Are These 5 Easily Overlooked Mistakes Slowly Killing Your Business?
How to overcome and win your local market
I’ve seen hundreds of local businesses make the same easily avoidable marketing mistakes that hold them back from growing as quickly and sustainably as they could. It’s easy to think the slack will be made up elsewhere, but the fact is, with enough time, any one of these mistakes could run you right out of business.
On the other hand, I’ve also seen the quick and steady increase in traffic, leads, and sales that fixing these 5 mistakes can bring to a local business. Businesses who just last month had almost no foot traffic, are now happily scrambling to handle the overflow of sales because they took action and remedied even one of these critical mistakes.
Like Shawn Stevenson said, “Knowledge is not power. Knowledge applied is power.” So, in this article, we’ll go over the 5 biggest marketing mistakes local businesses make online; how you can apply this knowledge and take action today; and how to use a generosity to grow a healthy, flourishing business. Let’s jump right in.
No online presence
For a local business, not having a website or at least one social media channel setup online is a setup for failure in the long run. Not being online today is like not being in the Yellow Pages years ago. By putting some time and/or money into your listings, your business puts it’s best foot forward. Just like the Yellow Pages, if you put no time or effort into it, you’ll still be listed, but you’ll lumped in with the crowd.
Whether you’ve put it there yourself or not, your business is already going to be listed online. Search engine and social media bots crawl the web 24/7, creating listings for local businesses like yours automatically. Better to manage your online presence yourself and put your best foot forward with a website and social media than to leave it up to the bots.
Take action: Take 10 minutes to sign your business up for at least one social media site like Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram right now.
No traffic & promotion strategy
So, you’ve taken it a step further and you do have a website, but how do you plan on promoting the site and getting traffic? Most local businesses I’ve worked with simply put up a website and hope people will find it. They work endlessly tweaking the copy, design, and graphics of the website with nothing to show for it.
That’s a little bit like taking your business cards and throwing them blindly to the wind hoping a potential customer will stumble across one. I call this “Hope Marketing” and, as you might’ve guessed, it does not work.
Take action: Take a few minutes to lay out your promotion options and decide which one to experiment with first. Blogging, events, cold emails, cold calling, SEO, what’s the best option for your promotion strategy? Decide today, get your lab goggles on, and get busy experimenting.
What’s in it for me?
Another common mistake is having a website that is entirely about you and your business, with little thought for the wants and needs of your ideal clients. “What’s in it for me?”, or WIIFM for short, is a fundamental question to keep in mind when you’re working on your business.
Your marketing is not intended to tell your clients everything about you and how you do what you do. They simply don’t care. What your clients want to know is what’s in it for them? So, make sure every piece of marketing material you ever create answers this question first, unequivocally, at a glance.
Take action: Briefly look over the copy on your website and/or marketing material and ask yourself, “Is this mostly about what’s in it for them? Or, is it mostly about my business?” Revise accordingly.
Just can’t let go of the old website..
This is something that’s especially common with small business owners. They get their website up during the early part of business journey when hopes and emotions are high. Then, years go by with no major changes or updates to the website.
In the cases I’ve seen personally, the website becomes a part of the identity of the business owner. It becomes a part of their story and they worry if they replace it, a part of their story will be lost.
Take action: Visit the Way Back Machine. This is an internet archive that keeps track of every site on the web. See, your website will never be lost, we’re saving it just for you. Now, let it go.
Who’s your target market?
Focus is a powerful force. Put the suns rays on a leaf on the ground and nothing happens. But, focus those same sun rays into a fine point and boom, leaf on fire! Taking the time to decide on who you will focus on serving best will pay you back in spades.
Take it a step further and focus your action and attention on a specific group of people and you’ll be swimming in spades like Scrooge McDuck swimming in gold. On the other hand, if you don’t know who you’re marketing to, you’re marketing to everyone and trust me, you don’t have the budget.
Take action: Again, make this an experiment. Take a few minutes to lay out your options for a target market or target demographic. Make a decision, get your lab coat on, secure your goggles, and get busy experimenting!
Are you out of service?
For most of us, winning and improving in business is all about going after what we want directly. We want record sales this year. Ok, how do we increase them? Want more leads from the website? Great, how can we optimize it?
The issue with this approach is that it’s catastrophically wrong. If you as an individual or a business are not earning the kind of income you want, look first at your service. When a machine breaks, they put a sign on it that says, “Out of service”. Nothing’s going out, nothing’s going in. We are just the same. Business is a two way flow channel of value. If we want to get more, we must give more.
How to win the market
If you want to dominate your local market, generate more business than you know what to do with, and create a healthy business, there is only one thing you need to do. In any given moment during your day, remember to stop and ask yourself, “How can I help more? How can I genuinely astonish the people to whom I give my service today?”
Ask this question for enough days in a row and you may just find yourself gleefully coming up for air in your Scrooge McDuck style pool of gold. Try not to get money everywhere when you go in the house.
Here’s to taking action to not only satisfy, but to astonish those we’re called to serve and keeping that flow channel of value moving vigorously in both directions as we dominate the local market on our way to a flourishing, sustainable business.