Thousands of small and medium-sized firms are struggling at the moment and many are not helping themselves by marketing their businesses badly.
Marketing is more than just advertising or selling – it involves every aspect of engaging with customers.
Here are some of the more common mistakes being made, most of which are very easy to avoid.
1. You don’t sell what customers want
Every year, people invest their savings and energies into business enterprises that they think are a good idea. But they fail to do even the most basic research, and are surprised when customers don’t turn up in the numbers they expected.
Don’t assume that you’ve found a lucrative gap in the market because no one else is offering what you are selling. It’s more likely the gap is there because there’s no demand.
2. You price your products badly
Products and services have both a price and a value, and they’re not necessarily the same. Customers won’t buy if they consider the price to be much higher than the value, giving you the challenge of changing one or the other.
3. You don’t tell people about what you offer
It’s accepted wisdom that when customers are reluctant to spend, you have to work harder to win them, which means doing more marketing. But during tough times, many firms do just the opposite and cut back on marketing.
The extra benefit for those who keep marketing is that not only can they get more customers, they can also grab more market share because the competition becomes less visible.
4. Your website doesn’t work hard enough
Lots of businesses think that having a website that’s updated a couple of times a year is enough. They don’t pay much attention to SEO (search engine optimisation), or even to how people actually use their website.
Your website is a shop window that’s on display 24/7 and it can be a great tool for capturing leads, if it’s structured correctly.
5. You accept that business isn’t going to get better any time soon
This is perhaps the most dangerous mistake in marketing, because you’re writing off any chance of changing your own fortunes. Attitude plays a huge part in commercial success and while you can’t will yourself to win more sales, if you’re selling a product people want, having a positive approach can make all the difference.