Obtaining a small business loan to finance your company’s marketing campaign can be a smart choice for owners in essentially any industry. However, simply taking this newly acquired capital and throwing it at a couple of marketing techniques without properly creating a strategy can be a waste of money. As a small business owner, you might not have a background in marketing. This could mean you’re less aware of some of the challenges and problems facing marketers and more likely to end up falling victim to these very same hurdles.
Plus, due to the smaller size of your business, you cannot afford any room for a margin of error. This means any marketing campaign you decide to implement must be as efficient and profitable as possible. Without properly identifying common challenges and mistakes made in small business marketing campaigns, you’re likely to fall into the same pitfalls and end up blowing your marketing budget without a noticeable uptick in sales or profits.
Not measuring and proving ROI
Since you will need to allocate a significant sum of money for any marketing campaign, you must have the means to measure and prove the return on investment for this strategy. If you cannot track how much money your marketing activities are bringing into the company, then there might not even be a reason to undertake or sustain the campaign. Unfortunately, measuring and proving marketing ROI can be a difficult and tricky task.
In fact, according to Hubspot’s 2015 State of Inbound Report, the top challenge facing businesses of all sizes, from those with zero to 25 employees, those with 26 to 200 and companies with 201 or more staff members, was proving the ROI for their marketing campaigns. The source noted that one of best ways to providing ROI is by maintaining an open line of communication and data sharing between marketing and sales.
HubSpot reported 20 percent of survey respondents who tracked their marketing analytics three times a week or more were most likely to achieve greater ROI in 2015.
Not understanding your market
You can have an amazing product that’s revolutionizing your industry. With a product so good, you might think you can just make a few commercials, ad buys and open a social media account and the goods will sell themselves. However, these attempts might completely miss the mark for your market.
Your potential customers might have different habits and needs that aren’t addressed by commercials, simple Internet ads or tweets. This means before you draft your marketing strategy, it’s wise to gauge your current and potential customers to discern what kinds of marketing tactics motivate them to buy and what kind of marketing material they respond to. You might consider taking a survey of target individuals or researching the market.
Not paying attention to competitors
Other companies in your market can potentially provide a watershed of successful strategies that you can mimic for similar effective results. Forbes contributor John Rampton suggested finding three other companies just like yours that are doing well – no matter where they’re located – and study their marketing techniques on a regular basis. Create Google alerts for them and subscribe to their newsletters or email lists.
Now watch and track precisely what the company is doing. Are they using the same tactics each month? Those are probably successful and might be worth trying out. Was there something new they tried out but quickly abandoned? It might be best to avoid that particular method.
However, if you’re unable to locate any companies like yours, you can still take an example from other businesses if you think you can alter the strategy to your particular products or services.