Thank you for the question and I feel this is a really important one to answer.
So for SME’s and start-ups one of the biggest issues you find is that businesses are reluctant to spend the money on creating a professional image. There are so many companies selling cheap alternatives that maybe the carrot of saving a few thousand pounds seems like a good business decision. However, as the saying goes. Buy cheap buy twice.
It is almost unbelievable how common it is for a business to create a cheap website only to realise that after a year, their “first impression” is seriously damaging their business and they have to go through the entire saga again, creating a new website and designing a new brand.
The thing is customers aren’t stupid. They know when you have spent the minimum required to build an online business and that can only help them form an opinion of your business in a negative light.
The other real problem you see is companies with incredibly low marketing budgets do not have the capital to include proper tracking of their marketing. This is potential marketing suicide as the opinions you form of your marketing can be completely wrong as you have no basis for knowing what needs to change in order for your marketing to work.
Many companies choose to market their business with one advert, start marketing, not get the sales they want and then abandon the idea claiming that the customers are not buying from that particular marketing channel and it’s just one of those things.
Yes, that can be the case but unless you are mystic meg, you have little to no chance of getting your marketing right the first time so make sure that you have budget left in your marketing to track, change and track again.
Small changes make big differences in marketing so please give your agency or even yourself the opportunity to fail and then rise from the ashes.
The other really big problem is in spending the time to add credibility to your business. Credibility is key to any business being successful. If your customer doesn’t believe you know what you are doing then how will they buy from you?
This relates very closely to a cheap website and image but many customers feel comfortable buying from you when they know others like what you do.
As an SME’s you need to spend time on simple improving your “social proof”. Simply put – get more testimonials and peers talking about you. It is all very well marketing your business but once they are on the website that is another matter entirely.
My final thought on this is about not providing compelling enough reasons for prospects to become customers. If you are selling books online, great, but what is it that you can offer that will compel that prospect to buy from you?
Take the time to think about lead magnets, promotional offerings, indeed anything that can help spread the word and compel.
“But how will I know what is compelling?” I hear you whisper. Well, the best way of knowing this is to ask. Ask your current customers, trial different offerings, get feedback. Once you have found the answer then you are in a fantastic position to excel your business forward and grow the way you want to grow, with a clear route to marketing and a lead magnet that can generate regular and continual business.
If you do not do this, then like many businesses you are simply waiting by the phone hoping that this is the day that it will ring. Try and reduce the stress, keep your hair and plan out a clear plan of action to get customers by offering something compelling.
I hope this helps answer your question and thank you for asking it.