Small Business Marketing TipsToday’s small businesses have more choices for gaining exposure and generating leads than ever before. Making sense of all of the options and technologies can be overwhelming, and making the wrong choices brings increased risk of wasting precious time and money.

Here are what I call three “Big Picture Marketing Mistakes” that small businesses make all the time that have an enormous impact on overall company success. Keeping these things in mind might help you narrow your choices when it comes to all of the marketing and advertising opportunities available to your business, and weed out vendors trying to sell you on programs that won’t increase your bottom line.

  1. Unscientific Budgeting

A widely-accepted rule of thumb is to allocate a percentage of past or anticipated sales to marketing.

Calculating a budget against sales sets the company up for managed growth and continued success.  With a budget based on a formula, you can determine ROI and adjust the budget as sales fluctuate. It takes the emotion out of spending, replacing it with the logic of investing. Then, when you operate with a marketing investment mindset, you can factor additional metrics besides sales that help you best allocate your budget.

How much is each new customer worth to you?

You might invest in a digital ad campaign that costs $300 per day and delivers an average of 10 new customers daily. Are they worth $30 each to acquire? You might do a direct mail campaign to your active customer list for a total campaign budget of $5,000 that generates $20,000 in sales. Do you come out ahead? It’s all in the math. That’s how you get budget allocation down to a science, which brings me to my next big picture mistake…

  1. Missed Analytics

In marketing, past performance can indeed predict future results. You just need data. When the phone rings, who is it, why did they call, and where did they get your number? Is it an affluent woman age 35-40 who clicked a link in an email message that took her to a personalized landing page featuring products she might like? Or is it a guy whose Google search turned your website up on page one, which he clicked and then called?

Analytics now inform nearly all creative, media, and target audience decisions. Armed with such data as demographics, web traffic, search engine rankings, keyword research, social media use, and A/B testing results, you can see what’s working in real time. It all comes together for you to conduct hyper-personal relationship marketing with everyone in your audience and focus efforts on the highest performing segments.

Through the ongoing analysis of incoming data, it becomes easier to conduct personalized creative messaging to targeted personas, which enhances your chances to convert leads to sales—speaking of which, my third big picture mistake…

  1. Failure to Convert Leads

Every interaction a person takes with your company is a chance to engage—a chance to nurture that lead. The faster you respond to a lead with useful information, the higher the likelihood of maintaining interest. If a lead goes unnoticed or unanswered for any length of time, you’ve most likely lost it.

Marketing automation is a great way to help small teams stay in touch with their prospects. Every individual that comes into contact with your company enters your sales funnel and is programmed into your audience database. The system then deploys personalized messaging through multiple channels depending on the prospect profile and in response to various types of engagement, past purchases, and stated interests. Ultimately through the frequency of on-point communications, the lead will become a sale.

Small businesses can better compete through the smart formulation and allocation of marketing budgets, data analysis, and automated lead nurturing. Not doing so can add up to three big picture mistakes your small business could be making. If so, Imbue can help you correct that.