“They ask themselves, 'What can this sale do for me?' and 'How can I get it', and both are the wrong questions.”

Keeping on top of the daily tasks crucial to the smooth operation of any business is time consuming, especially for sole traders and small teams.

So when diary space is found for more medium-term, intangible (but just as essential) business pursuits such as marketing, it's important to get it right, to 'hit the nail on the head' from the start.

If you feel like your marketing efforts are failing, and if you sense your valuable time slipping away without any pay-off, you need to identify the reasons, and fast.

There’s no denying the technological age we live in offers more marketing opportunities than ever before for small businesses. You can easily send out regular marketing emails to your customers, post updates on Facebook and keep creating more content.

Although despite the importance of content, context is even more important but (also) often overlooked.

Before you send your next marketing message out ask yourself 'Why? Why would people like to read this? Why would they like to share it? Is this message about you or about them?'

Entrepreneur and business mentor Bryan Orr believes the concept of marketing has become so clouded, with the focus being only on the end game (“I want the sale”), that businesses often forget the most important part of the process, which is “giving and offering true value to potential customers”.

“It's here that most businesses just talk about themselves or, worse, try to pressure customers to buy,” he says in an article on the Entrepreneur website.

“They ask themselves, 'What can this sale do for me?' and 'How can I get it', and both are the wrong questions.”

“Giving as your primary method of marketing is much more efficient and powerful than asking,” Orr says. “What you can offer to your customers is much more powerful as a marketing and rapport building tool than what you can ask or gain from them.”

Businesses need to ask themselves who their audience is, what their pain points are and how their services and products can benefit potential customers.

Knowing these key factors will help you choose which channels to promote your business. Being able to tailor your messages will ensure higher response rates and an overall decrease in marketing spend.

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