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For small businesses, often with limited resources in terms of time and money, making mistakes with marketing can be a costly exercise. The key to successful small business marketing is to start small, track your results and then concentrate your resources on marketing that actually delivers.
Here we look at the top four common pitfalls to avoid when it comes to small business marketing.

1. No website
It’s surprising how many small businesses don’t even have a website. According to Statistics New Zealand as many as 34% of small businesses do not have a web presence. Some businesses think that they do not need to have a website as they are a local business. Thank again. The vast majority of consumers search online for goods and services including local ones.
Some business owners think it’s too expensive or difficult to set up a website. Think again. Simply Google ‘create a website’ and you will see that there are thousands of offerings including free and easy to use ones. You don’t need to have any great technical knowledge – even a complete novice can set up a professional looking website in a matter of hours.
Having a website is essential as without one you are missing out on an enormous potential pool of customers. And in this digital age of ours, consumers expect you to have a website.

2. No marketing plan
Another common mistake small businesses make is to not have a marketing plan in place. As Benjamin Franklin once said: ‘If you fail to plan, you plan to fail’. It doesn’t have to be an onerous task, but those businesses that take the time to plan out their marketing activities, how much they will cost and how much time they will take, dramatically increase their chances of success.

3. No record of results
If you don’t keep any record of the results of your marketing activities, then how do you know what’s working or isn’t working for you? Without that record then you are making marketing decisions based on guesswork and hunches. So whether it is tracking your goals through Google Analytics, conversions through pay per click advertising, or phone calls and foot traffic, make sure that you have systems in place to record and track the outcomes.

4. Not keeping an eye on competitors
A relatively easy and cost-effective marketing activity is to simply keep a close eye on what your competitors are doing. What marketing activities are they undertaking? Once you start tracking what they do you’ll be able to identify their successes and failures. Pay special attention to what tactics they do only once as opposed to activities that they keep doing month after month. Take advantage of their successes and failures and try to replicate the successful tactics for your business.
Get the most out of your marketing budget by avoiding these common pitfalls. Starting small, tracking results and concentrating on what actually works will see your small business getting more for your marketing buck.