The Biggest Problem With Small Business Marketing And How You Can Fix It

Marketing your small business isn’t the easiest thing in the world to do when you also have to run your small business day to day. As a business owner, there are many different responsibilities that you must take care of and, sometimes, getting to the marketing is the last thing on the list. Today I am going to show you the biggest problem I’ve seen over the years, and how you can fix it for good.

The Problem: No Consistency

Over many years of small business marketing consulting, I have found that the biggest marketing problem that small business owners face is lack of consistency in their marketing. Many times this is caused by one of the following issues:

  1. Lack of discipline in dedicating a consistent amount of revenue to advertising dollars.
  2. Inexperience in hiring and dedicating the right team members to the marketing efforts.
  3. Purchasing the wrong product or service for their marketing campaign.

While I have seen many more instances or issues when it comes to consistently marketing a business, these are the top 3 issues that contribute to a lack of consistency. When we’re able to solve the consistency issue, everything else falls into place and, over time, the business will see sustainable growth.

Today I am going to give you a simple three-part plan to solve each of these issues. If you put them into practice, you’ll be well on your way to having a successful year of marketing that provides real returns on your investment.

Solution #1: Disciplined Spending

One of the first questions that I ask a new prospective client is how much of their budget is dedicated to advertising. If they don’t what percentage it is, but they’re spending consistently, that’s ok. We sit down and determine if it is three, six or maybe even 10 percent. I’m never worried when they tell me that they do spend money on advertising every month.

What does worry me is when someone says that they don’t have money dedicated to their advertising budget. When someone isn’t committed to investing advertising dollars every month, I know that they aren’t serious about getting real marketing results.

Start with 2%

Don’t let this point scare you or discourage you. If you aren’t dedicating a consistent amount of money to advertising each month right now, you can start of small and build from there. If you are a very small business, making under $100,000 annually, find a way to start spending 2% of your gross annual revenue. That works out to be less than $40 a week or around $160 per month.

If you’re a larger business that hasn’t been in the habit of dedicating a consistent monthly dollar amount to advertising, use the same rule. Take your gross revenue and spend 2% on advertising. If you’re making $500,000 annually, that’s a total budget of $10,000 or $192 a week. A million dollars in gross revenue is $20,000 annually or $385 a week.

The reason that I always break things down into a weekly amount is because it should be one of the first “paychecks” you pay out. If you’re investing in your advertising, you are investing in new prospective clients who can fuel the growth of your business. Whenever you’re making a change, break it down into a weekly bite-sized amount that you can handle. Using this approach will make everything more manageable and more measurable.

Now that you’ve committed to spending at least 2% on advertising, you’ve taken the first step towards having a healthy marketing department. Commit to doing this in good times and especially in bad times. You need it even more when you’re slow and need work.

Once you master spending 2% in a consistent and profitable manner, you’ll want to grow it more from there – but always start out with what you can manage.

Solution #2: Utilize Someone with Marketing Experience

When you are decide to invest your hard earned money more consistently into marketing, you need to ensure that the campaigns are managed by someone who has the experience to help you get the best return on your investment. As Dan Kennedy says in his book No B.S. Direct Marketing (I am paraphrasing), “Every dollar you send out to do your marketing work must be accounted for. It must return to you with something to show for its efforts!”

Those dollars, those little marketing soldiers, have a job to do, and that job is to bring you more paying clients. As the leader of your organization, you must be focused on this personally, but you should also dedicate a team member to focus on this primarily. This way, they can bring updates and results to you and allow you to make the final decisions on bigger aspects of the campaign.

When you’re looking at an internal or external team member to head up your marketing efforts, be sure to ask them the following questions. Their answers will help you determine if they are a good fit for your organization and your marketing team.

      1. Are you able to provide tracking mechanisms for all the advertising spending you’ll recommend?
             a. If the answer is no, then they will be spending money blindly
      2. Have you successfully marketed a business like ours in the past?
            a. Ideally, they say yes, but if they haven’t marketed your business type specifically, make sure they’ve done something similar
      3. In your opinion, what does a successful campaign look like in terms of conversion numbers?
            a. They should be able to say something like, “A blast to 10,000 email recipients should be opened by 15% and of those 1,500 people who open we should be able to get interest of conversion out of 2% or 30 prospects.” They should have example metrics in-hand to answer your question.
      4. How aggressive should we be with email marketing?
                   a. If they don’t tell you that you should work your way up to emailing your list 2-3 times a week, they don’t have the guts to be as aggressive as they need to be for you.

