Small business owners have to wear many hats in order to run their enterprise, including that of marketer. However, because they aren’t necessarily trained in marketing, it’s easy for many people to be doing the wrong thing with their marketing efforts and wasting time and sometimes even money on fruitless endeavours. Are you making any of these marketing mistakes?

  1. Not giving away stuff for free.

It may seem counterintuitive but giving things away for free can actually help you grow your business. For instance, you are just starting out or launching a new product, giving away samples can be a great way for customers to try your product before they have to fork out any money. You don’t always have to give away a product: you can also share your knowledge by posting “how to” articles on your website. This will help establish your reputation as the ‘go-to’ person for your product/service. By giving a ‘snippet’ of your product or service away for free, people will be more inclined to think of you when they are ready to buy.

  1. Overpromising and underdelivering.

One mistake many business owners make is to promise ‘the world’ in order to make the sale then fail to deliver on their promises. This type of activity is more likely to lead to complaints, unhappy customers and a bad reputation. It is much better to set realistic expectations and potentially lose the sale than risk damage to your reputation which can be difficult to fix.

  1. Not turning happy customers into advocates.

When your customers are happy with your business, you want them to share it with the world so make this as easy as possible for them.  If you have social media accounts, ask your customers to share their experience. You can also get them to leave a Google review by following these easy tips.

  1. Failing to network.

As a business owner, it’s vital you build your network of contacts to not only refer potential business to you, but to also act as a sounding board and source of help. Your network should consist not only of your professional advisers such as accountant, lawyer, finance broker, etc. but also other businesses in your geographic area and even complementary businesses that may not be in your area. You never know when someone from your network will be in a position to refer your business so ensure your network is as broad as possible and you are contacting them regularly.

  1. Not asking for referrals.

Further to the previous two points, when you have satisfied customers, they will probably not think about referring your business unless you ask. Make it easier for them by describing your ideal customer then asking if they know someone similar who you can help. You can apply a similar approach to your professional network but remember you have to ‘give a little to get a little’ so make sure you reciprocate the favour.

  1. Overlooking customer service.

Taking care of your customers is the best way to ensure you receive not only regular repeat business but also new referrals. Consider every potential touch point your customer may have with your business and see how you can provide the best possible experience for them – from your website and how you answer the phone to how your business is presented and the way your staff interact with customers. Giving service that exceeds your customers’ expectations is the best way to differentiate your business and ensure it continues to thrive.

  1. Not monitoring competitors.

While you don’t want to emulate exactly what your competition is doing, it always pays to see what markets they are targeting, what promotions they are using and what new products they are developing, so that you can stay one step ahead. Thanks to the internet, it’s easier than ever to keep track of what your competitors are doing from the anonymity of your computer by using any one of a number of cheap or even free online tools.

Getting your marketing strategy right for your business is important so don’t risk all of your efforts by making one of these potentially costly mistakes.