small business marketing

Small Business Marketing: 5 Mistakes You May Make

…And How to Fix Them

Marketing campaign got you down?

First, breathe. They didn’t build Rome in a day, and your organic traffic won’t build that quickly, either. 

But it never hurts to do a reality check. If you’ve been at it for a while and your campaign isn’t sprouting legs, it’s probably because you’re making one of these small business marketing faux pas (part 1):

You’re Neglecting the “Social” in Social Media

Social media without two-way communication isn’t social. It’s a lecture.

Do you want someone to like, share, and subscribe? So does (almost) everyone else. 

Social media platforms offer incredible opportunities to connect with potential customers, build brand awareness, and strengthen relationships. However, you won’t achieve any of this if you don’t reply to customers and engage with their content. 

How to fix: Take 10-15 minutes every day to engage with your audience on the platforms you use. Reply to their responses, like their content, and share some of their posts with your audience. 

Think of a social media platform like you would in any situation with a crowd of people in a networking environment. The people who engage tend to make the most connections, not those in the corner glued to their phones. Just make sure these are quality engagements—not moments when you’re drunkenly interrupting thoughtful conversations, belching incoherent conspiracy theories, and trampling a brittle Executive Director on the way to the open gin bar. On the web, we call them trolls. 

You’re Overlooking Customer Feedback

Which resource is more valuable, an ounce of printer ink or gold? The ink.

Printer ink is stupid expensive, but it helps with the metaphor. If you’re more interested in panning for gold than reading and addressing what your customers are saying, you’ll be depleting your gold mine in no time. 

How to fix: We all love to see our businesses make money, but customer feedback is often more valuable. Quality feedback provides you with a direct line to understanding your target audience’s needs, preferences, and pain points. When you address these accurately, you’ll make them feel heard, earn a reputation as a continuously improving and innovating business, and may even turn those customers into brand ambassadors. 

Speaking of brand…

Your Branding is Inconsistent

Your brand is more than just a logo; it’s your visual and verbal identity. As one agency puts it, your brand is why your organization exists, what you do, how you do it differently than everyone else, and the way it comes to life. 

If your visuals and messaging aren’t cohesive, people will struggle to figure out who you are. Worse, they’ll think you’re struggling with the same. 

How to fix: Create a brand guide that includes adjectives that best set the tone of your business and the colors that best represent your brand. Use this guide as your north star in everything you create going forward. 

Think of it this way: your brand is like your home’s foundation. If it’s untested and put together without care, you’ll deal with structural issues for years. 

Your Content Calendar Needs Work 

Your content calendar is more than just a list of topics and publishing dates—it’s a delicate dance of strategy, foresight, and savvy organizational management. Without one, you’ll almost certainly struggle to keep up with your content and limit your knowledge of what you have and how it’s performing. 

How to fix: Find the best tool for you and your team. It can be a simple spreadsheet or a more collaborative tool like Trello or Asana. Whatever you use, make sure you include your calendar basics, like content title, type, location, category/bucket, dates, assigned contributor, status, and additional notes. 

You’re Doing Your Small Business Marketing Alone

Small business marketing doesn’t mean that you, the small business owner, are doing the marketing. It’s usually better that you don’t because you’ve got a million other things to do. Should you play an active role in planning and reviewing key pieces of content before they’re published? Absolutely (or whoever’s in a marketing managerial role should anyway)! Should you be spending hours every week creating it? No? 

How to fix: Save time, increase visibility, and get your marketing done by outsourcing it to an expert. 

And stay tuned for part 2 of this article, because there are many more small business marketing mistakes that can be improved upon!