41 Marketing Mistakes Failing Businesses Make

You want to avoid marketing mistakes, right?

All entrepreneurs make mistakes. Some are larger than others. Some will hurt your business more than others. Marketing mistakes are among the larger mistakes businesses can make.

The worst thing about marketing mistakes is that most entrepreneurs are unaware of them.

To avoid marketing mistakes, we have listed some of the most common ones below:

#1 – Ignoring the importance of blogging

Every marketing strategy should include a blog. Fortune 500 companies have effective blogs. Small businesses have blogs that differentiate them from their competition. Your blog could generate the majority of your website traffic.

To have a great blog you need the following:

  • Your own blog. Click here to find out how to start a blog. Avoid free hosted platforms because you don’t own it. They could pull the plug one day and all of your hard work could be lost. If you use WordPress as your website platform, you already have a blog. Use it.
  • Write better content than what is already out there. Write longer, better-researched content.
  • Worry less about quantity than quality. If it takes you a month to write a great blog post, post one article per month.
  • Allow your readers to comment on your blog posts. It is a great way to connect with people.

#2 – Selling too soon

It’s tempting to ask for the sale early on. The problem with that your prospect is not ready to buy yet. When you push for the sale too fast you turn a prospect into a waste of time. Hard selling scares people. There is a proper flow to selling. It starts with finding a market, creating interest, educating your prospect, then closing the sale.

#3 – Failing to build your email subscriber list

Most businesses fail to build an email marketing list. Email marketing is still one of the most effective ways to market your business. It is also one of the cheapest marketing tactics.

#4 – Slow websites

People have little patience with websites. If your site is slow you will lose business. It’s that simple. What is a slow website? Any website that takes take longer than 3 seconds to load is too slow.

#5 – Poor content quality

Most websites have weak content. There is a homepage with a list of features your visitors don’t really care about. There is a press release from two years ago, a blog post from last March. You get my point, right? Your website shouldn’t be a holding place for empty words.

Keep your content quality to the highest standard. Your content should be so good that people would be happy to pay for it.

#6 – Targeting a demographic instead of a niche

You can’t effectively market to a group that is too broadly defined. When you market to a group that is too large you will have lower efficiency. For example, if you are targeting males between the age of 18-25 you’ll be wasting a lot of money. Your target market is not well defined. You have to have a greater focus. Instead of marketing to males between the age of 18-25 you need to know more about your target market. What are their hobbies? Where do they hang out? Who do they look up to? What are their fears and aspirations? What is their level of education? How much money do they make? Where do they live? How do they make buying decisions?

#7 – Ignoring the importance of tracking marketing results

It’s one thing to know that your sales revenue has gone up in the last six months, but do you know what marketing tactic caused the increase? Businesses that succeed are excellent at tracking the results of their actions.

#8 – Going wide instead of digging deep

Lack of marketing focus will destroy your business. Just because there are a hundred different ways you could market your business it doesn’t mean that you should try them all at the same time. Focus on specific marketing tactics. Then, scale up the marketing that works.

#9 – Failing to measure the impact of marketing changes

For best results, you should always try to tweak your marketing. To see how well you did, you should measure the impact of the changes. If you changed the wording in a Facebook ad, measure how it affected your conversions. If you changed the day you send your weekly email, measure how it impacted your open rates. Measure the effect of your marketing changes.

#10 – Focusing too much on organic search

It feels great to rank number one for an organic search. But your great organic position could be lost in a moment.  One change in the Google search algorithm and your site could be dropped. Organic traffic is not everything. Organic search is only one of the many different ways you can drive traffic to your website.

#11 – Forgetting the importance of lead nurturing

We talked about how selling too early is a mistake. An even bigger marketing mistake is failing to nurture your leads and prospects. Most marketers fail to follow up. If they don’t get the immediate sale they write off the lead.

#12 – Misleading marketing messaging

It’s one thing to fail to deliver on a promise and it’s an entirely different story to mislead people.

Brands pay dearly when they mislead customers:

  • Dannon was forced to pay $45 million in damages after falsely claiming that their Activia yogurt had “clinically” and “scientifically” proven nutritional benefits.
  • It didn’t help Taco Bell to market oat filler as seasoned beef.
  • When Hyundai and KIA overstated the horsepower in some of their cars, many of their customers were very disappointed. KIA and Hyundai ended up paying somewhere between $75 and $125 million in damages.

#13 – Ignoring the importance of video

Video scares some marketers. It really shouldn’t because it is easier to do than it looks. Videos build trust, increase curiosity, boost confidence, and if done correctly, entertain.

#14 – Forget about competition

Every business has competition. The most successful businesses know everything about their competitors.

Your business can learn from the competition:

  • How they market to their customers
  • What mistakes they made
  • What works for them

#15 – Failing to believe in your own brand

If you don’t believe that you have something great, you won’t be able to effectively market it.

#16 – Saving money on the wrong things

Do you really want a free business card, oi you have to have the printer’s URL on it? Is that the kind of message you want to get out about your business? You can save money so many ways without damaging your marketing efforts. Having your nephew build your website or your neighbor design your logo are bad ways to save money. When you save money on the wrong things you create a brand you can’t be proud of.

#17 – Neglecting the importance of great images

It is true that a great image is worth a thousand words. Poor photos create the wrong impression about your business. Customers can tell when an image looks good. They will respond accordingly. Ads with eye catching images will get higher click through rates. Products with better images will have better sales conversions. Great images tell better stories and sell more products.

Great marketing images have the following in common:

  • They help you tell a better story
  • Great images are relevant to your message
  • They are unique
  • They are consistent with your brand

#18 – Making promises you can’t deliver

I am sure you could make a long list of marketing promises you have seen over the years that failed to deliver. It is tempting make outrageous claims, but they destroy reputations.

