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Small business marketing is a critical piece to growth but it is often misunderstood. This often leads to failed attempts, as well as unrealistic expectations of how it all works and how it will affect a small business’ bottom line.

The following is a list of 5 misconceptions I have come across frequently in my work with helping small businesses grow. It’s by no means a comprehensive list, but hopefully this will help you gain a better understanding of what marketing does and how it works.

Misconception #1: Marketing magic happens overnight

Oh, if only this were true! You have no idea how much I would love to be able to give my clients overnight success through marketing. But, sadly, that’s not the case. When planting a garden, the plants don’t spring up overnight. A lot happens beneath the surface of the soil before the plant begins to emerge and grow above ground.

The same is true for marketing. It takes time and experimentation to find the right combination of strategy and execution for long term growth. That’s what we are after – long term growth that is sustainable and continues to provide greater and greater results over time. We don’t want a quick fix that provides a temporary spike in returns and then fizzles out.

Misconception #2: You can set it and forget it

Again, in a perfect world, you’d be able to create an email nurture or build a website and just let it ride and roll in the results. In reality, though, marketing takes constant monitoring and pivoting based on results.

Additionally, marketing is a moving target. Search algorithms are constantly changing, making it necessary to stay on top of your SEO. Marketing technology is evolving at a rapid pace, so it’s critical to stay up to date on all of the latest developments and best practices. And, finally, people change. The words they respond to, the places they lurk are always changing.

[bctt tweet=”To be competitive means to be proactive!” via=”no”]

Misconception #3: It’s all about you and what you’re selling

Marketing and selling are two completely different animals. While you want your marketing to end up in sales, the key to marketing is developing a trustworthy relationship. Consumers these days are highly skeptical, and rightly so. With so much demand for our attention, along with scammy products and services out there, you have to prove you’re legit and that you want to help your customers improve their life somehow.

That involves listening, not talking. Here’s an example. We all have that one friend or acquaintance that, when having a conversation, immediately makes the whole thing about him or herself. We don’t want to be that guy/girl. We want to be the listener who engages in conscious dialogue.

Only then will your audience realize that you have their best interest in mind, and that is what will make them more likely to buy your product or services.

Misconception #4 – It’s a waste of money

This misconception ties in with number 1 in a way, because often businesses will see that they aren’t getting instant ROI from their marketing, and will proclaim it as a waste of money and refuse to pursue it any further. However, how you invest in your small business marketing is a reflection of how you view your business. If you believe that investing in marketing isn’t worth it, then ultimately you are saying that investing in your own business is a waste.

If you truly believe in your business and what you are offering, wouldn’t you want to promote it?

Misconception #5 – You can do it yourself

Most of the time, when you have an issue, you turn to a professional for help. For example, when you have a major plumbing problem, you call a plumber. If you need your car fixed, you take it to a mechanic. But in the realm of small business marketing, this isn’t always the case. Rather than contact a professional, business owners will try to tackle their marketing themselves.

I get it, funds are limited and sometimes you are bootstrapping, so investing in outside consultants doesn’t seem feasible. However, think about all of the time you are spending running your business. You no doubt wear multiple hats already, and, given the fact that marketing is something that needs constant attention, you really won’t be getting as much out of your efforts as you would if you outsourced it to a professional. A little investment in hiring a marketing professional not only will help your marketing efforts to be more effective, it will free up your time to properly serve your customer base.

Marketing is a necessary piece of the business growth puzzle. However, these misconceptions make it difficult to achieve success and in the long run only limit your opportunities and potential for growth. Marketing, when executed correctly, will provide your business long term returns and success.

I offer small business marketing and fully understand the time and financial limitations that comes with being an entrepreneur or solopreneur. That’s why I work with you to develop a plan that is manageable within your time and budget constraints. Interested in learning more? Contact me for a free consultation!