11 Monstrous Small Business Marketing Mistakes and How To Avoid Them: Mistakes 6-11

by Susan Carter

Don't waste your marketing money. Avoid these 11 small business marketing mistakes.

Read Monstrous Marketing Mistakes 1-5 here

MONSTROUS Marketing Mistake Number 6: Relying on Networking to Generate Sales Leads

Joining the Chamber of Commerce and schmoozing at association meetings can put you in contact with vendors and possible joint venture partners, and will be invaluable exposure for you as a community supporter - but it will rarely generate substantial sales leads.

Everyone else who attends these "meet and greet" assemblies is there to do the same thing you are. You may be able to make some valuable contacts for future ventures and promotions, but one-on-one networking is time-consuming and results are unpredictable.

Avoid this mistake by:

  • Treating networking opportunities the same as any other marketing tactic. Track results by determining your costs and measuring your payback.

RELATED: 5 Simple Networking Follow-Up Strategies 

MONSTROUS Marketing Mistake Number 7: Doing What Your Competitors Do

It's important to be aware of what your competitors are offering, but do not let it dictate the strategy you use for your own business.

If your competitor wants to be the low price leader, let him. Don't try to become the "lower price" leader. Chances are this will lead you to financial problems because it will thrust you into an ugly price war. If your competitor wants to tout low prices, then you focus on value. Bargain hunters don't necessarily want the lowest price. They want the best VALUE. Make what you have to offer something of value.

Avoid this mistake by:

  • Finding an unmet need or want of your target market, and fill it to differentiate your products and services from your competitors.
  • Giving customers a reason to choose you over your competitors. Define your USP, and identify your niche market.


MONSTROUS Marketing Mistake Number 8: Not Targeting a Specific Market

If you believe your market is "everybody," you will struggle to attract people who will buy from you. The value of target (niche) marketing is one of the toughest sells I make to my clients. They understand the logic of it, but the "fear of losing a potential customer" gets the best of them.

Avoid this mistake by:

  • Viewing the practice of niche marketing as inclusive, not exclusive.

Think of your business as part of a person's support group. It's logical to say, "Everybody needs a support group so my business should attract everyone." But, will it? People - your customers - want to go to a support business that understands their specific concerns, needs, and wants. Make sure you ARE that business by targeting a niche market.

MONSTROUS Marketing Mistake Number 9: Targeting a Market You Can't Reach or One That Can't Afford You

Targeting a niche market is the smartest way to market. Yet, targeting a market that is too specific will limit your ability to succeed long term. For example, a market that might be too specific would be: female pilots under the age of 35 who fly ONLY New York to London flights. That's a pretty narrow market to sustain your business in the long term unless you can capture the ENTIRE market with a product or service that has a high profit point and customers need to use or replace it often.

In that same vein, a market that is begging for the service or product you have but cannot afford it will also be a business impossible to sustain. Never compete for someone's rent money. Your target market must have the means to buy your products and services.

Avoid this mistake by:

  • Creating your customer profile to identify characteristics of your potential buyers,
  • Identifying a niche market,
  • Examining the long term potential for new and repeat sales.

MONSTROUS Marketing Mistake Number 10: Focusing On Acquiring New Customers Instead of Promoting to Current or Previous Customers

When you first start a business you have little choice but to focus on gaining new customers. The cost of finding those new customers can be expensive, which is one reason it is so important to really target a specific niche. However, once you've made just one sale, you're ready to start looking at other marketing options.

Wouldn't you like to:

.. slash your marketing costs by half or more?
.. reach proven buyers for your service or products?

That little goldmine of proven buyers available to you "on the cheap" is already yours in the form of current and previous customers.

Any respected marketing guru, past or present, online or offline, will tell you that the biggest asset your company has is your customer base.

Avoid this mistake by:

  • Realizing that, when a sale is finalized, it is the beginning of your relationship with that customer, not the end.
  • Offering additional products or services to current customers. If you don't have your own to offer them, then develop a referral, joint venture or product bundling program so you can reap profits from your already-interested (and buying) customers.

MONSTROUS Marketing Mistake Number 11: Not Systematically Following Up on Leads

The least expensive part of business is making the sale. The most expensive is generating leads - finding the people who are interested in what you have.

Once you find people who express an interest in what you have to offer - whether they buy from you or not - you MUST develop a follow up system that will keep marketing to those interested prospects. A person who has expressed interest in your products and services is far more likely to eventually buy from you than someone who did not respond at all!

Avoid this mistake by:

  • Curbing the tendency to become obsessed with generating more leads until you have exhausted the ones you already have.
  • Developing an easy, systematic follow up for leads, designed to convert a "maybe" into a "yes."
About the Author:
Susan Carter is a small business operations and marketing consultant and author. Her web site is at  http://www.successideas.com

 

 
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