You’re trying so hard to do everything right. You put a lot of time, effort and capital into researching, perfecting and making your products. Your team were painstakingly selected from a huge pool of promising candidates- trained and onboarded to the highest standards and committed to making your vision a reality. You’ve agonized over your branding, experimenting with all kinds of minutiae in your logo, your website and your on-site decor. You’re not only focused on delivering excellence to each and every one of your customers, you’re actively trying to build successful relationships with new prospects. You’re committed, passionate and dedicated, as are your team…
So why aren’t prospective customers noticing your small business?
It can be both frustrating and worrying when it seems like your best laid plans don’t result in the kind of traction you’d expect from your target audience. But fear not! This doesn’t necessarily mean that your business’ future looks bleak. It doesn’t even mean that you’ve made any errors that can’t be rectified. It simply means that you may be neglecting to focus on some important aspects of your marketing and operations. Let’s take a look at some of the reasons why customers may not notice your business and what you can do about it…
You Haven’t Invested in Your Marketing
Did you know that one of the main reasons people don’t buy from some small businesses is that they don’t even know they exist? It makes no difference if you run an online business or a retail store: you still need to invest in your marketing.Of course, marketing investment often needs a lot of capital. Thankfully, it’s possible to get financial help when starting a business or through the initial stages with a startup pitch deck. Spending money on marketing can seem risky, but when it’s done right, you’ll get rewarded.
You’re trying to be all things to all people
It’s extremely tempting to try to fill every gap in your market. To try be all things to all people. And while this comes from the best possible place (wanting to satisfy your customers), nascent businesses flounder when they try to bite off more than they can chew.
For starters, the broader a target audience you try and target, the more potentially expensive and less impactful your marketing efforts will be. You’ll likely be channeling your efforts into ranking for high-competition keywords for which other, larger businesses with huge marketing budgets will be able to muscle their way to.
It’s best to focus on catering to a niche (or a niche within a niche). The more specificity you have, the better placed you are to appeal and cater to their needs, desires and frustrations. From this point you can build a solid base of loyal customers upon which you can later expand.
You’ve taken the wrong approach to SEO
You could be forgiven for thinking that SEO is SEO. As long as you’re trying to position yourself ahead of other businesses on Search Engine results Pages (SERPs), there’s no such thing as getting SEO “wrong”. But while understandable, this assertion is actually incorrect. There are all kinds of ways in which you can make crucial errors in your SEO strategy that do your brand more harm than good.
For starters, you could be tempted to the dark side of SEO and be tricked into deploying “Black Hat” SEO techniques like keyword stuffing, duplicate content, cloaked redirects and hidden keywords. These may give your pages a slight bump in rankings. But as soon as Google’s crawlers catch onto what you’re doing it can lead to a permanent black mark against your name.
What’s more, if you have your sights set on the local market, and your using strategies designed for a national audience, you could find yourself missing out on hits from motivated local customers. As you can see by checking out https://unravelseo.com/seo/local-seo/, the local approach to SEO is slightly different to the national approach. It requires citations from trusted local sources, accurate name, address and phone number data across a multitude of local listings and incentivising reviews from genuine local customers. Which brings us to…
You’re not converting customers into micro-influencers
Your customers are a precious resource, not only is the capital they provide the life’s blood of your business, they have the potential to attract a fresh wave of customers to your business. Implement a referral scheme that gives customers rewards for inviting their friends, family and work colleagues to try your business. You can even give them rewards for leaving you positive reviews on Google, Yelp, Trustpilot and other trusted sources.
Your employees aren’t spreading the good word
Of course, it’s not just your customers who can be turned into loyal brand advocates. Your employees can also be used to spread the good word. Generous employee discounts can ensure that they also become loyal customers, and you can also incentivize them to invite their friends, family and loved ones to try your business. Furthermore, if they review you on sites like Glass Door, they’ll be able to demonstrate that you’re the kind of employer that cares about them. And that can go a long way in an era where consumers value ethically-focused businesses.
And finally… You’re operating in a vacuum
Yes, it’s important to keep your thoughts and efforts focused on your own business operations. Yes, it’s important to ensure that you and your team are consistently delivering operational excellence. But that doesn’t mean you have to act as though your business exists in a vacuum. In fact, refusing to acknowledge the presence of other business can seriously hamper your business endeavors.
For starters, the moment you take your eyes off your competitors is the moment they get the upper hand. You need to sew market research (including competitor analysis) into the fabric of your operational strategy rather than simply carrying it out when starting up. Only by keeping your eyes on what your competitors are doing can you identify gaps in the market that you can fill, or opportunities to deliver to your customers in ways that your competitors can’t.
But it’s not just competing businesses that you have to keep your eye on. You should also look for opportunities to collaborate with other non-competing businesses. This could mean anything from appearing on their podcast or writing a guest blog post to working together on a co-branded product that meets the needs of both your target audiences. This is a fantastic way to introduce your brand to a new audience. And because you’re already associated with someone they know and trust, they’ll already be predisposed to like you.
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