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7 Classic Marketing Mistakes That Most Small Businesses Make

How happy are you with your business?

Have you managed to grow and develop it in the way you hoped when you started out?

For some the answer will be yes but for many business owners, the answer will be no.
The good news however is that by rectifying just a few basic mistakes, you can potentially free your business from the restraints which have been holding it back.

Mistake No 1 – Not Maximising The Value Of Existing Customers
When most people think about growing their business, they immediately think of new customers. But winning new customers is hard work. The easiest way to increase your income is to tap into your existing customers.
Think about it.
They already know you, like you and trust you. So if you make them aware of other products or services that you supply, it will be easy for them to make the decision to purchase from you.

So ask yourself this question: are all your customers aware of the range of products you sell? If not you have a great opportunity to sell them more stuff.

Mistake No 2 – Not Continually Refining Your Marketing
One of the biggest problems with people is not that they aim high and fail but that they aim low and succeed.

A very common scenario is that you run a marketing campaign and it’s reasonably successful and makes a small profit. So you’re quite happy.
The question is: should you be? And the answer is NO!
We should all continually strive to improve – we should look at every aspect of our businesses and ask – what could we do better?
The fact is if you could increase your number of customers, your average spend, the frequency of purchase and your conversion rate by just 10% you would increase your business by 46%.

Mistake No 3 – Not Using Multiple Marketing Channels
Most businesses use only one or two marketing channels.
So  if your marketing is working and generating incremental income, surely it makes sense to introduce additional marketing channels and then test them and refine them so that they too become profit generating.
Say each channel generates £10K of additional business, then why not have say 7 channels generating £70k of additional income instead of just a couple.

Mistake No 4 – Waiting For Customers To Give You Referrals
When you ask the majority of small business owners where they get their new business from, the most common answer is word of mouth or referrals.
Word of mouth is great but the problem is you don’t know when it might happen and you don’t know how many referrals you might get.
Smart business people use referral marketing as a proactive marketing channel to generate high quality and low cost leads at a predictable rate.

So how do you go about generating referrals?
There are lots of ways but the two simplest are:
1. Just ask.
When you’ve done good work for a customer and they’re feeling very positive towards you, just ask if they know anyone who they think might also benefit from your services. As a nation we’re not very good at asking for referrals, but what’s the worst that can happen? Your customer might not be able or want to give you a referral. You haven’t lost anything.
2. Give Referrals.
The more referrals you give, the more you will get. It’s as simple as that. If you give someone a referral they will feel indebted to you and look to reciprocate.

Mistake No 5 – Not Pooling Resources With Other Local Businesses
What I’m talking about here is finding ways to work together with other local businesses who serve the same target audience but with a different product. This is also called strategic alliances.

The questions to ask are:

1. Who has relationships with the types of businesses, or individuals that you want to talk to?

2. Who would benefit from the relationships that you have with businesses, or individuals?

3. How could you help each other?

An example of the kind of thing I’m talking about would be if an insurance company promoted a special deal in a dental practice to the dentist’s clients. The insurance company would get a number of new customers, the dentist’s customers get a great deal and the dentist would get the high value work from his insured clients.

Mistake No 6 – Not Testing And Measuring
The thing about marketing is that it isn’t an exact science. When I design a new piece of marketing activity I believe it will be successful. Unfortunately this isn’t always the case. If I’ve spent £000s on it that’s a bit of a disaster. However if I’ve spent a couple of hundred pounds and it isn’t successful  but I now change it to something that works better, that is a sensible and astute way of working.
So the key points here are to test all your marketing on a small scale initially so you are not risking too much and to measure the results.  If you spend £x but have don’t measure your return, you don’t know if it was a good investment or not. But if you spend £x, measure the result and find you make £5x back, then you know you should repeat it.

Mistake No7 – Not Being Persistent

So you’ve been doing your marketing  but your prospects aren’t committing.

What do you do now?

If you’re like most business owners, you do nothing.
But the fact is if you follow up, you will get more business.

So how many times should you follow up? Some people say that it takes up to seven “touches” to get a prospect to commit, others say 10.
The answer is that you should follow up until you get a definitive answer – until your prospect either buys from you or clearly states that he’s not going to buy from you.

Persistence will pay off.

Good luck