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How to Avoid Six Common Small Business Marketing Mistakes

small business owner correcting common mistakes

Marketing your small business is essential for continued growth, but the tactics you choose - or don’t choose - can make or break your business. Here are six of the most common marketing mistakes made by small businesses and how to avoid them. 

Mistake 1: Not having a business website.

A study by Top Design Firms found that 27% of small businesses still don’t have a website. Truth is, most people will find a business online before they ever go in person. Without a website, you miss opportunities to increase customer reach, legitimize your business and build strong brand reputation and customer relationships. 

How to Avoid: Prioritize the web. It may seem intimidating to create a website, but there are countless easy-to-use website builder platforms like Wix, Weebly and Squarespace. To help you get started, read our insights on the ultimate website launch checklist, how to drive more traffic to your small business website and how to sell your small business products online.

Mistake 2: Not knowing your ideal customer.

Without a well-defined target audience, you might make the mistake of trying to sell to everybody – and therefore reach nobody! Understanding your ideal customer profile helps you zero in on the appropriate marketing tactics that will best reach them.

How to Avoid: Build data-backed personas. A buyer “persona” is a fictional person who embodies the characteristics of your target customer. To build a persona, you can utilize surveys, interviews or demographics on Google Analytics to help you understand more about your customers’ buying decisions. This data ultimately will help you create content and messaging that speaks directly to your target audience. 

Mistake 3: Ignoring the competition.

You may be inclined to avoid the competition at all costs, but in doing so, you miss out on a huge learning opportunity. Keeping tabs on the competition helps you discover what works and what doesn’t for their (and potentially your) target market. 

How to Avoid: Utilize competitor audits. Analyzing your competitors’ campaigns and tactics can help you learn from their successes and failures. Competitive audits on social media also provide a better understanding of the market and where your business fits in. You can use this information to create more effective campaigns that separate your small business from the competition.

Mistake 4: Forgetting to nurture the customer after the initial sale.

Getting the sale is only half the battle – don’t forget to focus on developing happy, repeat customers. Many small businesses skip the important step of following up after a sale to gather feedback and evaluate customer satisfaction. Customer retention is vital to the success of your small business.

How to Avoid: Achieve customer loyalty through PR, social media and rewards.  A repeat customer leads to higher sales in the long run and often more positive word-of-mouth referrals. Encourage customer loyalty by offering referral rewards, thanking customers on social media and encouraging feedback through channels like SurveyKing and HelpScout so customers know they are being heard. 

Mistake 5: Failing to track results or leverage data.

Failure to track results or leverage data after launching a marketing campaign inhibits learning from mistakes or growing as a business. Analytics help your small business understand what worked well and what needs to be adjusted to optimize marketing resources effectively.

How to Avoid: Set up KPIs, use Google Analytics and install website plugins. With this combination of tactics, you can track important customer and campaign data more efficiently. This can unlock insights to help grow your small business.

Mistake 6: Having a poorly defined marketing plan or budget.

Without a well-defined marketing plan, you may find yourself spending money on activities that do not contribute to the growth of your business. 

How to Avoid: Write out your marketing strategy. Read our post, Creating a Marketing Plan for Your Small Business, to help you get started. Think through your marketing schedule and determine how to best allocate your time, money and effort throughout the calendar year. 

Running a small business is not an easy feat and mistakes are bound to happen along the way. However, with the tools outlined above, you can avoid six of the most common marketing mistakes and instead focus on growing your business. 


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