As a small business owner, every step of the marketing cycle is a learning process. You may spend hundreds of dollars on Adwords only to realize that your targeting was off the mark. Or, you may be sending your promotional mailers to a mailing list that is not even active any more. In each of these instances, the mistake you commit is not anything major. However, the cost implications are huge, and if you are careful, the losses may well be in the thousands.
Unfortunately, most of these marketing mistakes may be realized only through trial and error. But there are some mistakes that everybody makes and luckily can be fixed in no time. Here are five such mistakes and how to fix them.
Wrong targeting on Adwords
The most common mistake among small business advertisers is targeting the wrong audience on Adwords. . If you cater to customers in North London, then every time your ad shows up even to people in the southern suburbs of the city, it is a mistake that can cost you hundreds of dollars. Adwords works on a technique that incentivizes advertisers for every targeted click and penalizes them for clicks that do not convert. So even if people from South London do not click your ad, the wasted impression lowers your click through rate, and hence causes your CPC to bloat up.
Fixing this is easy – simply log into your Adwords account, click on your campaign. On the top of the page, you have an option to edit ‘Targeting’. If possible, enter every region of your city independently. This ensures there is no way you targeted a suburb or region by mistake.
Sending prospects to homepage
A recent article on the Entrepreneur Australia magazine invited business owners to share their experiences with diversified businesses. One business owner – Jay Barnett, the owner and operator of Perth-based Priority Floor Care pointed out that business owners who use flyers and social media to promote their products often showcase only their homepage. This is absolutely fine if you are a one-service business. But if you have multiple products or services to show, then it is critical you take them to a focused page – conversions are always higher when you take your audience to a focused landing page instead of a generic homepage.
Fixing this is simple – use a landing page creator like Unbounce or Instapage to set up a landing page in literally minutes and point to these in all your promos.
Outsourcing your marketing
Well, not all outsourcing is bad. For instance, if you own a car rental service and have no clue how to get to the first page of Google, it does make sense to hire a professional who can help you with this. However, what needs to be remembered is that outsourcing your marketing does not mean you “set-and-forget”. That is because when you have a third party representing you, you have to always be on your toes and be in the know of the strategies they use. For instance, if your marketing agency recommends an email blast, try to understand where the emails are sourced from, what percentage of people are going to click through, etc. An outdated email list purchased from a stranger on the internet will never be profitable.
So how do you fix this? Well, the answer to this is right there in the problem – educate yourself on what marketing activities your agency is doing, and if possible, participate in forums to stay assured of their legitimacy.
Aakash Patel represents a not-for-profit organization working with corporations and governments to enable MOOC for underprivileged children. He is also an educator and a part-time consultant with SME organizations.