Top 3 reasons why your marketing isn’t working

Clients usually call me when they’re stuck with their marketing. They have a great service/product but they’re having trouble finding new customers. They’ve tried all sorts of marketing tactics but just can’t get results (or aren’t getting the results for the time and money being spent).  Does this sound familiar?

I have worked with hundreds of small businesses in Ireland and here’s the most common reasons I find why small business marketing isn’t working;

  • Talking to the wrong people
  • Selling upfront
  • Not having a plan

Talking to the wrong people

The number one reason. Business owners try everything, and try to be everywhere – email marketing, Google Adwords, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, blogging, radio, print advertising, …. the list goes on. They keep trying different marketing tactics, jumping from one to the next without any real strategy.

Nothing works and they wonder why.

The reason why is they are talking to the wrong people and they don’t know who their ideal customer is.

Most businesses think they are segmenting (My ideal customer is “Women aged 35 – 50 who live in Cork”). But that’s not a description of a person, that’s a huge cross section of the population. People who fit that segment can be as similar as chalk and cheese.

An ideal customer needs to be much more detailed. You need to get inside their head, speak their language and let them know that you get where they’re coming from. 

To understand your ideal customer, think about:

  • Do you know what they like? And what they really don’t like?
  • What social media platforms they hang out on?
  • Who influences them?
  • What are they searching for?
  • What really matters to them?
  • What are they trying to achieve?
  • What worries them?

My advice is to take the time to get into the detail of what your ideal customer is really like and you’ll have much more clarity about where to find them and how to engage them. Then you can create a plan to target those customers in the right places, at the right times and with the right marketing.

Selling upfront

This is another problem I come across a lot. Many business owners confuse marketing and sales. As a result, their marketing campaigns tend to focus on price and ‘buy now’ sort of messages (often copying the style of advertising they see from the big retail brands). That type of marketing doesn’t work for many small businesses because;

  • most buying decisions are made on trust, and trust is built over time. If your audience doesn’t already know your brand or your product, very few will respond to a price-based promotion. Did you know that most sales are made on the 7th contact? That means for a cold audience you should focus on building trust.
  • Discounting is a slippery slope. It devalues your product in the eyes of your audience.
  • No one likes to be sold to, but they like to buy.

A better strategy is to tell a story that resonates with your ideal client.

You don’t have a plan

I talk with entrepreneurs everyday and when I ask them about their marketing strategy, the most common answer is “I do whatever I can when I have the time”. I understand how hard it is when there isn’t enough hours in the day but this isn’t a strategy. There are no long-term goals, so there are no short-term goals. If you want your marketing to work, you have to have a plan.

My advice is to start with setting S.M.A.R.T. goals (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-bound). Plan out your marketing in advance. Set long-term goals and then each day you’ll know if you’re moving toward those goals or further away from them.

If you can relate to these common reasons why your marketing isn’t working, maybe you need to step back and develop a strategy. Don’t focus on the marketing tactics. Instead take the time to identify your ideal client, set your targets and objectives, identify what methods you should use to attract them, and where to find them.  It’s the starting point of all marketing strategies.

If you want to talk marketing strategy for your business, book an appointment with me

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