Marketing as if you were bigger begins with an understanding of what the big brands do and, maybe more importantly, what they don’t do. Here are some marketing pitfalls that a big brand would never get trapped in (but that small businesses often do stumble into unknowingly):
- Publishing a website before it is a completely finished (meaning that there aren’t any broken links or unfinished pages, and that there are compelling calls to action and an obvious value proposition).
- Hiring a graphic designer to create marketing materials and letting them do whatever they think is best (you should be critically analyzing the final designs to ensure they align with your brand standards).
- Posting distorted or incorrectly cropped photos on social media due to a lack of time (it is common to face the challenge of not having enough hours in the day but details like this one matter).
- Forgetting to reply to customer reviews (whether they are good or bad, it took effort for a customer to write you a review and replying shows that you value their time and opinion).
- Establishing business hours, but foregoing them when other things come up (making your own hours is often one of the things entrepreneurs love most about being their own boss. However, it can really hurt your reputation to say you’ll be open and then decide not to be).
- Having incorrect or inconsistent contact information posted in various places online (if you change your address or phone number, it is crucial to update every online listing you have).
- Buying a cheap logo online or just a clipart image that represents what you sell and using it as a logo (Your logo is the first visual piece of branding you will have so it’s important to have one that uniquely represents you created by a professional.).
- Worse than the previous bullet point: going without a logo.
Marketing your business is hard work: it’s overwhelming, it usually isn’t an entrepreneur’s most refined skill, and there’s always something new to learn or do. Marketing is a “put your best foot forward” type of situation though, and doing just that will speak volumes to your potential customers and stakeholders (potential investors or collaboration partners for instance). So if you want to be as successful as you possibly can be, you’re going to have to tackle your marketing as if you were bigger. The bare minimum might, might, sustain your business but it doesn’t make a statement as to how serious you are about doing your best in every aspect of entrepreneurship (the bare minimum is also risky when you have competitors with top notch marketing).
You’ve got this—and good news, entrepreneur—you can ask for help. In addition to resources like the Wyoming SBDC Network (we analyze websites and social media accounts, review marketing materials, help you get to know who your customers are, etc.) there are countless others. You have local resources and you have the entire internet at your disposal. Read blogs (Seth Godin’s is one of my business favorites), listen to podcasts (I love NPR’s “How I Built This”) read books, the list goes on: find what’s out there and use it to help you market yourself as if you were bigger, because hopefully one day-you will be.
Audrey Jansen is a market researcher with a bachelor’s degree in Marketing and a minor in Marketing Communications from the University of Wyoming. She has experience in social media, digital marketing, print ad design, and general marketing and small business topics. As the daughter of a serial entrepreneur, Audrey loves being a part of helping small businesses around the state succeed.
When she’s not in the office:Audrey cannot get enough of the snowy range and homemade food, and she walks her dog a lot.