The hardest part is always realizing you have a problem and getting some professional help. We’ve come up with a list of the signs that you should be on the lookout for if you have a small business. Marketing shouldn’t be a chore and isn’t something that can ever be complete, it’s an ongoing exercise of showing prospects and current customers why you provide the value that they need.
Let’s get started!

1. Everything was done by your nephew, or son, friend’s cousin etc…

Basically everything you’ve ever needed that falls into the ‘marketing’ bucket was done by someone you knew, for free or cheap. Despite their great intentions and commendable efforts, they aren’t professionals and lack the experience. This is not always a bad thing, if you have someone you can count on for small promos, graphics, photography etc… it might be worth going this route. At the end it really depends on if you can tell quality from whatever this is:

Bad Website

“Needs more lightning bolts…” – 14 year old nephew/chief web designer

Most people think they know marketing because it’s based on consumer experiences but that ‘sample size of one’ mentality leads to making mistakes. Just look at how many genres of music there are, even then focus on any one genre, let’s say metal. Maybe all you associate with metal is this:

Hair Metal Band

Ugh…

But I could list off 30 or more genres that have absolutely nothing in common with hair metal. The point being that everyone’s experiences and preferences are very different so you can’t go into marketing with a mentality of “I like this therefore; everyone else will”. Professionals will use data and testing to inform their decisions and segment the customer base, making sure your marketing activities generate measurable results.

2. Too Scared to Change Anything

This is a terrible situation to be in as a small business owner. You have all these marketing assets and you can’t even use them. You’re afraid of breaking the site when you’re making a copy change, you don’t know how to add a blog post, can’t look at analytics, can’t figure out how to add a promotion to your eCommerce store, can’t email your customers etc… Many business owners just don’t have the technical capacity or time to deal with web assets and/or can’t see the value in putting energy into it. This can be a sign to bring in some professionals to simplify your workflow. With some changes to the platforms you use and elimination of technical debt, you won’t have to fear your own website anymore. What exactly does this entail?

  • Helpful plugins for SEO
  • Pre-built blog/email templates
  • Drag and drop website/eCommerce store
  • Automatic analytics reports
  • Automatic email sends

and lots more. 

Bringing in the pros doesn’t mean it has to complicate your life, sometimes it just means taking a step back and making everything easier and more user friendly by focusing on improving what you already have and automating manual tasks.

3. Embarrassed of What You Have

It can manifest itself in many ways such as redirecting people who ask about what you do to something online that you’re actually proud of, like a video that you made a while back, offering flyers or business cards when people ask about your website, changing the conversation to what you actually do (service or product) and more. Basically you want people to recognize your business for the value it provides and not get hung up on some old or bad web assets. Unfortunately, brand perception is affected by everything that’s out there about you, controlled and uncontrolled.

Nothing to See Here

According to web credibility research from Stanford, 75% of users admit to making judgments about a company’s credibility based on their website’s design and 94% of first impressions are based on design rather than content, which is a pretty big deal given that their first impressions last for YEARS and may never be changed regardless of contradictory impressions. 

Instead of getting yourself down on your web assets, use them to boost your brand perception and really show what you’re about!

4. Nothing Works

It goes something like this: “I saw on the news that social media is big thing, I have to post 4-5 articles per week to get customers” but you follow all the guidelines and nothing happens. “Jerry’s son says we need a website” so you make one and no one ever goes on it. This is going to sound terrible, but here it is: You’re probably doing it wrong.

Man Angry At Computer

Might want to start by turning your computer on…

Your web marketing strategy will take a lot of research and will need to be refined through tracking and testing. Let’s break the fourth wall and take this post for example. I’m writing something that doesn’t necessarily benefit my company, Farnand Co. I haven’t mentioned its name up until now and I wouldn’t have if not for this example. So why am I writing this? I want you to find me organically via search. I set out writing this article with a few search terms in mind, and wrote it to be useful to people who would search them. That way, you find my site, a site you never knew existed before. If I was only talking about how great Farnand Co. was, and all the great things I’m doing I’d never be talking to you, someone in my target market who happens to have issues with their web assets and needs marketing help, that I can provide.

There is a lot of thought that goes into the strategy and all your web assets have to come together to get your message across, speaking as one machine, not dozens of disjointed parts. It’ll never be perfect but with professional help, you can get steered into the right direction and make life so much easier on yourself.