Before social media, email and SEO, businesses relied heavily on word-of-mouth to attract new customers. In today’s internet-savvy landscape, it’s not as easy to capture and hold attention while competing with others in your industry.
Business owners who built their livelihoods on referrals typically don’t understand how or why they need to market their business. Other businesses squeak by without adopting updated marketing tactics.
Spoiler alert! Without a solid marketing strategy, businesses won’t thrive. Only half of small businesses are estimated to survive 5 years or more, according to Embroker. 65% of business owners said financial issues like cash flow visibility or access to capital as a reason for failure. This blog explores the areas where DIY marketing typically falls short and when to bridge the gaps with a professional.
When DIY marketing typically fails
It’s a common misconception that marketing is solely about promoting your business. Marketing is about building trust with your audience. How?
Communication: Marketing should educate and pre-qualify leads to become better customers. This includes telling your brand’s story on social media, explaining how your product is made in videos, or detailing the process involved with your services on your website. When the veil of uncertainty is drawn back, marketing builds trust with your audience and eventually inspires them to buy. Many small business owners fail to take the time to document the basic functions of their business operations. Companies spend 46% of their budget on content creation, according to HubSpot.
Customer Service: Marketing also is about solving problems for your customers. Today’s audience flocks to Twitter and Facebook to seek out support from businesses. Many DIYers are so bogged down in running their business, they don’t take the time to interact with their audience on social media platforms. Blogging also takes a back seat to DIY marketers who are more focused on outbound marketing, such as Facebook advertising. However, customer service questions make great blog posts.
Plan for the future: Eye-catching Instagram posts alone won’t help you attain your goals for your business if you don’t know how to research the market. Effective marketing takes the time to fully understand your customer and deliver your product or service to them in a package that screams, “Hey! I can solve your problem better than the competition!” One of the biggest mistakes business owners make when trying to DIY their marketing is that they fail to conduct research, or they don’t know how. Marketing research, testing and tracking is important because it examines who your customer is and why they will purchase your product over your competitor’s. Professional marketers know how to conduct research and get answers that will drive your business’s marketing plan.
Consistency: It’s easy to get caught up in the latest digital trends or how your logo will look on your website. But real marketing is hard work. For DIY marketers, effective marketing involves a significant investment in time to strategize, to plan and to generate regular content for a variety of digital platforms — social media, e-mail, blogs, guest articles and more.
When to enlist the help of professional marketing
Does this sound familiar?
Your product or service is superior compared to the competition. You go the extra mile with making your customer happy. You have home-made ingredients. You have stellar communication skills.
So, why aren’t you attracting a bevy of customers like your competition?
Your marketing strategy should revolve around attracting leads, converting them into customers and turning them into promoters. A professional strategy aims to generate leads and to retain existing customers. This isn’t possible if your marketing drones on about how great your brand is without substantive messaging that centers on the customer experience.
When marketing is effective, it helps your business explode. Your offer should reach more people who will benefit from your business. Word-of-mouth will then come into play on a larger scale. Marketing professionals take the time to answer tough questions such as:
- Who will want to purchase my product and why?
- How will the product be presented to my customers?
- Why do some people choose my competitor?
- How easy is it for customers to find my product?
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How businesses fail without marketing
Businesses old and new must have detailed, extensive marketing plans in order to thrive and stay relevant in the digital world. It isn’t enough to advertise and come up with tactics on a whim. At Bragg Media, we call this spaghetti marketing — throwing ideas and hope they stick. Nothing should be random when it comes to marketing your business, or you will lose authority, customers and revenue.
Without researching your audience, the competition and the current marketplace, you risk throwing your money away on marketing, inventory and other important business operations that don’t work. Professional marketing agencies take the time to identify your customer — from demographics to psychographics. In short, marketing research should direct your strategy and allow you to create marketing and sales that convert.
Professional marketers adjust their marketing plans with current trends and the needs of your customers. Failure to recalibrate your marketing plan can lead to poor business performance. Be sure to monitor your marketing efforts so you can maximize what’s working and cut spending on campaigns that aren’t converting.
Without correct marketing practices in place, your business owners will miss the opportunity to build a base of customers who need what you’re selling. Many business owners miss out on sales because they don’t understand marketing, or they refuse to align sales with marketing.
The bottom line …
Businesses who continue to ignore the latest marketing trends will be pushed out by competitors who embrace new marketing strategies.
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