Just Say No: Don't Make These Small Business Marketing Mistakes

Small business owners are in a crowd all their own. Unlike CEOs of large corporations, we wear many hats—from accounting to hiring, chances are, you've done it.

Whether you’re a partner at a 50+ employee company or a solo-preneur, the challenges you face with marketing your business most likely won’t get delegated to a high-paid marketing director—it's going to be all you.

The sheer lack of time entrepreneurs and focus causes many small businesses to make these classic small business marketing mistakes:

1. No Attention to Branding
Your brand is more than a logo. It is what makes you special. It’s a promise you make to your customers about the level of service or the quality of product. It’s a stance, an opinion, a differentiating factor that helps your business stand out from the competition.

So many small businesses spend little or no time developing their brand and figuring out how to stay true to that brand. Everything from your marketing materials to how you deliver the final product should be dictated to a brand promise.

Why avoid this mistake?
Over time, you want your brand to have value. In case you want to scale the growth, sell it or pass it down to the next generation, the brand is what will carry your business’s value. Take a moment (maybe a long moment) to write down what your brand means and how you’re getting that across to people in a consistent manner.

2. Using Social Media Inconsistently
If your business is new or in growth stage, managing social media marketing can be a nightmare if you’re unable to afford to hire someone to help you. Unfortunately, it’s crucial to your business. Post frequently and consistently in order to preserve your online reputation.

Why avoid this mistake?
Imagine you were wondering if that restaurant in your neighborhood was any good. You decide to look them up on Facebook to see what people are posting and discover the restaurant hasn’t posted an update in three months. Would you wonder if they’re still in business?

Your online marketing takes the same amount of consistent energy as actually running your business, and the results often reflect each other. The better your reputation online, the better your actual business’s reputation in real life and vice versa. Investing in social media is a necessity. Figure out a strategy and stick to it. It will pay off.

3. Advertising with No Strategy
I hear this story all the time. Novice small business owners have a certain amount of money budgeted for “advertising” so they hit up the local papers and unload their doe only to find zero return on investment.

Advertising is a piece of a marketing strategy. With no plan, no campaign focus, no call to action or measurable result, you’re just throwing money down the drain. Very few small businesses can afford advertising simply for “branding purposes” – meaning, they know there’s no measurable result...

Why avoid this mistake?
If you work on a marketing strategy that encompasses all of the different mediums, have a targeting strategy, and research your competitors, you may realize that paid advertising in traditional media is not a good fit. If you have a plan, you might realize your money is better spent doing something completely different.

If you’re not confident about working how to write and execute a marketing plan for your business, hiring a consultant will usually save you money and time in the long run. Plus, you will gain a helpful partner interested in the success of your business.

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