Marketing Activities to Avoid: Pitfalls for Small Businesses

Marketing Activities to Avoid: Pitfalls for Small Businesses

Marketing is great!!! I have spent my career helping businesses to market their businesses effectively across a range of sectors but it is really starting to show that as the business work gets tougher, the focus on marketing is shifting. Businesses are chasing big-ticket marketing activity like Google Ads without concentrating on the smaller foundations or being consistent in their marketing approach. Whilst marketing is a vital component of any successful business strategy, not all marketing activities yield positive results, especially for small businesses with limited resources. It’s essential to identify and avoid certain pitfalls that can drain your budget and diminish your chances of success. I have tried to put pen to paper and set out the common marketing activities that small businesses should avoid and the reasons why: 1 – Chasing Shiny Objects: In the ever-evolving world of marketing, new trends and technologies emerge constantly. While it’s important to stay updated, chasing every shiny object can be detrimental. Jumping on the bandwagon without careful consideration can lead to wasted resources and a scattered marketing strategy. Instead, focus on evaluating the relevance and effectiveness of new marketing channels and tools before committing time and resources to them. One of the big areas at the minute is AI (I’m not just talking Chat GPT), connecting up all of your marketing activities to create lead funnels within your CRM and email campaigns leading off it. Every time I log on to the computer there is new software to drive your marketing. This is great, but it can take time to set up and whilst in the setup stage, you need to make sure you are doing the basics – Google Business Profile, consistent social media posts, blog writing etc. Before you start with any new Shiny Object – stop and ask yourself. ‘Why do I need it and do I really need this or is it a ‘nice to have?’ If the answer is Yes then make sure you make a plan of action – why do you need it, how are you going to use and what is the problem that this software is going to solve? If you really want to use AI to drive your marketing, have you considered using Upwork or Fiverr to outsource this work? Yes, there is a cost, but the time it will save will reap the rewards. 2 – Neglecting Target Audience Research: Understanding your target audience is crucial for effective marketing. Neglecting proper audience research can result in misaligned messaging and wasted efforts. I have lost count of the times a potential client has said they want to use a particular social media channel, not because their audience is there, but because that is where they ‘hang out’ on social media. Whilst it may work, without your audience, you are not creating a viable business. Also, important to note is to avoid assumptions about your audience’s needs, preferences, and behaviours. Take the time to conduct thorough research, gather insights, and create detailed buyer personas. This will allow you to tailor your marketing efforts to resonate with your target audience and achieve better results. 3 – Overlooking Clear Marketing Objectives: Without clear marketing objectives, your efforts may lack direction and fail to produce measurable results. How many people make a marketing plan in January and then don’t look at it until December? I will let you into a little secret, a huge percentage? The reason is they get clear at the start of the year and then as they get busy, they run at 100 miles an hour and lose focus. It’s essential to set specific, achievable, and time-bound goals that align with your overall business objectives. Whether it’s increasing brand awareness, generating leads, or driving sales, clearly define your marketing objectives to guide your strategies and measure success. 4 – Neglecting Consistent Branding: Your branding is more than your logo. It is more than your brand colours. Consistent branding is crucial for building brand recognition and trust. Inconsistent messaging, visuals, and tone of voice across different marketing channels can confuse your audience and dilute your brand’s impact. Take a few minutes today to review your marketing activity and see just how consistent you are with your branding. Avoid haphazard branding efforts and invest in creating brand guidelines that ensure consistency across all touchpoints. Consistent branding reinforces your identity and helps establish a strong and memorable brand presence. 5 – Ignoring the Power of Content Marketing: Content marketing is a highly effective strategy for small businesses, yet many overlook its potential. I will hold my hand up to this one – guilty as charged! But I have a plan in place, this blog is just the first in a number I have started writing to help share advice and ideas for businesses looking to get ahead in marketing. Content is KING as they say and every business has a story to tell. Make sure you are telling your story in an authentic manner through blogs, social media, email marketing, adverts and so much more. We love to consume information – we just don’t like feeling we are being sold to. One of the big pitfalls I see businesses falling into is using every piece of content to sell products and services. There is real merit in being helpful. Those that know me well will know that I am a big advocate of the book ‘They Ask You Answer by Marcus Sheridan. If you seriously want to raise your content marketing game, read this book first. Neglecting content marketing means missing out on opportunities to educate, engage, and build relationships with your audience. By creating valuable and relevant content, you can establish your expertise, drive organic traffic, and foster customer loyalty. 6 – Neglecting the Power of Analytics: Marketing without data-driven insights is like navigating in the dark. If you don’t know your numbers, how do you know what is working? Neglecting analytics and failing to track and analyse key metrics can lead to ineffective marketing efforts. Utilise analytics tools to monitor the performance of your campaigns, website traffic, social media engagement, and conversion rates. This data will provide valuable insights to refine your strategies, optimize campaigns, and make informed decisions. Make sure you upgrade to GA4 from Google by July if you have not already done so as the old code is being closed down and you will lose all data. I’ll be really honest, I’m not a fan of GA4 as it is very clunky for marketers but I do use it with clients as a way to show them how their campaigns are performing. If you are not sure what metrics you should be monitoring then just shout up as often it is very different for different businesses. 7 – Overreliance on a Single Marketing Channel: Relying solely on one marketing channel is risky. While it may seem convenient, it leaves your business vulnerable to changes in consumer behaviour or algorithm updates. Us Marketers will often talk about pillars of marketing. You need a number of pillars to drive your marketing forward and each of them may have the same job or designed to market to customers at different levels. Recently I was speaking to businesses that had built up a community of followers on Instagram. They had over 20,000 followers and were providing real value on this platform but they were not offering anything else. What would happen if Instagram shut down tomorrow or their account got shut down? How would that business start up again? In all honestly, it would take a long time. These were real questions I posed and it got the business owner really thinking about how they had built the business on someone else’s foundations. They were not encouraging their followers to sign up for newsletters so that they had their data to market to them in any other way. Diversify your marketing efforts by exploring multiple channels that align with your target audience. A mix of channels such as social media, email marketing, content marketing, and SEO can provide a more balanced and effective marketing strategy. Avoiding these common marketing pitfalls can save your small business valuable resources and increase the chances of marketing success. You can optimise your marketing efforts and achieve better results by staying focused on your target audience, setting clear objectives, maintaining consistent branding, embracing content marketing, leveraging data analytics, and diversifying your channels. Remember, a well-planned and strategic approach is key to maximizing the impact of your marketing activities and driving the growth of your small business. Happy marketing…