Those are just a few questions to ask your prospective marketing team member. As the leader of your business, you will have an internal instinctual reaction that you need to pay attention to as well, but these questions will also point you in the right direction.

If you’re looking for effective and measurable marketing results, we do that every day at tEkk3, so be sure to contact us today to set up your free consultation. You cannot afford to waste your advertising dollars any more and we can help you take a positive step towards measurable results.

Solution #3: Purchase the Right Advertising Solution

When it comes to ad spend, you need to take a good look at where you’re spending your money. There are two primary approaches that I like to begin this part of any marketing conversation with and today I’d like you to think about your ad spend and choose one direction.

  • Are you buying mass exposure?
  • Are you buying targeted ads to a select group?

One approach is not better than the other; it’s simply something I want to make sure you are making a conscious choice about. Think about the two scenarios that may be options in front of you and decide which route you prefer.

Radio Advertising: Broad Reach

When you choose to do a mass media campaign like radio advertising on FM channels, you will most likely have the potential to reach hundreds of thousands of listeners. This is a mass marketing approach. If you went this route, you would want to make sure that your product appealed to the average consumer, not a very targeted niche of business owners. If you buy radio spots for your advertising, you should plan to:

  1. Spend $600-2,500 per month
  2. Run every other week with as many 15 second spots during the week as possible
  3. Run 3 months on, one month off for the course of the year
  4. Change your ads each 90-day run

In this mass-market approach, you’ll likely spend $25 – $100 per ad play, and if you are wise and run the campaign in a consistent manner, you’ll begin to see results in the second and third campaign. Rather than trying to laser focus in on a small group, you are hitting the masses with your message.

As I mentioned before, this approach is good for mass appeal consumer level products and services. Mass marketing is effective when it is done consistently. I do encourage businesses to use radio and television advertising when possible, because it provides a big splash of exposure that that can fuel consistency and growth.

Pay Per Click, Facebook, Mobile, or Google Adwords: Targeted Niches

When you are focused on a tighter niche of prospective customers, I believe that pay per click advertising can offer a lot more value. You can also run some slower and lower-cost testing before you ramp up your spending to ensure that you’re getting the best value out of each of those advertising dollars (your soldiers in the field).

Let’s use Facebook advertising as an example. If you are targeting realtors with your service, you can choose to target realtors within a 25 or 50-mile radius of your office, and show them your ads repeatedly over the course of the month.

You can also set a daily budget of $1-5, or even higher as things progress, so after you’ve spent your daily budget your ads won’t show until the next day – which will keep your marketing budget in line. This approach is very useful, providing you can dedicate weekly time to analyzing the results and making adjustments. This is where choosing the right marketing team member really comes into play. With mass marketing you can set it and forget it, but the pricing is often higher. With niche-targeted advertising, you need to monitor it closely and adjust frequently until you get your desired results. Even after that, campaigns require refreshing and maintenance.

This section is not meant to be an all-inclusive advertising guide. If it were, it would be about 10 times longer. However, it is meant to make you consider which approach you are currently using or which approach you should be using. The more intentional you are about your advertising spending, the more you will be able to effectively measure and manage results.

After reading this section, do you think you are spending mass advertising dollars or niche specific ad dollars? Take some time to review your spending and determine which route you are going and which is the most effective.

Wrap Up

The biggest problem with small business marketing is lack of consistency, so making a simple plan to follow each month is key. If you do that, you will move yourself up into the top 20% of successful business marketers. It’s that simple.

You also need to bring in someone with marketing experience who can truly get you results. Once you do that, you need to determine what kind of advertising is the right solution for you, either mass marketing ad dollars or niche-specific target ads. Take time to review what’s working in your industry as a whole and what’s worked for you in the past. Then, begin to build more in that direction.

No matter what you do today, I challenge you to make marketing a daily activity for yourself. When we implement daily activities, we are able to see long-term success in a more consistent manner.

Do you need help getting started? Are you ready to double your business over the next year? That’s what tEkk3 can do for you, so get in touch today and we’ll provide you a free consultation where we review your current marketing efforts and provide recommendations.

What do you think stops small businesses in their marketing efforts? Share your thoughts in the comments below.