It’s stressful to run a small business. Everything is up to you, from the finances to the building safety to employee retention. And that’s all before you get to the actual fun part- your work. (Few people ever started a company for the love of paperwork).
Facing those odds, it’s easy to shove your marketing to the side. After all, it’s not immediately necessary for your safety or sanity. However, resisting that urge and being proactive could be what keeps your company afloat.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 20% of small businesses fail by the end of their first year. By five years in, that number is nearer 50%.
So what happens?
According to Entrepreneurship advisor Eric T. Wagner, there are five main reasons small businesses fail, and three of them are core marketing issues:
- Not being in touch with your customers
- Not differentiating yourself in the market
- Failure to clearly communicate your value prop
In marketing speak, these are branding, persona and messaging issues.
Reason 1 deals with personas: understanding who your ideal customers are. Do you really know what they want, and what they need? While you were creating your product or service, did you make sure it is what your customers want to buy? Focusing all of your work on your customers won’t make you feel like a world-beating genius, but it will help your company succeed.
Reason 2 is the core question of brand. What makes your company unique? Why should customers choose you instead of your competition? A brand isn’t just a logo or a slogan- it’s the definition of what your company is. Understanding your own strengths and weaknesses is crucial to being able to convince potential customers to switch to you.
Getting the message out
With so many businesses and so much content out in the world, your customers won’t know who you are unless you tell them, carefully and repeatedly.
That’s the key truth that small business owners often underestimate, and the root of issue #3.
The failure isn’t always, or even usually, a lack of effort. There are plenty of ways that getting your message out can fail, even with a lot of work on your part.
- Not hitting a critical mass. People are bombarded with endless messages every day, and not just from businesses either. Your messages are competing with texts from their loved ones, lines from TV shows, and even songs on the radio. And those are the messages they WANT to pay attention to. If you reach out to customers too infrequently, they won’t even remember you in the first place.
- Putting out too many different messages. If customers hear from you frequently but the message is inconsistent, that can also keep them from connecting with your message. Without one solid idea to hold on to, your company will fail to make an impression.
- Sharing your message in the wrong place. If your potential customers never see what you’re sharing, it will never help your business. Your company has to find where potential customers are and go to them.
- Not showing up where you should. Today, customers will likely look you up before they buy from you. Not having a solid brand message online could turn away a huge percentage of potential customers who otherwise would have bought from you. And that’s all before considering any new customers.
With so many marketing pitfalls, how can an entrepreneur possibly succeed?
Let us help you. We’ve created an interactive small business marketing eBook to help you walk through the critical steps in marketing.
- Choose between differentiators to craft a brand that is true to your company.
- Create your personas in our specialized template. Print them out and keep them close by as you work.
- Learn what you need on your website, and find tools to help you build it without hiring a developer.
- Understand what Local SEO is, and make sure customers can find you on Google, Yelp, and other aggregators.
- Let us guide you to the best social media platforms for you, based on your customers and your time.
Download the interactive eBook now!