Five Marketing Mistakes Small Businesses Make

‐ February 22, 2018

Marketing, for many small businesses, is something they know they should do, but yet neglect, put off, or do not do. Marketing is a vital part of your business. Without marketing, growth stagnates and sales can be a roller coaster ride —up then down—and running a business becomes more of a challenge than it should be.

Five Marketing Mistakes Small Businesses Make

What type of marketing is best for small businesses?

Should you spend money on pay-per-click advertising for your business on Google? How about direct mail marketing for your small business? Or does a small business need to buy ads on Facebook or some other form of social media platform for their advertising?

Whatever you decide to do, I wanted to share with you the 5 common errors that small businesses make when it comes to advertising and promoting their business. Advertising for small to medium businesses is not complicated. It can seem so at first, but not when you break it down to the basics:

Advertising Mistake Small Businesses Make #1:

Not carving out the time every week to confront and handle advertising.

You should set aside one to two hours minimum every week to plan your advertising and coordinate the purchase of advertising. When your company grows larger, then hire an employee to handle the marketing for you. Having said that, even when you hire someone to handle your marketing, this does not mean you can ignore marketing your business altogether. The two things you need to pay attention to as a business owner or manager are your marketing and your money. Marketing does not need to be complicated, it only gets complicated when you make mistake #2.

Advertising Mistake Small Businesses Make #2:

Not identifying who your best prospects are for your business.

Identifying the target means you are shooting to identify the person who makes buying decisions for your product or service. Doing this for a small business a lot easier to purchase the correct advertising for your business. Billions of dollars are wasted each year on advertising because small businesses use the spray-and-pray advertising approach. This means you spray whatever advertising you can afford and pray it gets you some business in the door.

Your business has a type of customer that is best for you. By “best” I mean, you are equipped and experienced to service that type of customer’s needs, and you also make a reasonable profit servicing them.

Questions to ask yourself when determining who your best type of prospect is for your small business:

  • Who buys this product or service from you?
  • What areas do they tend to live in?
  • How much money do they make?
  • How old are they?
  • Anything else unique to your ideal customers that helps to identify them?
  • How much do they spend on your product or service?
  • Why do they buy your product or service from you? What problem does your product or service solve for them?
  • Why do they buy from you? You should ask a few of your current customers to find out why they bought from you. Your most recent customers are usually the best people to ask this question.

Knowing the above information will help you sort through the types of advertising mediums available to you and decide which is the best to reach these prospects. If you are doing Direct Mail Marketing, you can really hone in on your target market and put a message directly in their hands with little or no waste. The correct mailing list is the FOUNDATION of a successful direct mail campaign.

Advertising Mistake Small Businesses Make #3:

You do not know what your average new customer is worth.

Make no mistake about it, when you advertise your business you are buying customers. Knowing the value of what you are buying will help you determine what return you need on your advertising investment to make spending the money worthwhile. The people (prospects) you are trying to reach are currently doing business with a competitor or, because of a life change now need your product or service.

  • What is a new customer worth to your business a year?
  • How many years do they usually stay with your business?


To determine the real value of a new customer: take the worth per year and multiply it by the number of years the average customer stays with your business and that equals the real worth of what a new customer is worth to your business. The worth of a customer is never the value of a one-time sale.

Knowing this number will help you evaluate a return on your advertising investments.

Advertising Mistake Small Businesses Make #4:

Lack of repetition of your message and lack of consistency of advertising. Repetition sells.

This mistake usually occurs because of mistakes 1 – 3 above and from confusing responses from results. A response is people who may call or inquire but are not necessarily buyers. Results are buying customers.

True, you need a certain amount of response, but it needs to be qualified responses from prospects who have a need for your product, can afford it, and are ready to buy…results are really what you want. It does no good for you to get 100 inquiries from an ad and no sales because the respondents are unqualified.

People tend to go through a buying cycle for most products that range from:

  • “That’s an interesting product or service”
  • “I wonder how that product would work for me?”
  • “Wonder how much it costs?”
  • “Let’s check it out.” (Goes online to your website to you check out.)
  • “Want to think about it – don’t want to make a mistake, better shop around.” – “I’ll ask Joe, he has one, let’s see what he thinks?”
  • “This seems like a pretty good deal – will call next week”
  • “I really want it – how fast can I get it?”

The above cycle, depending on your product or service, can go from several days to several months. The point is if you advertise and hit your prospect one time you are priming the market for your competition.

Advertising to a particular audience consistently pays dividends over a period of time.

People tend to procrastinate buying today more than ever. Research of the buying patterns of people in the United States shows that most sales are made after the 8th to 12th contact with the prospect.

This means if you are buying any advertising with a “test it and we will see” attitude you are wasting your money. You may get some response, but you will always spend more than you get back, always. You would do better by stapling $100 bills to your business cards and throwing them off the tallest building in town, this is the same effect as running one ad and done.

Pick the media that best suits reaching your best customer that you can afford to do regularly and consistently – and do that. As sales come in and you have more money for advertising, buy more ads on that medium.

Advertising Mistake Small Businesses Make #5:

Buying an advertising medium because it is trendy can lead to wasted money. If you are a small business competing with larger competition the fact is, you simply don’t have the money and resources to outspend your competition. So the rule of thumb is to stay away from advertising that puts you in a big pond with all the bigger fish competing for the same food. The big fish pond mediums are Google pay-per-click, Facebook advertising, TV, or Radio. Why do they reach a lot of potential prospects? Because they are big ponds that require a large investment to be consistent enough to get the return you need and they are full of bigger competition that has a lot more money than you do to market.

You have tons of advertising choices at your fingertips, but which is best for your business boils down to 4 things:

  1. Can it target exactly who you want to reach?
  2. Can it put your message directly in the hands or in front of the eyes of your best prospects?
  3. Can it be easily tracked?
  4. By using this medium, can you easily bypass your competition and get directly to the prospect?

You want your postcards to look professional, but at the same time contain an affable message that produces a pleasant emotional reaction from the readers. Postcards that contain a brief personal message generate significantly more replies than those that read a “cool” and formal ad.

Using the above checklist will help you sort out what type of advertising is best for you.

One of the few advertising media available to you today, that you can achieve one through five above is Direct Mail Marketing. Direct mail is not as sexy as social media or Google PPC but it has been proven and it works. Your business will go directly to whom you want to reach, putting a message directly in their hands and bypassing the competition. With direct mail, you dictate the size of the pond you market in and control that pond.

We have taken direct mail and modernized it with mail tracking, call tracking, and online follow-up with Google & Facebook (because repetition sells) with an easy-to-use online dashboard that will show you exactly the response and the results you are getting from your advertising. The name of the product is LeadRX.

Call 727-536-4173 or Click Here for More Info On LeadRX!

Need help with your small business marketing? Fill out the form below and one of our Marketing Consultants will reach out to help.

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