Working with many small and medium sized businesses, we’ve seen our share of costly marketing mistakes.
One of the most common causes behind these mistakes is a failure to keep up to date with the latest evolutions in technology and business practices. In northern Ontario, where trends can be a bit slower to take off, small businesses can get stuck in a rut without even realizing it.
Are any of these mistakes costing your business? It might be time to re-evaluate and update your marketing practices.
1. Not having a professional email address
It’s time to get rid of the Yahoo, Hotmail, and Gmail addresses! (In case you missed it, check out our list of the top 10 reasons you need a professional domain for your business emails.) Even if you’re a smaller business that doesn’t have a website yet (and you probably should!), you need to consider purchasing a domain simply for your emails. If you’re doing a lot of correspondence with clients via email, it will provide a much more professional image for your business than a free account ever could.
2. Your website and emails aren’t optimized for mobile
With our constant attachment to smartphones and tablets, a significant amount of website traffic is coming from mobile devices. (Check your Google Analytics to see for yourself!) If your website or emails can’t be viewed properly on mobile devices, you’re losing traffic, and potentially customers. While getting online was the first big step many northern Ontario businesses have taken over the past decade, just being online isn’t enough anymore – you need to be thinking of your mobile customers.
3. Ignoring new marketing methods & trends
If your marketing efforts consist exclusively of mail-outs, posters and traditional networking, you’re missing out on huge opportunities to grow your business and attract new customers. You should be using a mixture of traditional marketing methods, online advertising, social media, email campaigns, and more. Plus, there is always a new social network popping up and it’s up to you to stay attuned to the latest methods marketers are using so you can follow suit.
4. Using the same brand design for the past decade (or more)
As a business, we pride ourselves on helping our clients maintain an attractive and professional brand image. While consistency is a key aspect of your brand, it also needs to evolve as your business grows and times change. If you placed your business side by side with your competitor (business cards, flyers, website, etc.), how would it stand up? If yours looks like it’s from the 1980s, while your competitor’s is shiny and new, which one do you think your customer is going to choose? A simple refresh of your website and marketing materials every few years can help you give the best impression of your business.
5. Assuming your customers are happy because you haven’t received any complaints
Today, customers aren’t always complaining to you, but they are complaining online. You need to be actively managing your online reputation, and that means regularly checking online review sites (TripAdvisor, Google Places, Yelp, etc.) and social networks for feedback regarding your company. Ignoring your online rep can be quite damaging to your business. For more information, check out our infographic for tips to make the most of your online reviews.