A Cautionary Tale Of Marketing For Small Business Owners
The names in the following story have not been changed, as it’s a work of fiction. But we’ve seen enough of Mike and Mandys in our line of work to know that this SBNMS syndrome is an all too common scenario. “What’s SBNMS?” you ask. Small Business No Marketing Syndrome. Symptoms include lack of customers, occasional layoffs, depressed employees, and a suffering bottom line. The good news is this syndrome is completely curable. Now let’s get to the story.
Mike and Mandy walk into our agency.
Mandy: Hi, this is my husband, Mike, (considerable eye roll detected) and my name is Mandy. We own a donut shop called M & M Donuts just down the road. We’ve been open a year and have done barely any marketing.
DMS (Digital Marketing Specialist): How’s that been going for you?
Mike: Not well.
DMS: Might I ask why you haven’t done any marketing?
Mike: Well, we are literally a mom and pop shop. We thought the best part of that would be enjoying the benefits of word of mouth.
DMS: Any luck with that?
DMS: Have you had any customers who think that your donuts have M&Ms on them?
Mike: Probably ten times a day.
DMS: I can tell you up front for free, the name has probably got to go.
Mike: I told you, honey! I told you people would think we sold donuts with candy on them!
Mandy: Don’t you mansplain me! You’re the one who put a sign in the shop that says, “It’s time to make the donuts.” Do you think THAT sounds familiar?
Mike: Hey, at least I tried something. And by the way, “Free Donut Friday” was brilliant.
Mandy: We lost hundreds of dollars that day.
Mike: I was planting seeds!
DMS realizes that this is going nowhere, so he diffuses the situation quickly with a few jokes about his own marriage and some candy on his desk – smooth move, DMS. Smooth move. With years of experience behind him, he’s able to narrow down where the few marketing efforts Mike and Mandy did try went wrong. Let’s take a look:
They Have a Facebook Page But No Website
A lot of small businesses think this is okay, and it’s also the path of least resistance, as it’s far easier to create your own Facebook page than it is to create a website. While Facebook is great for sharing photos, stories, promotions, and other ways of engaging with your customers, the goal of Facebook should always be to drive traffic back to your website – you know, the place with all of your company information, history, and more. It doesn’t have to be the Sistine Chapel of websites, but you need one – yes, even you, Mike and Mandy.
They Shunned Most Marketing Due to Time Constraints
Hi! Hey, yeah, it’s us – digital advertising specialists over here, waving like maniacs! This is what we do, so let us do it. Anything you spend on marketing will come back to you in profits. People can’t spend money in your donut shop unless they know it’s there in the first place. You won’t believe how relieved you’ll feel once you outsource this, as now you can make time for the tasks at hand. Oh, and you’re out of donut holes.
They Relied On Their Initial Traffic
Balloons, banners, and sign-spinners, oh my. You blew it out – literally and figuratively – for your grand opening, and grand it was indeed. But how has that foot traffic been since then? That’s what we thought. A lot of mom and pop shops rely on the initial enthusiasm about a new local business opening, not realizing that people are busy and forgetful. You have to remind everyone that you’re still there … yes, over and over again.
They Only Enlisted Offline Marketing Efforts
Yes, we’re sure those balloons, banners, and sign-spinners were wonderful but it’s not enough in this day and age when everyone and his brother has a nose in a tablet at any given time. Offline marketing efforts are great but you need to combine them with digital marketing campaigns to really maximize your reach and increase your customer base. Mike and Mindy could run some great promotions (Donut of the Day, anyone?) each week but if no one knows about them, what’s the point? Trust us when we tell you that people are ready for this jelly.
They Didn’t Do Their Due Diligence in Marketing
This might sound like we’re advocating against ourselves but even when you outsource your marketing, you should know the basic ins and outs of how these digital campaigns work. For example, Mike did try to hire a PPC expert shortly after the business first opened. When this expert didn’t deliver profits within a week, Mike sent her packing … with some crullers, of course. He’s not a monster. If he’d done his research, though, he would have known that it typically takes longer than that to see any sort of ROI.
Mike and Mandy will be okay with some marketing help and a bit of marriage counseling, but let this fictional tale be a real-life lesson for you. The Small Business Administration notes that 1 in 12 businesses close each year. Reach out to us to find out what we can do to prevent you from becoming a statistic. From email marketing and PPC campaigns to website development and social media management, the list of ways we can help is almost as long as the line on Free Donut Friday.