When the going gets tough, the tough get going. So, let’s get going, fellow entrepreneurs. Your job is to solve problems. Here are a few ideas to help you solve some marketing problems.
Without understanding good marketing...you’ll never get found.
Like most everything, the ways of business have changed. Customers have many choices, while “who you know” and “your reputation precedes you” have their place. Customers want to buy in a personally appealing way that is right for them, which may differ from what you have done in the past.
Here are ten things small-town business owners should NOT do.
1. Hang signs stating the rules for doing business with your company. Being approachable and giving people a reason to buy from you is crucial. Professionally explain the rules once there is a transaction.
2. Smoke in front of your business. First impressions matter. If you sell cars, keep them clean. If you own a restaurant, have spotless restrooms. If you are a roofer, have a perfect roof. You get the picture. First impressions are lasting, plus your competitor can’t undermine well-done work.
3. Make personal announcements on your Facebook business page. If your post is about yourself, then it is a BIG stretch for the customer to see the benefit to them. We have strayed far-far-away from the customer is always right.
4. Claim you offer high-quality, yet use outdated marketing materials. Expect your customers to invest in your business if YOU do. You only get one chance to make a first impression.
5. Repeatedly saying, “locally owned and operated.” Nowadays, small-town companies have other similar local businesses, online shopping, large franchisees, and chain stores for competition. People want to invest in their local communities, but your first job is to tell how you can help the customer better.
6. Assume you can be a jack of all trades. I know I could drill my teeth, but I’ll still leave that to a dentist. There are only so many hours in a day; spend yours focused on what you know best.
7. Trash-talk your competitor. Personal insinuations and accusations waste your customer’s time and yours. Your time with your customers is limited. Tell them how you will help solve their problems.
8. Rely solely on Facebook. It takes more than a single Facebook page. You have to advertise and promote your business outside your current reach. Without advertising, a terrible thing happens. Nothing.
9. Claim your reliability, yet regularly fail to update your website and social media. You could buy a ticket for a cruise and fail to show up for the boat; it’ll be cheaper, and you’ll save time. If you can’t tend the garden, it’s better not to have one!
10. Don’t have a marketing plan; just wing it! Having a marketing plan means you’ve identified your target audience and have a compelling message that resonates specifically with them. You know how and when to reach them. This makes your marketing dollars effective. Guessing is a lousy way to run any business.
You can throw spaghetti against the wall and haphazardly buy a gazillion ads, network until you’re blue in the face, then spend any remaining time posting on social media. But none of this translates into making money. Without understanding good marketing and how the consumer perceives your brand, you’ll never get found; if you do, you might not get chosen.
Denelle Smugala –
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Denelle Smugala is proprietor of Image Maker Marketing in Farmington.
She draws upon her marketing experience spanning from national to local markets applying street-smart marketing to help business owners successfully position and promote their goods and services.
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