In my opinion, most of the statistics and reasons stated about why businesses fail are wrong.
Poor financial control, lack of capital, poor leadership, poor location, and poor economy are common reasons cited for business failure.
Statistics usually benchmark business failure on whether they are still in business and how long they operated before closing. However, struggling to survive or performing below an owner’s expectations also constitutes failure of some sort.
While there can be more than one contributing factor to failure, by far and away the number one reason for businesses failing, from what I’ve witnessed, has to do with the quality of their marketing.
Here are 7 of the most common mistakes small businesses make:
1) Treating marketing like an expense rather than the business you are in. Marketing should be the driving force of your business because you are NOT in the business of being butcher, baker or candlestick maker…you are in the business of marketing your business. When you look at your marketing as a line item expense instead of a necessary investment, you’re looking to fail.
Marketing your business well is your path to becoming the dominant business in your community or category. And when you become the dominant business, you’ll be more profitable, secure and have more freedom.
2) Not knowing what it costs to gain a new customer and what the average lifetime customer value is. If you don’t know what it costs to acquire a new customer, it’s impossible to set a marketing budget. And if you don’t know the lifetime customer value (LCV), then your budget for getting a new customer might be too high, which can cause failure.
Before you invest large sums of money into marketing, determine how much it costs to acquire a new customer and what your average LCV is. It’s important to note that when you know the LCV, you can sometimes spend more to acquire a new customer because it’ll be worth it on the back end. For example, if you know your LCV is $5000 for a customer, spending $100 to acquire that customer is worth it. However, if the LCV for a customer is $100 then spending that same amount wouldn’t make sense.
3) No system in place for attracting your ideal customer and building a list. Your biggest asset is your list. Yet many businesses, such as retailers and restaurants, make no attempts to build a list of ideal customers to market to.
If you want to survive, you must figure out how to attract your ideal customer and build a list so you can market to them again and again.
4) No follow-up marketing system. Once you attract an ideal prospect, you must stay in touch with them until “They buy or die.” Businesses often have hundreds of people visiting their website or walking into their establishment and leave without buying and without the business collecting any information on how to follow up with them.
Businesses also fail to have a follow-up system in place for people who have purchased from them.
In both cases, you are leaving thousands of dollars on the table. Follow up with prospects and you’ll get a percentage of them to buy. Follow up with your buyers and they will often buy from you again and again.
5) The USP isn’t defined. You need to make a Unique Selling Proposition (USP) that makes your business the only clear choice for customers and prospects. There are a lot of competitors out there—maybe selling exactly what you sell.
Spending time on refining your USP to make your business stand out is often a big game-changer for businesses.
6) Not focused on the right market or haven’t defined a market. Right media, right market, right message. (Tweet this!) It doesn’t matter how great your message is if you are sending it to the wrong target market. In fact, Dan Kennedy says that 50% of your success is getting this right.
Create a list with laser-like precision and you’ll stop wasting money on advertising that isn’t working.
7) Not using direct-response advertising. The agenda of advertising for big businesses is much different than the agenda for small businesses. Big businesses look to build their brand, look good, win awards, and maybe sell something whereas the small business owner wants to sell something. The problem is because many small business owners don’t know a lot about marketing or where to start, so they copy advertising that won’t ever work for their business, which cost them time, money and sometimes their business.
To succeed, you must incorporate marketing techniques that attract prospects… sell something…cause your prospects and customers to take a desired action. This is accomplished by using direct response marketing.
There are ten “do or die” direct response rules your marketing must follow to be successful. (You can find these rules in Dan Kennedy’s No B.S. Direct Marketing For Non-Direct Marketing Businesses.)
Take a look at these seven marketing mistakes. Are you making any of them? If you are weak in one or missing any one of these items, then make a plan to fix them before it’s too late and you find your business is in jeopardy.
NOTE: Get “The 10 Rules to Transforming Your Small Business into an Infinitely More Powerful Direct Response Marketing Business” for FREE. Click here to claim your customer-getting, sales-boosting tactics.