It may be the season for ghosts and goblins, but ghastly creatures aren’t the only things that can haunt a small business owner. Making any one of the 7 common marketing mistakes below can have frightening consequences for your small business. Find out what you have to fear from these marketing mishaps and how to avoid them.
Mistake 1. Not setting goals for your marketing efforts
Whatever type of marketing you’re doing, you won’t know if it worked unless you know what you hope to achieve. Set measurable, specific goals for each marketing campaign so you can assess its success.
Mistake 2. Not having a marketing plan
You can waste a lot of money and time by marketing haphazardly. Advertising in the wrong place, at the wrong time or to the wrong audience will do no good. Before you start, develop a plan for reaching your target customer base through the marketing channels they pay attention to.
Mistake 3. Not marketing to existing customers
Customers who return to buy from you again and again are the lifeblood of your business. But you can’t count on customers coming back unless you continue to connect with them. Don’t put all your marketing efforts into attracting new customers; budget for marketing to your current customers, too.
Mistake 4. Not managing your reputation
Word-of-mouth marketing is important for every type of business, whether B2B, B2C, online or off-line. That’s why it’s so vital to keep tabs on what people are saying about your business both online and off. If your business is listed on rating and review sites, monitor them and respond.
Mistake 5. Focusing on features, not benefits
Features are things your product or service has; benefits are how it helps your customers. Customers don’t care about your products’ features—they want to know what it can do for them. Create your marketing and advertising content with the customer in mind, and always answer their question, “What’s in it for me?”
Mistake 6. No call to action
When customers see your ad, receive your flyer in the mail or get your marketing email, what do you want them to do? It’s amazing how many small business owners forget to include a specific call to action in their marketing and advertising. Each piece should direct prospects to do something, whether that’s calling your business on the phone, visiting your website or scheduling an appointment.
Mistake 7. Not testing or tracking your marketing
Digital marketing offers incredible capabilities to track exactly what prospects do when they see your offer. If you are not testing multiple versions of the same ad or email, and not paying attention to which ads get results and which don’t, you're throwing money away. Get familiar with the analytics tools that Google, social media sites and email marketing services offer to help you. The more you learn from your mistakes, the more your marketing will improve.
This article originally appeared on sba.gov.