Local businesses don’t have the advantage of owning a large brand. They must be strategic to maximize their visibility. 

By Ryan Kh

When customers don’t notice your small business, it is a sign that you need to make some changes. Take a look at some of the most common mistakes that could be hurting your visibility.

Having a supply chain visibility message that is inconsistent with your partners

Your efforts to boost brand visibility shouldn’t only be handled internally. You have at least a few other firms in your supply chain that can help improve your brand position.

Leveraging your supply-chain partners can be a very effective way to increase visibility. However, your supply chain visibility strategy will fall apart if you and your supply-chain partners aren’t on the same page.

The biggest problem is due to a breakdown in communication, which often arises because companies use different terminology and have different perceptions on the market. You need to communicate your goals and message to all of your supply-chain partners to ensure these misunderstandings don’t get in the way of your efforts to improve visibility.

Failing to spur organic out reach

Word of mouth is still the most effective form of marketing in 2018. A Nielsen report found that around 80% of customers rely on recommendations before making a purchase.

The biggest mistake that small businesses make is assuming that they have little or no control over customer statements about their brand. There are actually a lot of things that you can do to encourage word of mouth advertising. Many marketers emphasize the benefits of using social media contests to encourage discussions. While these approaches can be effective, the best strategies are usually the simplest. Offering customers financial incentives for referrals can make a big difference. Asking them to tell their friends or colleagues about upcoming deals is also great strategy.

Relying too heavily on social media

Social media marketing is a good way to improve visibility of your small business. The problem is that many companies view it as a substitute for traditional marketing. The Internet has not made traditional marketing strategies obsolete.

In fact, depending too much on social media can actually hurt your visibility with key demographics. If you are trying to reach older demographics, you are likely to miss out by coordinating your entire marketing strategy via Facebook. You should consider using newspaper, cinema and radio ads as well. Even if the Internet is your most effective marketing medium, these outlets can complement your strategy.

Using generic marketing materials

Every product associated with your business is part of your marketing strategy. This includes the most mundane items, such as stickers and pens.

You can’t afford to use generic materials. There are a number of benefits of custom labels, which include creating a sense of urgency and incorporating QR codes to serve other marketing purposes.

Not using data to make informed marketing decisions

We live in a data driven economy. However, many brands don’t use the data available to them to scale their marketing strategy. This costs them a lot of business, as shown by a report by Kovarus:

“Fewer than four out of ten managers use reports to make important decisions, the survey revealed. This means many investments made without this knowledge have very little chance for success because decision-makers are unaware of the most relevant factors that could influence their thinking. The survey noted that frequent problems include information being either inaccurate or not easily accessible. Nearly two-thirds of decision-makers also stated they do not have the time, technology or funding to make improvements to how their organizations manage their data internally.”

Taking a one size fits all approach to public relations

Collaborating with the media outlets can be an excellent way to draw attention to your small business. You don’t necessarily need to invest in hiring a professional PR firm. However, you need to have an understanding of the way media works to develop a successful public relations strategy.

The most important thing to keep in mind is that every media outlet has its own focus. Too many small businesses send the same template messages to every media outlet in their network.

If you want to generate real traction through public relations, you will need to tailor your message for each outlet. Make sure that you understand the types of stories that they cover. Take the time to research the editors to get a better understanding of them as well.

Ryan Kh is an experienced blogger, digital content & social marketer. Founder of Catalyst For Business and contributor to search giants like Yahoo Finance, MSN. He is passionate about covering topics like big data, business intelligence, startups & entrepreneurship. Follow him on twitter: @ryankhgb.