At Chamber of Commerce coffee this morning, a local Business and Tax Advisor spoke to the group about why small businesses fail.

A side note:  according to the U.S. Small Business Administration, there are nearly 30 million small businesses in the U.S..  That means they (we!) have a huge impact on the U.S. economy through job creation, innovation and economic impact, for starters.

Now you can see why it is important to understand why small businesses fail at such an alarming rate.  And how important it is to prevent that from happening to your own business.  Let me tell you about just ONE of the top 10 reasons for these failures that our speaker reviewed–ineffective marketing.

Let’s take a look at why ineffective marketing happens.  Most small business owners do not have a background in marketing, and many think that having print ads is marketing.  Traditional advertising is only one part of marketing, and it is becoming less and less effective now.

What is Effective Marketing?

Marketing can be better described as finding a need and filling it.  It can also be described as finding the best way to reach a targeted group of potential buyers.  That best way is now online, rather than traditional advertising such as print ads, direct mail, flyers, billboards and such.

Concerning online marketing, for one thing that means that your business needs a website!  It is estimated that 46% of small businesses do not have a website.  And, if you have one, it must be mobile-optimized.   It is estimated that by 2020, there will be 3 billion smart phone users.  That is more than 40% of the entire world’s population!  Where does that leave a small business that doesn’t have a website, or one that is not mobile friendly, or that is not updated regularly?

Your business also needs to effectively use social media.  That doesn’t mean you must use all of the popular platforms.  It does mean using the one(s) that your target market frequent.  And, it means increasing your reach on your chosen platform by interacting with others.   It also most likely means doing paid advertising on social media.

Regarding online paid advertising, the best advice from our morning speaker is that you absolutely MUST test and measure everything.  You can do that online, but not very easily–if at all–with traditional advertising.

Why social media advertising?

  • Because that is where your potential customers hang out.
  • The ad costs are lower than traditional advertising.
  • You can target your ad reach instead of blind, shotgun approaches where the returns are dismal, even with larger budgets.
  • You can see real-time performance analysis—remember that our speaker says to test and measure everything?
  • A presence on social media boosts your brand awareness and increases customer loyalty.
  • Social media is one more way that your business can be found with online searches beyond Google or Bing.

Ok, did I scare you about marketing online?  Don’t forget, as a small business owner, potential owner, or even employee, you can’t do and know everything.  But you still have to be effective with your marketing so that your business does not become one of the 80% of small businesses that fail in the first 5 years.  Have you ever thought about outsourcing your online marketing?  It makes as much sense as outsourcing your bookkeeping, taxes, or cleaning.  It frees you up to do what you do and know best—run your business!

If you want to know more about effective marketing, let’s talk.  I can help.

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