Common Marketing Mistakes Small Businesses Make.

Maria Grimm

Businesses, large and small, make marketing mistakes. That’s a given. But because we are all about helping small businesses, today we are focusing on the marketing mistakes we see happen to them—businesses that rarely have much margin for error. Hopefully, after reading this article, you’ll feel better prepared to go right, when other folks may go left.

When you are short on time and resources, a single mistake can set you back so much that you spend an extraordinary amount of valuable time crawling out of the hole. Here are those mistakes and, more importantly, some tips to help you avoid the expense and lost time these mistakes cause.

1. Your brand is not distinctive.

In most businesses and towns, you either stand out, or you risk going out of business. Positioning your brand can make all the difference.

Sure, there are businesses that are on every corner of the town you live in. Like insurance, drug-stores, nail salons, grocery stores, gas stations, etc… But if you want to be known and to create a loyal following, you need to be distinctive.

Your brand message should convey the reason why people should do business with you instead of your competitors.

Let’s use a nail salon as an example.

I love a good nail salon. And I would hop around to multiple salons throughout my town when I was looking to pamper myself. That was until I discovered a new nail salon called “Sweet Mia.”

The ambiance of the salon was not only Instagram worthy, their specialty was using non-toxic products. As a new mom, that was a big bonus for me!

Now, not every person will care that the salon was a non-toxic spa. But for the people who do, the salon will attract loyal customers who won’t go anywhere else.

And when my girlfriends ask me on social media the best place to get their nails done, I reply:

“I love Sweet Mia! Not only is it a magical setting and relaxing. All their products are non-toxic.”

Did you see that? A consumer (me) shared something that made their brand voice distinctive.

2. You do all the things. Not the right things.

It seems every day a new marketing channel is launched. At the time of writing this article, Clubhouse has been in the early stages of testing their platform by invite only. However, they are about to launch to the masses.

Does that mean every business should jump on the bandwagon and get a Clubhouse account?


Now don’t get us wrong. As the world evolves, so should your business model and marketing strategy. But most importantly, you need to be serving your customers where they are.

If your customers don’t hang out on platforms like Tik Tok. Don’t get on Tik Tok.

Trying to market your brand on every platform is not only exhausting, it’s also a waste of your time and energy.

Whether you are building your presence or just starting, focus on 1 or 2 platforms that you can do well. These platforms should be representative of your ideal audience.

For example, if you are a clothing brand, think of Instagram as your main platform and add an additional platform like Facebook, Pinterest, or Tik Tok.

If you are a service-based B2B company, think of LinkedIn as your main platform and add an additional platform like Facebook or Instagram.

How do you choose the right platform? Answer these questions.

  1. Who is your ideal audience?
  2. What are your goals?
  3. Which platforms fit your brand audience best?

3. You over-promote.

One of our favorite quotes is from Gary Vaynerchuk. There isn’t a better metaphor for how to create content that converts than the title of his book: Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook.

Jabs = Serve
Hook = Promote

To sum it up, what you need to do more of is serving and less selling. Sounds crazy when you are trying to sell a product. But trust us… this ain’t our first rodeo.

So many brands are throwing far too many right hooks. This can be annoying and kill any potential for engagement. Instead, you should be focusing on creating jabs that connect with your audience on a level that piques their interest and curiosity. That way, when you do throw that right hook, your listeners are primed and ready to buy.

“There is no sale without the story; no knockout without the setup.”

4. You have no marketing strategy.

Have you ever heard of a new business getting a loan without presenting a business plan? Well, it works the same when trying to get customers without having a marketing strategy.

We know. We know. Planning the tactics you’ll use, how much it’s going to cost you, and taking the time to actually implement them seems like a daunting task. And chances are you keep pushing that to the bottom of your list.

But what if we told you creating a marketing strategy dramatically increases your chance for success? What would you say if we told you that you could even create this and have a 12-month marketing plan in less than 30 days?

Well, you can! And you should.

Did you know businesses who follow a marketing strategy are twice as likely to succeed? Want proof? Give us a year to show you. (No, seriously. Do!)

“Put your energy into creating things that serve a purpose, not just likable. That’s how your marketing wins the day.”

5. You hire people to do marketing without understanding it first.

You know you need to do some marketing, but you have no time to do it. So you decide to hire someone (person or agency) to do it for you.

Sounds like a great plan, right?

The problem is you just hired someone to market your product or service without having any real oversight into what they are doing or how you can truly measure their results.

Why is this a big mistake?

There are so many “marketers” out there who can do social, update a website, or send an email. Without really understanding strategy.
You don’t have concrete expectations of what their marketing efforts can and should do.
You hire anyone who tells you what you want to hear, without knowing that real marketing results take time.
You don’t know how the entire marketing ecosystem works, so your tactics seem disjointed as a result of hiring a social media manager who has zero contact with your team that is pushing out email campaigns.

Sure, you can’t know everything. We are not telling you to be the expert. But you should know the foundations of marketing. This will help you know enough to be able to tell when you’re talking to an expert, and when you’re talking to a salesperson.

The good news is Relly can help! Until you are ready to hire someone, or even when you are ready to expand your team. Our experts and resources can help guide you to make the right decisions and avoid the common mistakes most small businesses make starting at $14.99/mo.

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