Running a small business is a uniquely rewarding and challenging endeavor that requires your full attention as the owner or manager. This entity requires strategy, planning, problem-solving, research, and knowledge of your customers to generate revenue and grow.
Because of how deeply invested you are in, that’s why 75 percent of small business owners say they are confident in their business (according to BusinessInsider.com research).
But, despite that confidence, half of all U.S. small businesses (50 percent) fail by their fifth year of operation. That is a sobering statistic.
Marketing Refresh would like to see that percentage drop over time. We believe one of the keys for your business is developing the right strategy to market your business. Specific to our agency, we focus on digital marketing as a method to market your content, find and connect with your audience, and create more sales. This plan is packaged together as a content marketing strategy.
Unfortunately, if you or someone in your company is not focused on developing, nurturing, and managing this plan, then you are likely making content marketing mistakes that prevent small businesses from reaching their highest potential.
What Are the Common Mistakes and Why Should I Care?
You wouldn’t go into business without a business plan, because your organization would drift aimlessly searching for customers without a consistent approach to generate revenue. (Another reason why small businesses fail – 42 percent realize there is no market for their product or service.)
So, why would you distribute content about your company without a plan? Without a plan for how to consistently utilize your marketing pieces, your content will not connect with your target prospects and customers, leading to wasted time and dollars.
Consider whether your company is making one of these seven common content marketing mistakes that tie back to not having a marketing plan to support your business. Then, we will talk about how to find a solution.
Mistake #1: Lack of Consistent Visual Elements
Pop quiz: Is your company brand the same as your company logo? The answer is no. A logo is one element of your brand. But, your overall brand tells a complete story about your company to prospects and customers.
Elements such as the logo, colors, font types, specific use, industry, and the connection you are looking to make with your customers make up your brand.
A common mistake made by small businesses is incorrectly using visual elements that take away from the story you are trying to tell about your company. This often leads to a disconnect between your company and your audience, negatively impacting revenue.
Mistake #2: An Inconsistent Message
Visual elements make up an essential pillar that supports your brand. Another pillar is your messaging strategy. How do you communicate with your audience? What tone do you use in your content? How do you want to package the visuals and words to connect with your audience?
What often happens in a small business is that one person is tasked with writing blog content, another person is tasked with writing social media, and another person is tasked with selecting video and images to utilize across all platforms. Without a content marketing strategy to guide each person, you end up with one piece of content reading business-like and the other elements feeling light and airy.
A content marketing strategy keeps everyone driving toward the same goal of using consistent messaging to reinforce the story of your brand to ultimately connect with your audience.
Mistake #3: Making Your Company the Hero of the Story
Many small businesses see themselves as the hero of their story. After all, you had a great business idea, put your time into starting a business, built your business around a product or service, and believe your company has the power to positively impact people’s lives.
While all of that is true, you are missing out on how to truly connect with your audience. Your prospects and customers are the hero of your story. You are empowering each person to do something better, be a better employee, have a better family life, create value for their company, solve a problem, or find a solution.
If the content that you are putting out — a blog, a social post, an eNewsletter, an email campaign, or a video — is more about you than about the target recipient, then your business could be suffering from a common content marketing mistake.
Mistake #4: How’s Your Call to Action?
A strong Call to Action (CTA) within a blog, email campaign, video, social post, or any other type of content piece is essential. Otherwise, you’re just distributing content for the sake of distributing content.
Small businesses often make the mistake of not including a CTA with their content pieces or including the wrong CTA relative to their product or service.
With a strong brand identity, a compelling message about your offering, and the right focus on your audience as the hero of your story, you should be able to devise a compelling and consistent CTA for each marketing piece to generate action.
Of course, you still need to know where to distribute your content to compel your target audience to take action.
Mistake #5: Distributing Content Where Your Audience Is Not
As part of a successful content marketing plan, you need to know where your audience is. And, where they are not.
Is your audience on social media? Then, distribute consistent content that aligns with your visuals and messaging to create engagement. Is your audience searching Google for the products or services from your industry? Then, focus on creating compelling blog content that draws in your target prospects and customers.
Small businesses often make the mistake of assuming their audience is on one platform but not another. Before making an assumption, research where your audience is. Then, develop a plan for how to maximize the reach of your content to create more business opportunities.
Mistake #6: Jumping at The Latest Trend
When you read about a new content platform in a business magazine or have a conversation about the latest trends at a dinner party, your mind probably jumps to how it could apply to your company.
There is a certain excitement about trying to find a new way to grow your business or reach your audience, but you still need to be careful about not spending time or money on a new trend that will not yield positive results.
Small businesses often make the mistake of placing their marketing content on a new platform that is outside of their content marketing strategy. Again, do research to find out whether your target audience is moving toward a particular platform or following a new trend before investing valuable resources. You might discover that your current distribution strategy is still the best option.
Mistake #7: Not Following a Schedule of Distributing Content
How often do you pull up another company’s website and see that the last blog was posted four months ago? Or, see that the company’s latest YouTube video was published last year?
Without a content marketing plan, small businesses can fall into the trap of not publishing regularly, which sends the wrong message about your brand.
Like any healthy relationship, you need to talk to your audience on a regular basis, you need be present in the moment, and you need to be available to serve the needs of your prospects and customers. This will help you send the right message about your brand to consistently and regularly engage your audience.
Marketing Refresh Can Help You Overcome These Content Marketing Mistakes
At Marketing Refresh, we know that small business owners and managers need to stay focused on running the business. You may not have the internal personnel to manage your brand or content marketing strategy. Or, you may be asking someone with less-than-ideal experience to handle content distribution.
That’s why we offer a full range of services to manage your entire content marketing strategy or fill in the gaps where you need the most support. Here is how can address the common content marketing mistakes that we identified:
- Create consistent visual elements
- Develop a clear message that supports your brand
- Research and apply the latest trends to your business
- Follow a consistent schedule of distributing content to engage your audience
- Track the results to identify where your audience is engaging with your brand
After taking a look at our full-service offering would appreciate the opportunity to have a conversation about your current marketing approach or individual pieces of your content marketing plan to find the right solution to support your business. Contact our team today to get started!