Marketing Issues in Small Business

Marketing Issues in Small Business

Intro by Skip Cohen

We’ve shared a lot of great content from Sarah Petty’s blog, Joy of Marketing. Here’s another gem I found written by Erin Verbeck. Erin is the Chief Joy Officer at the Joy of Marketing. She’s got a fantastic business sense and is a non-stop contributor working with Sarah to help artists raise the bar on the quality of their business!

I love today’s post for two reasons. First, Erin is using a local example to help make her point about small stuff that’s so often missed. Second, is the topic itself. So many business owners forget the demographics of their audience. For example, knowing that women make 98% of the purchase decisions to hire a professional photographer in the portrait/social categories, how many of you have websites and blogs that are more masculine looking than feminine?

Let’s head over to your blog and how many of you forget who your readership is, publishing content they’re just not interested in? For most of you, your target audience is “Mom.” Remember to see the world through her eyes and share content that’s helpful to her!

There are so many seemingly little things we all miss in marketing, and I love Erin and Sarah’s never-ending quest to help us all stay focused!


A few weeks ago I was in a cute downtown area and I saw this day spa. It seemed to have a lot of things going for it:

  • Great building (love the lights over the awning)
  • Great location
  • Good logo

All of these things are contributing to a strong brand in my opinion. Yet there were some marketing issues.

Notice the neon colored 20% off signs in the window? How is a person supposed to relax when there are neon signs in the window? Not to mention, those signs scream desperation. And if they are desperate for clients, then maybe they are skimping on other things, too. The facility may not be as clean as it should be and maybe they haven’t kept their certifications current.

While I may not be an average customer, you see where my mind goes (to unsanitary conditions and uncertified staff) – all because of the neon signs in the window. Seems like a small thing, right? Let’s have a sale and put big signs in the window so everyone who drives by will be sure to see them! This small business may not understand branding, but after reading this, I hope you do.

Every little thing you do to market your business contributes to your brand. So be careful when choosing signage for your location and graphics for your email. Think twice before photocopying a price menu or promotional piece. These seemingly small shortcuts devalue your brand and hurt you more than you’ll ever realize.

Not only do these actions chip away at the logo you invested in, the building you’ve purchased, the promotional pieces you’ve designed in years past, but these shortcuts position you as cheap and lessen the value of what you deliver. You DO need to sweat these small details when you’re in small business. It’s the difference between success and failure.

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This article was written by
Sarah Petty

Sarah is a New York Times best-selling author, highly-acclaimed speaker, author, MBA and coach who started her own boutique photography studio after working for Coca Cola for 20 years and then meeting the marketing goals of a top regional advertising agency’s clients. She attributes the rapid growth of her boutique photography studio, which was named one of the most profitable in the country within just five years in business by PPA, to the creation of her own strong brand. Click on Sarah's photograph to visit her blog.

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