Without the benefit of a major marketing budget, small businesses can boost sales and encourage customer loyalty with a few neat (and low-cost) tricks.
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If you are running a small business, you probably don’t have a huge marketing budget (not yet, anyway). The good news is that vast financial resources and a dedicated department are not critical to successfully marketing your brand.
What is important is that you make the right marketing decisions, refrain from squandering money and resources on strategies that are wrong for your company, and avoid the five marketing mistakes listed below.
The latter is especially important. Certain mistakes can sink a small business, so don’t let any of these happen to you if you want to prosper.
Mistake No.1: Treat SEO like an afterthought
As your business grows, you’re going to become busier. Last year a high number of small business owners used that as an excuse to let their search engine optimisation (SEO) efforts fall by the wayside. Make that mistake and these are the consequences you can expect:
● Reduced search engine visibility, making it hard for new customers or clients to find you
● Gradual loss of social media followers, further eroding your online presence
If you have a business website (and you should), correct SEO should always be on your radar. Don’t do the competition a favour: if you’re too busy to personally oversee the optimisation of your site and social media accounts, delegate that task to a knowledgeable employee or invest in an SEO marketing agency.
Mistake No.2: Having a website that is not mobile-friendly
A lot of small business owners did not convert their sites last year. The reasons they provided included limited budget and lack of time. Responsive designs, however, are no longer optional if you want to stay in Google’s good graces. On April 21 of last year, the search engine confirmed that any site that does not display well on mobile devices will be penalised.
If your site isn't mobile-optimised, it'll miss a chunk of users
Mobile Internet traffic now exceeds its desktop PC equivalent, which is hardly surprising given the fact that everyone uses their smartphone or tablet to surf the web on the go. Mobile users have also indicated that they won’t return to sites that are not optimised for their devices, so if you have been stubbornly clinging to your all-Flash website, it’s time to convert it to HTML5.
Mistake No.3: No active communications with customers
Social media has gradually changed the way that consumers and businesses interact with each other, but not all small business owners grasp this concept, They use their company Facebook and Twitter accounts to broadcast upcoming sales or announce new products, but there’s no real dialogue involved. This is a big mistake.
To make your company social media accounts really work for you, make every post or tweet an opportunity to interact with your customers. Ask for new product ideas, solicit opinions on packaging designs, and encourage feedback on recently released products or services. Consumers love a business that listens to what they have to say.
Mistake No.4: Forgetting to say thank you
One important step that many small businesses forget is the one that calls for them to thank and show appreciation to their customers. Remember: without your customers, your business or brand can’t exist. Therefore, it is important to keep them happy and loyal, so that they continue to support you.
The internet has provided the average consumer with more choice than ever before, so if you can’t make your customers feel valued, someone else definitely will.
It's always good to say thank you
The easiest and most affordable way to show appreciation is to say thank you. To go the extra mile, give away some free product samples, set up a loyalty rewards programme, or let your customers try new services for free before buying. None of these efforts will cost a lot, but the value of the loyalty they will inspire is immense.
Mistake No.5: Not asking for reviews
Online reviews have the proven ability to boost ROI for your product or service. A collaborative study between Trustpilot, an online review platform, and insight firm Econsultancy indicated that 62% of online consumers are more likely to buy from a company that has positive reviews available to read.
54% of small businesses, however, worry that negative reviews will reflect poorly on it and shy away from actively soliciting feedback.
Their reticence appears to be unfounded: 90% of customers who do have a negative experience will return if the problem is resolved quickly and efficiently, and 15% say that they are more likely to do business with a company if they see that the situation that inspired a negative review was properly resolved.
These five mistakes can gradually damage your company or brand and undo all the hard work you did to turn your dream or idea into reality. Remember that marketing is not a static process: it requires constant attention and evaluation. The results, however, are worth the effort.