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7 Damaging Digital Marketing Mistakes Small Businesses Make

How many social media channels do you have set up for your small business? Do you use them all? How often do you blog – and what do you blog about

Depending on how you answer the above questions, you may be making some of the most common – and damaging – digital marketing mistakes out there. Why are they so damaging? In one word: consistency. Consistency is the lifeblood of any marketing-related project. If you constantly start and stop stuff, that leads to trust and competency issues, and that just won’t do.

Nicole Krug and I see these mistakes all the time when we partner up on projects. Here’s what they are, and how to fix them:

1. You don’t have a marketing strategy

This is by far the biggest mistake small businesses make! As a result, a lot of small businesses suffer from a feast-or-famine approach to digital marketing. You might start a lot of projects and programs all at once, but then you get overwhelmed and there’s little to no follow-up. And then you’re back at square one while your audience wonders what happened to you.

The fix: You need to put a marketing strategy in place that works for your business and your goals. Easier said than done, but this step is not optional!

2. You try to use every marketing channel out there

And there are a lot of marketing channels to choose form: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram, Periscope, blogging, podcasting, email marketing, direct mail, webinars, speaking engagements, conferences and trade show – the list goes on.

The fix: It’s a myth that you need a lot of channels, so think carefully about what will work for you. If you can manage a quarterly newsletter and one post on LinkedIn per day, that’s perfectly fine. Be sure to commit to the channels you choose and use a consistent approach.

3. You fail to measure your ROI

Marketing is an investment in your business. It takes time and costs money, and it absolutely should provide a return. If you just keep doing something and have no idea whether or not it’s working for you, you’re throwing money out the window.

The fix: Set aside time to review analytics once a month. You want to look at the channels, the content, and the engagement, and then you want to look at quarter-over-quarter revenue. Is it increasing or decreasing? That will give an idea of whether or not you’re seeing an ROI.

4. You listen to everybody

There are a lot of small business owners who listen to everybody. Either you’re jumping in different directions because someone told you to, or you ask everyone to look at what you’re working on, or you’re trying to please everyone.

No matter what, each of the above scenarios leads to the same result: You end up diluting your message and spending more money because it’ll take longer and you’ll lose sight of your goals.

The fix: Stick to your marketing strategy, and do what is right for your target market and clients.

5. You don’t give a program a chance to work

Marketing takes time to work, but many people don’t give a program a chance to work before they’re on to the next thing. You can’t keep changing your mind. No program works overnight. You have to commit to it.

The fix: Commit at least six months to each marketing program you start, and then re-evaluate whether or not it’s working for you at the six-month mark.

6. Your emails are not consistent with your brand

Are you doing your own email marketing? Good for you! But does it look professional and consistent with your brand?

There is a lot of email floating out there in which formatting is just bad – weird tabs, weird colors, too many fonts, nothing lined up – making the email unreadable. Then there are emails that are VERY long, but contain nary a call-to-action. By making these mistakes, you end up missing opportunities to convert someone into a lead or a client.

The fix: Hire a designer who can create custom templates for your email marketing. It’s a one-time cost, and it’s totally worth it.

7. Your blog posts are all “me” all the time

Don’t confuse your blog with a news page! It is truly great that you are winning awards, sponsoring events, and launching some outstanding projects, but those accolades are not blog materials. They’re company news, and they belong on a company news page.

The fix: Before you write a blog post, ask, “Will my ideal client find this information useful? Will it improve their lives? Is it about them, or is it about me?”

What areas of digital marketing are tripping you up? Why?


Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash