Archive for October, 2012

10 Marketing Mistakes Made by Small Businesses

October 23rd, 2012

Small business is a totally different ballgame than it was 10 years ago.  It used to be easy to thrive in local areas, as long as they had an eye-catching yellowpage ad towards the front of the heading category. Unfortunately, yellowpages are on the decline, and small business owners are forced to embrace the Internet. This leads me to #1 on my list of the top 10 Biggest Mistakes of Small Businesses today:

  1. Embrace it or Bust – It’s easier than ever now to create a website at an affordable price. Free platforms such as WordPress are at your disposal, and there is no requirement to learn HTML code. If you don’t have a website or a domain aging, you’re way behind the 8 ball.
  2. Tracking – So you’re a service business and you’re “up to date” on the hottest forms of marketing. Your service trucks are wrapped to perfection and the nicest in town. You may even be an Angie’s List Super Service Award Winner. You need to be able to track every phone call to a specific source! Using unique RCFs (remote call forwarding numbers) is a MUST to attribute revenue to each of the many sources you may be dabbling in. For example, use a unique number for your trucks and a different number in your Angie’s List listing. This will allow you to evaluate your advertising mediums and calculate a CPL (cost per lead).
  3. “Fool me once, shame on you; Fool me twice, shame on me”– Too many times have I seen small business owners get taken advantage of by big-time PPC agencies who are opaque in their reporting and spend every penny in the client’s marketing budget.  It’s important to do your homework and make sure you have a reputable provider. Make sure you have access to statistics that you can hold your provider accountable for! If your provider can’t tell you what your Google cost per click is because they’re marking it up and incorporating their management fee into your ad spend, you know you’re going to have a tough time gauging how well your provider is doing. It’s as important as ever with rising ppc costs to use a provider who aims to reduce your cost per click.
  4. Unlimited Resources At Your Fingertips – There’s no excuse nowadays. Learning something is as easy as going to Google (ever hear of them?), finding any resource you need, and start reading. Self-education is as easy as ever, whether it’s learning a new language or learning the basics to Internet marketing. When it comes to the fate of your business, there’s no excuse not to educate yourself on the basics of PPC and SEO so you can carry on a semi-intelligent conversation with your providers. Not only will this help you understand their recommendations, but will also help your providers convey the actual value you’re receiving.
  5. Goals & Mindset – What are your goals? Do you want to be “#1 on Google”? Do you want to increase revenue by 30%? Establishinggoals and knowing WHY they’re your goals are two very different things but equally important. What’s necessary is that you establish a long-term strategy that will increase your bottom line. After all, do you really care about being “#1 on Google” for a given keyword if it doesn’t increase your profits?How Can I Be #1 On Google?
  6. Branding – It’s as important as ever to make sure your branding and advertising are as consistent as ever when it comes to local SEO.  Referring to your business using multiple names will create more than one identify for your business on the web.  Draw a CLEAR picture for Google! Don’t leave it up to Google to figure out who you are and where you’re located, or else they may raise the white flag (give up and show nothing). Consistency is a key local search ranking factor.
  7. “Why Are You on Facebook?” – So many businesses want to be on Facebook without even having a goal or objective. Is the purpose to generate sales? Branding? Just for the heck of it? This is my favorite reason… “Because everyone else is doing it.” How can you even measure your Facebook campaign’s success when you don’t know what you’re measuring? Again, are you measuring leads, engagement, “Likes”, etc. Have a reason for all that you do.
  8. Social Media –To engage or not to engage, that is the question! Depending on
    Facebook Logowhat industry you’re in, the answer can be clear orvery difficult. For example, if you’re a pest control company, do you think people want to see pictures of giant cockroaches and spiders all over their Facebook News Feed (image warning…big spider)? Put yourself in your customer’s shoes. Engage with them in a way that will not push them to “unlike” you. I’ve seen examples of too much engagement where followers have been lost and examples of too little engagement, which caused little to no growth in followers. Find your happy medium!
  9. Advertising Budget – Fear of advertising. It’s one of the most significant hindrances I’ve experienced dealing with small businesses. It goes back to finding a reputable company or provider that you feel comfortable using. Make sure your expectations are on the same page, as well as what’s needed from both parties to fulfill those expectations. You have to invest in advertising to see the return.
  10. Don’t Abandon Traditional Advertising- We all know online advertising is on the rise and that younger generations have probably never opened up the yellowpages in their lives. This doesn’t mean you should stop all traditional forms of advertising and print media forms and rely 100% on the internet! SEO and organic traffic take time; we could be talking over a year before you see any significant benefits from it! I would advise that if you’re not seeing the same return from your print media forms, scale back gradually and invest in online forms.

If you’ve seen any other big-time mistakes made by small businesses, feel free to comment below!

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