As a small business owner, we often make mistakes that are a dead give-away that we are novices playing in the big-boy world. This isn’t a women or man thing, the list of the Top Five Things is true regardless of gender. You know why? Because “not knowing”, better known as “ignorance” blinds us to the truth, and gives small business owners a bad name! So, read this list of five items, and do a personal review of your marketing, print materials, website, social media platforms, etc. How many of these mistakes have you made?
- EMAIL ADDRESS – Not having an email address in the same name as your company. For example email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org. It's worth the minimal investment to purchase the "email" portion when buying your domain or purchase from the company who's hosting your site.
- DOMAIN NAME – Using weebly or other similar hosting/platform products to use for your website. You should own your domain name. Hosting fees are minimal…don't go cheap. This is that important, if you're truly a serious small business owner. Don't test drive your business. Get out there and do it. But, do it right! It does matter.
- URL – Your company name and domain names don't exactly match. Your goal is to make it "easy" for your customer to find you…don't make them guess on some shortened or acronym version of your name. If you can't get the domain name in the exact spelling with no hyphens or other shortenings, you should eliminate that company name as an option. End of story!
- BAD LOGO – Pixelated logo – see example. Nothing more needs to be said. Or, if you'd like to know more you can read The Dissection of the Logo.
- LIKE vs RIGHT – Making important business decisions solely based on your personal "likes". Successful businesses should make decisions on name, logo, website, campaigns, etc. based what's going to make your brand/business stand out in the market place. Not sure what I mean…read Strike the Word Like From Business Decisions.
Lucky you…I have a lot to say about this subject, so you're getting bonus coverage, because all 10 of these are too important to ignore.
- YOU vs THEM – You think only about your needs versus the needs of your customer. Your website is only partially about you or your product. It's mainly about speaking the language that hits your customer's "buy" spot in their brain. Hello, emotion. Use it liberally. Not the faking kind. But the real life authentic people friendly stuff. Consumers are savvy. They don't like to be hoodwinked (isn't that a great word).
- BAD COPY – The copy, messages or content are poorly written, not only grammatical errors, but spelling or social media style speak, as well. Proof reading is SMART! Spellcheck can't catch improper uses of words. One of my repeated mistypes is typing "down" when I mean "done". Not sure why I do this, but my Dewey Decimal System in my brain must be mislabeled.
- K.I.S.S. – please people, too much copy is never good. Be concise. That's why it pays to hire a copywriter. Business owners are too proud, and too enthusiastic about their own product/service to understand this concept. As a result, business owners speak like business owners, not customers. Yet, customers don't think the same way as business owners. Thus confusion over what you offer and how it’ll help your customer’s problem. Therefore, less is more. Way less. Anything more than three messages is too much. Be concise on what behavior you want from your customers. Don't overwhelm your customers with too much or they'll be distracted and won't do the ONE thing you really need them to do. The Call to Action (CTA). This applies to anything and everything, but especially websites, emails, advertisements, business cards. Again, less is more!
- UNIQUENESS – what makes you different, and why in the world would your customers buy from you over your competition. If you're aren't connecting with your customers needs or solving their problem, you won't get their attention.
BRAND DUMB – And last, but not least, your brand. Your brand is everything. And I do mean everything. It's those intangibles that make your customer "feel" something about your brand. Unless your product or service is the only one available in the whole world you need a powerful strong brand that connects with your customers "buy" button in their brain. Telling your customers you are the "largest" or the "best" doesn't do anything for those centers of their brain. And, most of the time, being the biggest or the best is a turnoff. Think car sales! Tell customers how your product solves their problem and focus on how they'll feel using your product.
So, by now, you realize that the blog post was not five things, but ten things. In reality everyone's brand is different, but not as unique as you think. Don't make the mistake most business owners do where they think they are "rocking" the world with their service or product. Guess what, customers are skeptical and don't believe your words. That's the trick…overcome their skepticism and get their attention w/out using hyperbole. (I love that word).
How do you do all of the above…hire an expert to help you. If you are NOT a marketer, you aren't an expert. Self-marketing has limitations and can only elevate your brand so much. At some point, depending on your goals, you’ll need to hire an expert in many areas of your business. I can tell you this…you don't need the BEST in your industry unless you are in a highly competitive industry. But, you can't get off CHEAP. It’ll backfire, it always does. You'll end up spending more money in the long run.
If you're ready to take the next step…give me a ring or shoot me an email. I'm there to help you build your business. Let's start today…marketing is a long-term engagement, not a quick fix. The longer you wait…the longer it'll be until you achieve the success you intend.