5 Common Marketing Mistakes Small Businesses Make

You may be laboring as hard as you can to grow your small business—wearing several hats, burning the midnight oil, and otherwise giving it all you’ve got—but you may also be shooting yourself in the foot with common, yet costly marketing mistakes.

It’s time to reassess what you’re doing right, wrong—or not at all. It’s time to reconsider what you should be doing that you aren’t and what you shouldn’t be doing that you must. Take heart, these marketing mistakes are common to small businesses—but you don’t have to keep making them.

1. Neglecting a Strategic Marketing Plan:

You can have the best products and most compelling services in your local market, but a big idea alone doesn’t make successful small business. You need to get the word out about your products and services, or you may as well work under a rock.

A Marketo study reveals companies that take the time to create a marketing plan are more likely to appreciate the results of their marketing efforts. Unfortunately, only 56 percent of small businesses have a marketing plan. If you don’t have a marketing plan, now is the time to create one.

2. Building a Godawful Website—or No Website at All:

It’s been said—and said repeatedly—that the World Wide Web is the great equalizer, but only if you have a strong website.

A Clutch Small Business Marketing survey reveals 46 percent of small businesses do not have a website. Given almost all customers look online for what they need and want, this could be a fatal flaw. And if your website doesn’t communicate to potential customers what they need to know, it’s almost as bad as not having a website at all. Invest in a thoughtful website that will drive conversions.

3. You Aren’t Doing Your Homework:

One of the key strategies in war is knowing your enemy. In a competitive war for customers, you need to understand what your competition is doing. How do your competitors market their products and services? Are they running seasonal specials? How could they be beating you to the conversion line?

4. You Are Targeting the Wrong Audience:

Do you know who your target market is? You can waste a lot of time and money communicating to and advertising to the wrong audience.

Conduct market research to determine what  products or services customers are buying from you. Then you can set out to create compelling packages and marketing to win their hearts and wallets. Without knowing your customers preferences, you can have the right message going to the wrong audience or the wrong message going to the right audience and wind up with the same poor results.

5. You Don’t Do Any Marketing:

The worst marketing mistake is no marketing. You may have a plan you haven’t executed. Maybe you know your target market but aren’t talking to it, or maybe you see what your competition is doing but fail to respond to it. Like anything else in your small business, you need to spend time on what matters most. Marketing is not the end all, but it’s a vital part of your success equation.


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Jennifer LeClaire

Jennifer LeClaire

Jennifer LeClaire is a veteran business journalist, editor and new media entrepreneur with a strong niche in real estate and technology.