Four Biggest Marketing Mistakes Small Businesses Make

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Marketing is a hot topic right now. For small businesses, it always is.

This time of year, I get more and more questions from friends, clients and listeners than any other time.  We’re evaluating our successes for the year, fretting about our failures and getting ready to plan for 2014.

I had a teleconference this week on this very subject.  If it interests you, you can download the teleconference here.

I go into greater detail on the call, but thought I’d share the fast version here.

The first biggest mistake is what I call reverse marketing.  Companies will look at the medium first and then define the message or objectives.  Like the name implies this is a backwards approach.  ALWAYS start with marketing objectives. THEN decide the mediums that will help you reach your goals.  Don’t look at Facebook and ask yourself, “How can I get exposure here?”  Look at your objectives and decide if Facebook is the right fit or not.

The second biggest mistake is only using FREE marketing outlets like social media.  Though I love social media and advocate it’s use as long as it supports your marketing objectives, you should also pay for exposure where appropriate.  You should be spending about 4-10% of annual sales on your marketing budget.

The third biggest mistake is failure to PLAN.  Most entrepreneurs are doing what I call “Pin The Tail On The Donkey” marketing.  They are blindly making marketing decisions without having objectives and without creating a solid plan.  I know, I know, you don’t like the word plan, but honestly, if I’ve said it once, I’ve said it 1,000 times, “PLAN is the four letter word for success.”  Don’t shortchange your business or your future by not having a plan.  A days work in putting together clear objectives could mean doubling or tripling your sales.

I know it can be hard.  That’s why I created a tool called The Marketing Playbook.  A digital tool that helps you define your goals, write key marketing messages, schedule mediums, plan your online strategy, create a social media model that works for your business and MORE!  There is also a tab that helps you calculate your return on investment so that you know what mediums and campaigns were the most lucrative.  Until this fall, this tool has only been available to my private clients.  And for a limited time, you’re getting it for $50 off PLUS I’ve loaded it with bonuses.  Learn more and get your copy here.  Now, it’s easy and fun to plan your marketing!

The fourth biggest mistake is misusing social media.  I’ve talked about this a lot, but I’m surprised how frequently I see companies abuse the outlet.  Social media is NOT for sales.  It’s for seeding and service.  Sure, you can announce promotions and talk about products, but actually asking for the sale should happen less than 10% of the time.  There are four types of social media updates (I call them the four S’s!):

  1. Service – Provide value.  Share tips and information.  Don’t just talk about your product, own the industry you’re in.  BE the media.   Share newsworthy and valuable information.
  2. Socialize – Build a community of raving fans online.  Connect like minded individuals.  Ask questions through social media so people can share together!
  3. Sign – It is appropriate to use this as a way to share your freebies and opt-ins to grow your list.  You can also ask people to find you through other social outlets through cross promotion.  This should only be about 15% of your status updates, though, so don’t overdue it or you’ll turn off your list!
  4. Sell – Like I said, it’s okay to sell but on a limited basis (I talk more about why this is so important in the audio, so if you want to know WHY, listen here.) but make sure it’s still only 10% of your posts!

I hope as you are doing your annual planning, you’ll consider these costly mistakes.  Small changes can equal big paychecks!  And don’t forget to check out the Marketing Playbook.  The discount + bonuses only last until Cyber Monday, December 2nd!

Originally Published on StartupPrincess.com on November 20, 2013

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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