Friday, July 10, 2009

Is your small business losing thousands of dollars a month due to marketing failures?

By Brent Brien

Even the top marketing experts make many fatal mistakes in their marketing campaigns. However, when they are working for the huge corporations and Fortune 500 Companies, a massive marketing mistake can be fixed. But for the small business on a small budget, a marketing mistake of similar size may cause the failure of your business and spirits. So find out what you can do to prevent these disastrous errors.

Small business consultants often excel at marketing for small businesses because that is there specialty. Even if you have the capital, spending more does not always lead to better results because small business consultants know what kinds of errors the business can handle and what kinds will end up taking the business down.

What can you as a small business executive do?

• Surprisingly, the most prominent error we have seen with regard to marketing, is that the small business simply doesn't have a marketing campaign. The executives take the, "If you build it, they will come" approach which fails miserably, except in some very unique instances that do not apply to 99.9% of business executives. You have to develop a marketing campaign, and you have to implement it, whether it's developed by you or a consultant.

• Many businesses fail to combine online and offline marketing into their efforts. They pick one and neglect the other. In today's highly competitive marketplace, that simply won't work. You need to take advantage of every opportunity you have to sign clients and pick up customers. Neglecting half of the potential marketplace is simply not smart business. So make sure your marketing campaign encompasses both of these arenas.

• Another fatal error is the failure to track marketing efforts. Some ideas, no matter how well planned out, and how forcefully implemented, simply don't work. Either because it's not the right method for your industry, or the timing isn't right. You need to know which ones are working and which aren't so you can pursue the successful ones with more effort, and slow down or stop the unsuccessful ones. That's not to say that you should stop an ineffective campaign. Some just require small changes which can result in a drastic inflow of traffic. Or maybe, the first month it wasn't implemented forcefully enough, but in months after it picked up steam. Don't completely give up on ideas, but don't follow them into the ground. At some point, you need to know when to stop.

• Finally, you must follow up with your prospective clients or customers. If you get information about a prospective client, the worst thing you can do is send one email and forget about them. They have already requested information from you, so you know they are interested in your services or products. With the amount of time and money put in to attract new clients, you simply cannot afford to give up on someone who has already made an effort to contact you. Make sure you follow up enough times to let them know you care about their business. But remember, don't push too far; if they say they aren't interested, ask why, maybe try once more, and then leave it at that. They may be interested at a later time, and you don't want them to be so angry with you that they don't give you a chance.

If you plan on hiring a small business consultant to do your marketing, make sure they know that you want increased business. Ask them questions, and make sure they are doing everything they can to help you and that they are not committing any of the fatal flaws.

Brent Brien is the CEO of Brien Private Finance. Brien Private Finance is a small business consulting and personal finance consulting company based in Pennsylvania with services both online and offline. They specialize in working with small businesses as they are starting out and through the initial months.

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