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Today I want to talk to you about some ways small business owners almost always fail when it comes to their marketing because they don’t do three specific things.

First, they don’t have a systematic plan in place to get new business. Second, they don’t have a systematic plan in place to stay in contact with the clients and customers that they do get. And third, they treat marketing as an afterthought. They spend all their time and energy thinking about their product, or maybe their office furniture or other things, but they don’t think about their marketing as an integral part of their business.

Let’s look at these in a little bit more detail.

The first thing is not having a systematic process in place to get new business. Every big company out there has a marketing department. They have a marketing budget. They have a marketing plan in place designed to make sure that everyone in the company knows what they’re doing to make sure that they get new business and existing customers to do more with them. But when it comes to small business, because often you’re dealing with just one or two people who are often over saturated with too much work, marketing doesn’t really have a place in that systematic process of running their daily business because it’s not something that the small business got into business to do – they are not in the business of marketing. You must have a systematic plan in place that you can act on every month, every quarter, every year so you know that you’re regularly having a pipeline of people coming into your business.

The second mistake is sometimes small businesses, more often than not, get new customers but then they ignore them. They don’t follow up with them. They don’t consistently contact them and stay in touch with them, and over time they lose business. A perfect example is a list company (marketing company) who I’ve used before. I couldn’t remember their name. I had used them for one or two projects and I kept on messing it up. I could not find them. After about six months of me spending thousands of dollars with another list company, they finally sent me an email. How much better would it have been if they had contacted me consistently? Once a month, just checking in. Better yet, if they had a newsletter with some information that might have helped me on the marketing front. That’s the second mistake.

The third mistake is treating marketing as an afterthought. You can’t, when you’re running a business, think that you can just build a product, something special, and customers are just magically going to come. What you have to do is put a marketing plan in place and then you have to integrate it with everything you’re doing. If I’m going to have a hundred thousand dollars in revenue next year for example, then I need to, as a rule of thumb, have 5, 10, 15 or more percent of my revenue devoted to marketing to get new business and to stay in touch with existing customers.

Five percent will hopefully help me stay where I am. Ten percent will help me grow. Fifteen percent will help me grow aggressively. But that doesn’t mean just spend it willy-nilly. Have a marketing plan in place. Have a contact management plan in place. Have a bunch of other things in place designed to make sure that your marketing is going in the right spots and getting you the right results.