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  • Hira Villarreal

5 Ways Small Businesses Waste Money on Their Marketing Efforts



The old saying “you have to spend money to make money” is one that applies to multiple facets of marketing. In many cases, the company who can afford to spend the most to acquire a customer while remaining profitable will win.

Unfortunately, too many small businesses end up focusing on the wrong aspects and waste their marketing budgets on things that yield little to no return.

This article will help you avoid doing the same by outlining 5 common ways small businesses waste money on marketing.


1. Expensive Graphic Design

Don’t get me wrong here, graphic design is an art and a highly-skilled profession that can certainly be of use to businesses. However, spending a fortune on the perfect logo or website theme is not necessary for the majority of small businesses.

Nowadays, there are so many cheap and even free services you can use to get your branding looking great. When your business is still small, your focus needs to be on getting your products out in front of customers. By using DIY design services like Canva for your images and logocreator.io for logos, you can free up more funds for more active marketing channels.

Once you are profitable, you can focus on optimizing things like logos if you feel it will have a positive effect on revenue.


2. Building Social Media Followings and Fans

You’ve probably heard how important it is to build and connect with your audience in this modern age of social media.

Of course, it can go a long way to building trust, authority, and getting your business out there. But, it doesn’t make sense for a large number of businesses and ends up taking up way too much time and money for few rewards.

Before you go out and try to build an audience on every social media platform under the sun, you should have a specific plan for how that social media platform’s audience can drive sales for your company.

Way too many businesses put huge efforts into building followings before realizing they have no plan for monetizing it.

They also tend to try and get themselves on too many platforms.

You would be better served by identifying a single platform that serves a true purpose for your business and focusing on becoming great at marketing on that one platform.


3. Email Newsletters

Email marketing is fantastic! Email newsletters, in most cases, are not.

I couldn’t even begin to count the number of websites I visit and am prompted via a flashy pop-up to “subscribe to our newsletter”. Years ago this worked but, it has been over-done, and website visitors know that “subscribe to our newsletter” really just means “subscribe to our weekly sales pitch”.

Even companies with real newsletters find their open rates to be low because people generally don’t care about your news.

Instead of spending time and money crafting a series of newsletters, your email marketing is likely to be more successful if you provide something of higher value to your visitors. Free e-book guides, video series, and other gifts that are targeted towards your audience’s problems are more effective.

By adding immediate value to your potential customer, they’ll be more likely to hand over their email address and more likely to open your messages in anticipation of even more useful content.

Useful content is exactly what your subsequent emails should include, not endless sales pitches. Providing real value to your audience time after time increases trust and makes asking for the sale more natural when the time comes.


4. No tracking Enough Data

If it isn’t tracked, it can’t be measured. If your business is not able to accurately measure what marketing efforts are leading to sales, you’ll never be able to optimize successful actions and halt the things that are a waste.

Your business needs to be able to track as many metrics as possible back to sales.

For example, using pixels or cookies to map your customer’s journey from a Facebook advert, to a piece of blog content, on to your email list, then to your sales page via a specific link in an email, and to a sale.

Processes like this make it very clear to see exactly what areas of your digital marketing are proving profitable. Without tracking, you can never be sure so are likely to end up wasting money on things you “think” are working but, in reality, are not.

To get you started, your first port of call should be setting up Google Analytics. This is crucial for websites will allow you to see where your traffic is coming from and how they’re behaving on your site.


5. Not Knowing your Target Customers

This point is the most important of them all. Unless you know exactly who your ideal customers are, you will end up wasting a whole lot of cash trying to find them.

Before putting any marketing plans into action, your business needs to hone in on your target audience in superb detail. A good exercise commonly used by businesses is to create customer profiles where you come up with an imaginary “perfect customer” and answer detailed questions about them. You can have more than one customer profile but each one will require different marketing tactics, which is the whole idea of the exercise.

For example, a fitness business may come up with a profile for a customer named Jane. They decide Jane is a 30-year old new mom and would like to lose some weight gained during pregnancy.

The next part of the process is to build out her profile by asking related questions:

Where does Jane spend her time online? As a new mom, she is likely a member of mommy forums, reads mommy blogs, and could also be active in baby-related Facebook groups.

With just one question, the business has now found 3 viable marketing channels to look into. As you can see. This exercise is crucial for designing a targeted and specific approach to your advertising.

A targeted approach leads to less competition, which means cheaper marketing campaigns.


Author: Hira Villarreal

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