobile-friendly websites may want to have a go at it; everyone else should probably hire a pro.
Ignoring Your Online Reputation
It’s not enough to simply have an online presence; you have to actively manage your business’s online reputation. In order to do that, you have to keep track of what people are saying on reviews sites, social media, and blogs. Of course you don’t have the time to manually comb the Internet for your business’s name, but you can use Google Alerts, SocialMention, Technorati, and other free tools to keep track of the word on the street.
When clients take the time to praise your business online, make sure you show your gratitude. If they post negative reviews, do what you can to change their opinions. You may not be able to fix every situation, but the fact that you make an effort will show clients that you take your business’s service and reputation seriously, which will help to build trust.
Not Sweating the Small Things
You might be the best chocolatier in town, but have trouble remembering how to use apostrophes. Or maybe you’re not very good at photography, so you populate your business website with the same generic stock photos peppering every other site on the web.
Posting a picture of a professional model buying a product you don’t sell from someone you don’t employ in a store that is clearly not your store won’t enhance your business’s credibility. Nor does having a big sign that exclaims, “You’ll love our candy’s.” Double-check your marketing materials before putting them out there, making sure they’re grammatically correct, authentic, and unique.