2021 A Review in Review – Marketing Audit Template for a Successful 2022

2021 A Review in Review – Marketing Audit Template for a Successful 2022

As we head into the Christmas break, the talk of 2022 and planning a strategy for the New Year is hot on the lips of everyone. Certainly, after the year we have all faced it is totally understandable that plans need to turn to next year. However, it is really important that we take a few minutes to review this year to ask ourselves:

What marketing did we enjoy doing in 2021?
What marketing worked this year?
How do you feel your marketing activity has performed?

It is only when we have taken stock to review what has gone before, that we can truly look to the future. We need to learn from the success and those instances when marketing didn’t work quite as we would have hoped.

With this in mind, we have put together a quick, easy to use 2021 Audit template packed full of questions to help you take a few moments to review the year and be sure that you are spending time, effort and money in the right places.

Download your copy today:

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Social Media Image Sizing Guide

Social Media Image Sizing Guide

Every social media platform has different image dimensions, whether this is a profile picture, cover photo, or an image you are wanting to upload. Therefore it is always important to make sure your images fit to scale, this is especially important for businesses as you want to have a professional look to your social media platforms.

When scrolling on Facebook, we have recently found a lot of business’s logos do not fit to scale of their profile picture, and this doesn’t give a good impression, as half of it is missing.

We have put together a FREE guide for you to download your copy of all the dimensions of various images on different social platforms. This simple to use guide will help you with the correct sizing for your social platforms, from Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest and Youtube.

Download your FREE social media image sizing guide here.