Small Businesses Marketing Plan: Common Mistakes to Avoid

You have toiled away at developing your marketing plan. You are optimistic that it will help you turn around the fortunes of your business, and you may very well be right. However, you may have made some very obvious errors without even realizing it. If you do not have the relevant knowledge, all you will have is a beautiful document that does not address your marketing needs. Did you base your marketing plan on proper market research? Do you have a flow in your thought process? Do you have sufficient budget?

We will explore some common mistakes that could have a negative effect on your marketing.

· Did You Focus On A Specific Target Audience?

Marketing cannot be something that you do for the general public. You need a particular audience if you hope to have the right impact. You cannot go into developing a plan using phrases such as “who might use our product.”  If that is the kind of question you are asking, you need to come to a screeching halt and go back to the drawing table. It does not matter what type of product you have; it must have a specific audience that you hope to capture.

Even if you focus on a specific audience, it does not mean that the general public will not buy your product. They will buy the product because they see your target market using it.

· Copy and Paste

It is a very good practice to take the time to see what your competitors are doing. But, if you are new to the marketing game, you may be tempted to copy and paste, after all, why reinvent the wheel. Well, we agree with you, you should by no means reinvent the wheel, but you must absolutely make it better. Even if you think that the competitors are doing an outstanding marketing job, there could be specific challenges they are facing.

You need to identify what their strengths and weaknesses are and build upon them. Come up with something unique, because if you are new, you will not be able to compete with those who have already been in the game for a long time. You will get lost in the clutter and wonder why you are not getting any customers.

· Having a Haphazard Poorly Thought-Out Business Plan

You have the right product, you have segmented your audience, and you have seen what the competitors are doing.  Congratulations, you are on the right track.  Now you need to sit down and come up with a well thought out marketing plan.  It should highlight your goals, your timelines, and your budget. It should also show what platforms you will use to do your marketing, how you will measure the results among others.

Writing a proper marketing plan is not a one-day job. It requires that you take the time to detail every step. We would recommend that if you do not have the relevant knowledge, you may want to bring in an expert to handle it for you. You will also need to sit down with your financial advisors to talk about things like budgets and projections.

Remember to diversify your activities. You may, for example, find that your social media may be generating quite a bit of traction and you may get the urge to forget about the other avenues. It would make sense for you to get in a healthy mix of activities for better Returns.  The modern consumer is constantly evolving, and what may work today, may not have an impact tomorrow.

· Not Giving Yourself Room for Adjustment

There is nothing like the perfect marketing plan. Any marketer will tell you that they have had to make adjustments to the plan as they go along. Situations will change, business environments may go through upheavals, people may come and go, products will vary, and competitors will up their game, among others.  All this may have an impact on your carefully, beautifully prepared marketing plan.

You, therefore, cannot be rigid.  You should be able to let go of the things that are not working and think of what else you can do. Some of the activities may just be draining your money, but not leading to any conversions.  Flexibility will allow you to make the changes before it is too late. It also allows you to take advantage of new channels that are opening up every day, especially on the online platform.

· Forgetting to Come Up with A Content and Social Media Strategy

Content has become an essential part of marketing, and you must have a strategy for that.  The same goes for social media. You may think that marketing on such platforms is as easy as generating content and posting it whenever you feel like.  It could not be further from the truth. You need to have the right audience in mind, the proper channels, and content that aligns to the marketing strategy.

· Storing Away the Marketing Plan

It may surprise you, but some managers spend days working on a marketing plan, only to store it away. Some will even pay an expert to work on the document, yet they will never refer to it and will start doing things off the cuff. It leads to haphazard marketing that will not yield any returns. So the question remains, why spend all that time if you know you are not going to implement what you have in your plan. Continually review the plan and make sure that you are meeting the set goals. Make the necessary adjustments so that it stays relevant to your business needs.

 Final thoughts

We have shared some common mistakes people make when coming up with a marketing strategy. You will realize that the errors are totally avoidable, yet could have a terrible impact if you do not avoid them. Take our tips above but also continue to do your research on how to write the perfect marketing plan.

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