As long as I have been in marketing, I’ve heard my share of excuses for why small businesses don’t invest in marketing. These marketing myths when constantly repeated, become reality.
Marketing Myths = Excuses
Small businesses have many opportunities to attract their ideal client if they put these marketing myths aside and create a practical marketing plan that will work for their business.
Myth 1: My target market is older, therefore social media won’t work
Fact: According to a late 2012 survey by the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project, 52% of online boomers and 32% of online seniors are using social networking sites, the most popular being Facebook at 57% and 35% respectively. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to connect and build relationships with those who just may be waiting to find your business through social media.
Myth 2: A mobile website isn’t necessary for small businesses
Fact: If your website doesn’t support a mobile visitor, you will lose many opportunities to be seen by your ideal client. With the adoption of smartphones and tablets continuing to increase, a mobile responsive website and in general, mobile marketing is very important to small businesses, especially for businesses with a physical location. Responsive websites enable small businesses to deploy one website that responds to all devices, whether your visitor is on a browser, smartphone or tablet. This lowers your cost because you don’t need two websites and creates a better user experience for all users.
Myth 3: Email marketing is no longer effective
Fact: Building your own in-house email list and providing a focused and well executed email marketing campaign is still very effective, especially when integrated into your content marketing activities. Learn how to create and deliver quality subject lines, effective calls to action and niche specific content right to your prospects’ inbox. Email marketing can enhance your relationship with your subscribers and drive your revenue.
Myth 4: I have a logo therefore I have a brand
Fact: Logos are one component of a company brand identity, but your brand image is far more complex. Brand is the perception the world has of you. It communicates your personality and influences your prospects’ opinion of who you are and whether they want to do business with you. A brand is everything you are, the value you deliver and the total client experience. Every image you project needs to consistently reflect the personality of your business. Make sure your brand is consistently used across all of your social media sites and marketing activities.
Myth 5: My nephew can build my website
Fact: Your website is the foundation for all of your inbound marketing activities and it needs to be created as a marketing tool and not the technology project. You certainly can create a professional WordPress website by using a premium theme, adding your logo, determining your color palette and writing quality content. But understanding best practices around content organization and user experience is critical to making sure your visitors find what they are looking for. By all means, if you can technically create your own website, do so. But invest in a marketing person to critique the site layout, content organization, on-page optimization, your call to action and landing pages.
Myth 6: Great marketing works instantly
Fact: Although marketing creates visibility and some tactics can produce instant results, marketing is about sustained contact with your target audience to ensure they know who you are when they are about to buy. Content marketing is not instantaneous. In fact: “Days, weeks, or even months won’t produce results that you will be happy with. Be prepared to put in at least 1 solid year before you start seeing results from content marketing.” It takes time to create enough quality content your target needs to begin producing results. Marketing is an investment and like all good investments, they take time to achieve the greatest gains.
Myth 7: Messages need to be changed often, otherwise your marketing gets old
Fact: Consistency and repetition is marketing’s best friend. Just when you are bored to tears with your marketing message or marketing campaign is when your messages may resonate with your target audience. Changing your message, brand or marketing campaign for the sake of change is a waste.
Myth 8: Marketing is Advertising
Fact: Marketing is about educating your target market about your products and services and why they should buy from you. The medium you use to communicate these messages to your target market could include advertising, but for most small businesses, the cost of traditional advertising outweighs the value. Online advertising is more cost effective, but whether you use advertising in your marketing mix to reach your ideal client will be specific to your business.
Myth 9: Lower prices encourage more people to buy
Fact: If that were always true, no one would buy a BMW verses a Kia. Buyers have their own idea of what is valuable to them and many believe that “you get what you pay for”. That is why it is so important to target your product or service correctly so that you can provide the maximum value at the right price.
Myth 10: Inbound and social media marketing is free
Fact: Although it is true that you can create your web presence for little to no money, inbound and social media marketing do require extensive resources – people and time – to be successful. Inbound marketing requires the creation of quality, relevant content and being present on the social networking sites to build relationships. Blogging, monitoring your reputation, curating and sharing content, creating and optimizing your profiles, responding to posts and comments all take time. And although inbound marketing is time consuming, it is worth every minute you put into it.
Marketing is about creating visibility for your business by educating your prospects and customers about you, your products and services, and how you can help them solve a problem. Everything you do to accomplish this for your company is a marketing activity. Marketing is truly an investment in time, creativity, resources and energy. The more you can invest the greater business success you will have.