When it comes to starting a small business, you can expect to encounter a steep learning curve that will test your ability to manage areas outside of your natural strengths. While you might excel at certain areas of your business, such as product management, design, or customer service, other areas like promotion, website management, or human resources may not come as naturally.
One area many small business owners struggle with initially is how to market their brand online. To help keep you from making the simple kind of blunders that can set your brand back, here are a few common marketing mistakes that many rookies make:
If You Blog It, They Will Come
Content marketing ranks as a vital part of any small business’ success. However, just because you start a blog doesn’t mean your content marketing strategy is complete. Hoping that potential customers will happily stumble across your blog and immediately start engaging with your brand is a fantasy. No product promotes itself by simply existing. You have to invest the time and resources to develop your brand. No matter how compelling or great your content, you still need to be active on social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc. to get your content in front of your target audience.
Ignoring Older Content
Unless you only create evergreen content for your website, it’s just a matter of time before old content becomes dated. If you’re attempting to establish yourself as a thought leader in your particular industry, you need to make the commitment to ensuring that every page of your website contains accurate and up-to-date content. Trends, data, and opinions change over time. Links get broken. Your once hot take on a relevant industry topic can quickly become cold. However, instead of taking the time to create completely original new content, you can simply update what you’ve written before to reflect current trends.
Compelled to Make New Content
Successful content marketing strategies often require serving the needs of a harsh master. On one hand, you need to continue producing original, compelling content in order to meet the needs of your target audience while building credibility. On the other, it takes time and energy to create this type of content, and many small business owners simply can’t meet this requirement two to three times a week. Fortunately, while you do need to consistently post content, you don’t have to work from scratch every time.
Take your most popular blog post and reuse the content by creating a video, infographic, host a webinar, or podcast that further explores the topic. If you occasionally recycle your content, you’ll eventually develop a catalogue of content in different types of media. Offering different types of content will also help you attract a bigger audience as you’ll have something to offer everyone. It will also make coming up with what to post on social media easier once you have a variety of options in which to choose from.
Ignoring the Need to Create an Email List
While you might not have any interest in distributing a newsletter now, that’s doesn’t mean the idea won’t appeal to you in a few months or even a year from now. Start collecting emails from visitors to your website even if you don’t currently have a use for them. An email list still ranks as an incredibly valuable and useful tool that offers a high ROI when successfully utilized.
Users that are willing to share their email address with your business are signaling a potential interest in your products or services. Don’t reject their interest, because once you have a newsletter, product launch announcement, or sale you want to promote, you’ll be glad you have a way to reaching these people.
You Feel Compelled to Use Every Social Media Platform
Nearly every small business owner understands the incredibly marketing power offered by social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. But just because social media marketing is important doesn’t mean that you need a presence on every platform. If you have limited time and resources, it’s more important to focus your social media efforts on where you’re most likely to reach the right audience.
Instead of spreading yourself across multiple platforms, build meaningful connections and an impressive following on just a few networks so you can consistently provide quality and value to your followers. Think about what social media sites offer the best platform for the type of content you produce. If you create highly visual content, Instagram or Pinterest may be right for you, while Facebook or Twitter may offer the right platform if you produce blogs and videos.
Social Media is Free to Use
While your business can set up a social media account for free, maximizing the most from your marketing efforts does require spending money. Boosted posts on Facebook and promoted content on Twitter can help you build an audience more quickly than relying simply on organic traffic. To help keep your costs down, never promote your content to just any audience. Use highly-targeted strategies to ensure that your content is seen by the right audience that’s most likely to engage with your brand.
Post and Forget About It
If you’ve spent the time and energy to create a great piece of original content, there’s no reason you should only post it once. You have to post content more than once to ensure that it reaches the widest possible audience. Most people follow or friend hundreds of people. If they’re not online when you post your content, there’s a good chance it’s just going to get lost in their feed. Try experimenting with different types of copy, images, and headings to determine which social updates lead to the greatest level of exposure.