10 Most Common Marketing Mistakes Small Businesses Make

July 12, 2021

You have set up shop and you are ready to sell. The big question now is – ‘How do you get the word out?’ ‘How do you tell people that you are in business?’ And like most small businesses, you too don’t have room for error, you do not have big budgets to allocate to marketing and you don’t have a fallback option in case your marketing tactics and plans come crashing down.

Here are some of the common mistakes you can avoid by asking yourself the following questions and help yourself save some precious time and valuable resources.



1. Do you need to reassess your budget allocation?


You have your business set up, you have a good amount of funding available, and now is the time to get down to business, for real. But like most new business owners, avoid the mistake of putting all your eggs in one basket. What I mean by that is, make sure that you allocate your budget to various marketing efforts rather than flux all your funds into one thing. A lot of business owners seem to find value in one marketing tactic and want to run with it in order to break even. But that strategy is more often than not, a recipe for disaster.

You should make a strategy that allocates sufficient budgets to various marketing efforts. We will see why this strategy is important in one of the following steps.


2. Do you track your efforts?


In simpler words, just check what is the return that you are getting on your investment. If you just keep spending money on different marketing tactics without checking the results, chances are that you don’t really know what works and what doesn’t work. This is where budget allocation comes into the picture again. If you evaluate various marketing efforts against the results it gets you, you will have a clearer view of what works and what doesn’t work.

It’s alright to make mistakes while you are just starting out. But if you don’t even check what are the results of your efforts, how will you know what is right and what is wrong and how will you ever know if your efforts are pointed in the right direction? For example: Maybe some keywords work better for you than the others, or maybe posting on one social media platform gets you better CTR than the other platform.


3. Do you know other businesses which are the same or similar to yours?


One of the biggest mistakes new business owners make is not studying the competition thoroughly. Even if you don’t have direct competition in your city, figure out brands or companies that are similar to yours and check what their marketing efforts are.

It’s rightly said that wise people learn from other people’s mistakes and you can do the same. With a little bit of fair judgment on your side, you can figure out the marketing efforts of other companies and see what works and doesn’t work for them. This will not only help you figure out various strategies but also help you see what mostly works or doesn’t work without burning your valuable time and resources. The important thing to do here is to study the competition thoroughly as you would for those case studies, back at school.


4. Are you targeting the right audience?


The biggest mistake new business owners make is thinking that their product or service is for everyone and don’t focus their efforts on a niche target group that can help them get maximum results. Is there a mismatch between your ideal customers and the customers you have? Are you putting in enough effort towards a customer retention strategy? For example: Did you open a juice bar to serve the Yoga Studio nearby but your actual clientele is a bunch of college kids who have made it their hangout spot? Well, in that case, are your efforts still going towards sticking to your old customer persona, or are you ready to redefine your target audience, look at the real results and real customers and do something to retain and grow your current clientele instead of sticking to your old marketing plan? Are you running offers for students or running loyalty programs to keep them coming? Here’s how to create a loyalty program that works.

Well, this is just one example. Your business might be different but you need to understand that targeting the wrong people can not only hurt but even completely destroy a good marketing strategy and in turn a potentially successful business.



5. Wait, do you even have a well-laid marketing plan to run with?


When we say a well laid out marketing plan, we don’t mean a 500-page dossier, we just mean that you have spent some time and written down a marketing plan for your new business. It doesn’t need to be fancy, it just needs to be on paper where you can revisit it to get a view of the larger picture, anytime you feel lost.

Most business owners think that they can save much precious time, money, and resources by eliminating the extra steps of the process. Truth be told, just like a well laid out business plan is essential for a business to succeed, so is a well laid out marketing plan, for the marketing strategy to succeed. Therefore, it is important that you spend at least a day laying out a marketing plan that you want to execute.


6. You hired a marketing team to take care of different marketing tactics?


If you did this or are planning to do this, let me tell you, you are not alone. This is another most common mistake new business owners make. Just because you aren’t a marketing expert yourself, hiring 9 different people for 9 different things without understanding how one effort syncs with the other is just going to make you burn valuable resources, money, and time. Do you need help with onboarding a team? Is your digital marketing associate working alongside your SMS marketing associate? Are they collaborating on making their efforts towards geo-targeting to maximize the result of your marketing efforts or are they both working in silos? If you are worried about everyone putting in the required efforts while working from home due to the rampant virus threat and the pandemic which still grips the world, here are some ways you can track the presence of your team.

Whether you are a part of every marketing activity personally or not, whether you know each and every marketing tactic like it’s a trick up your sleeve or not, and whether you like it or not, if you want to succeed in business, you need to understand the ABC of marketing and you need to do it consistently. You need to understand the subject enough to understand who is the right fit to handle your marketing efforts and who is not. This little practice where you put in an actual effort towards understanding the basics of various marketing tactics can put you ahead in the game and how!


7. You got a handle on all social media channels but your website is just sitting dormant without any real purpose?


Your social media posts, your scheduled posts on Instagram, and timings are perfect. You have put in every effort or are making every effort to get your Instagram game right. But are you focusing on your domain? I have seen most business owners either just buy a domain for the future or not buy a domain at all because why do that when social media will take care of the brand positioning and branding. If that is what you think too, well, you need to trackback!

You NEED to buy that domain and build your website because the website gets you the credibility you need in the market when you are just starting out. For example, You come across a certain product or a service on your handle and you want to know more about their business and their product portfolio but oops, they don’t have a website. Do you want to be that business that just lost a potential customer because they don’t have a website or a credible source of information?

Work on your social media channels but don’t focus all your efforts in one place. Divide and conquer. Maybe you would want to target different personas on different platforms. See what works best for your business.


8. Do you treat your marketing budget as an investment or an expense?


It is just about the mindset but that is something that will make a huge difference in how you run your business. An expense is something that doesn’t get you any returns, however, an investment is something that gets you returns in due time. If you have to cut expenses and the first thought that comes to you is your marketing budget, well, let me tell you, either your marketing efforts are not directed in the right direction or you haven’t been able to make marketing the catalyst that it is supposed to be in order to drive growth and sales. If that marketing budget is an expense for you, it is time for you to set the record straight and make it an investment that generates some great returns on itself!


9. Did you differentiate your business?


In the vast universe of business, products, and services available today, it is almost impossible to come up with an idea that has never been heard before or done before. But when you start a business, you do it because you thought you could solve a problem. Have the courage, the heart, and the words to express that differentiator to your customers. It is not always important to make a sales pitch to every passerby, you can just be an educator on the street, for starters. This is to say that people should find value in your business, whether it is a product,  service, or philosophy. You can start by telling a story about your brand or your product or your service. You might consider making a time-lapse video. It will help you tell the story in a fast, crisp, and interesting way. If you want to market on Youtube and make your webpage look consistent too, here is how to get Youtube Thumbnails at your convenience.

There is one more major marketing mistake you can make and that is – you Don’t market at all. Most business owners go ahead with this proposition and it won’t be very difficult to guess the fate of such businesses. You don’t need to be a marketing expert to get your marketing right. The real reason that you are in business is that you want to make sales, make money, make a brand and get popular and you want to do it right now. You just need to start small, invest smart and track what works and do more of what works for you and your business. Here are some tips to help you get started with your marketing strategy. Please write to us and let us know what works for your business and what doesn’t. Make sure to network and connect with other successful business owners to get inspired or become an inspiration for others out there.

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