#19 – Ignoring negative keywords

Yes, there are keywords you don’t want to rank for. There are keywords that could cost you money, or lose you money. For example, if you are a web designer and you are building custom websites, you don’t want to rank for keywords such as ” free website builder” or “cheap websites”. Create a list of negative keywords, and make sure that you exclude them from your website, paid ads, and marketing materials.

#20 – Failing to do A/B testing

You can A/B test many aspects of your marketing. You can start by A/B testing your website, then move on to testing your ads. A/B test your email subject lines, blog post titles, or the effectiveness of your images. When you include A/B testing in your marketing you take the measurable approach instead of the try and hope for the best approach.

#21 – Not using your own domain

You shouldn’t use a free domain when you can own your own domain for a few dollars a year. If you are going to market your business you must own your own branded domain name.

#22 – Making use of free email addresses

I love Gmail, but you should have your own branded email address. You can use a free email platform like Gmail to pop your emails, but you shouldn’t use the address for marketing your business. Gmail. Yahoo mail, and Hotmail are great platforms, but you should use them as email clients not as replacement for your own branded email.

#23 – Relying on vanity metrics

Facebook followers, retweets, website visitors are just a few examples of vanity metrics. They make you feel good, but they don’t prove that your marketing works.

#24 – Using free website platforms

There are many ways you can save on your marketing. A free website platform is not it. There are great open source website platforms such as WordPress, but you should host it on your own paid hosting account.

#25 – Missing the importance of great landing pages

A landing page is the foundation of your sales flow. If you don’t have the right landing page of each marketing campaign, it will hurt your results. If done right, a landing page will help you get email subscribers, more followers, leads, prospects, or sales.

#26 – Automate what shouldn’t be automated

There are many social media automation options out there. They all automate what shouldn’t be automated. Social media is about interacting with people. If you have to automate your social media responses, you are missing out on the most important aspect of social media. You can’t expect results on social media if you a phoning it in. People know when you are automatically retweeting things. They also know when you autoshare things. Automated social media is worthless.

#27 – Failing to test discounts

Not all discounts are created equal. To know what works you have to test. People are always looking for good deals. They will either buy or share a good deal with their friends. Test discounts to see which produces the best results.

#28 – Wanting to get before you give

The best marketers are givers. They give you information. They provide you with facts. They help you learn. Sometimes they might even make you laugh. If you want to succeed in marketing, you have to be willing to give-and-give before you expect to get.

#29 – Missing the importance of local search

Most businesses can benefit from local search results.

#30 – Trying to be everywhere

It sounds like a good idea, if you don’t think about it. But seriously, it’s easy to create nine social media accounts, but it’s impossible to do something meaningful with all of them. Unless you have a marketing department with dozens of staff working around the clock, don’t make the mistake of having too many social media accounts. If you try to be everywhere, you’ll spread your influence too thinly.

#31 – Snubbing guest posting opportunities

Guest posting is rocket fuel for your marketing. When you guest post you enter a new world. You are introduced to a new audience. When you post a guest article you are connecting with people you haven’t connected with in the past. Guest posting is a great way to broaden your reach.

#32 – Failing to ask for referrals

Word of mouth marketing is one of the most effective marketing tactics. It is cheap. Referrals result is much higher quality leads than other form of advertising. When someone refers your brand to a friend they vouch for your business.

#33 – Being afraid to ask for customer reviews

Many companies – wrongly – are afraid of asking for customer feedback. Their fear of bad reviews outweighs their desire for positive reviews. The best marketers seek out reviews good and bad. They want good reviews to share with their prospects as social proof. And, they seek bad reviews. They know that in the long run a bad review helps them improve the business.

#34 – Ignoring newbies

Many businesses fail to focus on newcomers when it comes to marketing their business. There are newcomers in all walks of life. You could create a “Beginner’s Guide” to anything. If you are a web designer, you could have a “Beginner’s Guide to a Business Website.” If you are a personal trainer, you could create a “Beginner’s Guide to Weight Loss.”

#35 – Afraid of public speaking

Conferences, tradeshows, associations offer great opportunities to spread your marketing message. If you are afraid of public speaking join one of your local Toastmasters chapters. Once you get over your initial fear of public speaking it will pay off big.

#36 – Failing to start an affiliate program

Affiliates can grow your sales without increasing your marketing budget.

#37 – Ignoring the power of networking

After interviewing over 160 entrepreneurs, I have learned that networking played a huge role in their marketing. You might not be able to afford to exhibit at a trade show, but you could attend it just for the networking. The key to successful networking is giving before you expect something in return.

#38 – Forgetting to comment on blog posts

If you are staying on top of your industry news, you are reading several blogs. After you have read a good blog post, leave a thoughtful comment. You can make a connection with the author and the readers of the blog.

#39 – Failing to respond to questions in forums

No matter what business you are in. There are people asking questions in forums related to your niche. Find these forums and become an active part of the community. Be helpful. Answer questions. Don’t spam them with your marketing materials. If you become an active part of the community, it will help you spread the word about your brand.

#40 – Not creating your own Youtube channel

Upload your videos to your own Youtube channel. Then, optimize your videos for best performance.

#41 – Refusing to pitch the Press

Many businesses spend too much time improving their products and too little pitching them tot he Press. If there is something newsworthy about your business write a press release and push it out.

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George Meszaros is the editor and co-founder of Success Harbor where entrepreneurs learn about building successful companies. Success Harbor is dedicated to document the entrepreneurial journey through interviews, original research, and unique content. George Meszaros is also co-founder of Webene, a web design and digital marketing agency.
2017-09-13T16:25:49+00:00 September 8th, 2017|Articles, Business Success, Marketing & Sales|0 Comments