Sunday, 12 May 2013

Common Mistakes in Small Business Marketing

Running in a small business in today's competitive marketplace is challenging, and marketing is a particularly big priority if you want to stay visible to potential customers.But it's not always easy and if done badly can sometimes actually have a negative effect, as this list below of common small business marketing mistakes shows.

Advertising and marketing are key to growing your business, particularly if you are a small or start-up enterprise. But small business marketing is not always straightforward: With the right advert or marketing campaign you can attract many new clients and increase your profits hugely, but if you employ the wrong strategy it can have disastrous effects.

If you want to use your marketing budget to the best effect, here are some of the most common marketing mistakes to avoid:

Confusing advertising:
So many businesses spend a lot on advertising but don't take the time to make sure they have the wording correct. How many adverts have you listened to or seen and then away none the wiser about what the company actually does? If you are a small business then you probably won't have a huge budget for this anyway, so you have to make it count. Make sure that your spoken or written advertisement begins with a short, pithy message (no more than 10 words) describing exactly what you do and for which target market.

Lack of frequency:
Not every potential customer will buy from you the first time they see your advert or read a promotional email. Building up a customer base takes time, so make sure your marketing efforts are regular and frequent (although don't constantly bombard people with emails, as this can put them off).

No motivation to buy:
Some companies are successful at directing traffic to their websites, but their website itself is not set out so as to encourage sales. Your site needs to be clear and easy to use, and the organisation - links, structure etc - needs to move visitors towards the action you want them to take, which is to buy your products. For example, your web page navigation bars should include a second link to your product catalogue so there is plenty of opportunity for sales.

Failure to track:
Many companies forget the all-important task of tracking their ad campaigns to find out which of their marketing techniques contributed most to sales. Omitting this is a major small business marketing mistake: if you have a small advertising budget then you need to be certain that your money is being spent effectively. Tracking, by finding out where customers heard of you or by analysing the sales of each campaign, will help you work out where to make outlays in the future.

No feedback:
Lastly, it's vital that you listen to feedback from your customers. If you don't, you will lose touch with their priorities and then it's a slippery slope to losing your client base altogether. Carrying out market research and inviting comments via your website are two of the most effective ways of avoiding this pitfall.

3 Free Twitter Tools

As business owners, we are only too well aware that to do social media effectively can eat up a fair bit of our time. But if you don’t have the budget to outsource your social media requirements to a competent freelancer or marketing company, then I can recommend these 3 free time-saving Twitter tools that could help your business gain an edge over the competition. is a relationship management tool endorsed by the likes of Social Media Examiner and The Next Web. It is currently used by high profile global companies such as Dell, Nike and Sony. The beauty of is that it allows you to build relationships, manage followers and monitor engagement from one simple dashboard. The platform provides suggestions as to who you might follow on Twitter and you can see at a glance who your top influencers are – and reward them accordingly.

The Next Web says: " turns the status-oriented world of Twitter into a relationship dashboard, enabling marketers to effectively analyse relationships and gain insights.”


InboxQ is a great little tool which enables you to engage with more Twitter users using the power of questions. InboxQ’s research identified that around 100,000 questions are asked every day on Twitter. In addition, 59% of Twitter users are likely to follow a business or organisation which takes the time to answer their questions online.

InboxQ allows you to set up a campaign using industry-related keywords, so that when somebody poses a question relating to your chosen keywords, you will be alerted in real time. Not only that, but you can use InboxQ as a networking tool.

Let’s say you run a PR consultancy. You can set up campaigns for each of your clients using their specific industry keywords. When you are notified of a question that one of clients might like to answer you can simply retweet them the information. Which means it’s great news for you and for your client too. Smart, eh? You can download InboxQ via your Chrome or Firefox browser.


Want to give the impression that you are always online, without overwhelming your Twitter followers? Then you need Buffer. Buffer allows you to create a pre-written stream of tweets into a queuing system which you can auto-schedule for delivery, so that they are fed to your Twitter community at regular intervals. Last September, announced a collaboration with Buffer, so you can now integrate both tools from one interface promoting added functionality (and creativity).

Many businesses shy away from social media because they believe they don’t have the time or financial resources to do it effectively. But to keep pace with your competitors, if your customers or clients use Twitter, then perhaps you should learn to love it too.