7 Common Marketing Mistakes Small Businesses Make and How to Avoid Them

marketing mistakes

Written by Bloody Marketing


Four months since the last blog? Yikes. Here’s a very serious and professional listicle about common marketing mistakes to make up for it. (Heads up: one of the mistakes listed here is a ‘lack of consistency’ – yes, I am aware of the hypocrisy, and no, I am not sorry).

I am, however, suddenly conscious of the fact that, in a blog about marketing mistakes, it might seem like we’re taking jabs. Like, ‘Hah, you’re doing X? What are you, some kind of buffoon?’

I promise, this won’t be like that at all. Except maybe a little bit. If it does come across like that, please don’t take it personally. It’s just me taking liberties as the author of yet another silly (but hopefully helpful) blog. And rest assured, I’m 98% certain that you are not, in fact, a buffoon.

Mistake 1: Making fun of your audience

Yeah… my bad. Nonetheless, a valuable lesson to be learned.

With that out the way, let’s move onto the meat of this blog. Will we learn from mistake 1, and no longer make fun of you, our audience? Will we continue making questionable word choices like ‘meat’? Read on to find out.

Mistake 2: Failing to define your target audience – most common of the marketing mistakes

Imagine making the egregious mistake of thinking your target audience would enjoy being called a buffoon, when actually they have come to you for genuine advice on something and would rather not be called a buffoon? That’s one sure-fire way to guarantee your marketing efforts will fail. 

Jokes aside, the most common mistake with regards to defining a target audience is to simply not define a target audience. As in, the process is skipped entirely. Meaning that whenever you do marketing, you are technically trying to market to everyone.

Please, please, please, don’t try and market to everyone. You may (understandably) believe this gives you the biggest possible pool of potential customers, but in actual fact you are just shooting yourself in the foot and you will end up wasting time, money and effort.

Because when you try to market to everyone, you end up appealing to no one. You need to have a specific audience in mind and tailor your marketing messages to them. This means identifying their demographics, such as age, gender, income level, and geographic location, as well as their psychographics, such as their values, beliefs, and behaviours.

So how do you avoid this mistake? Start by creating a customer persona or avatar that represents your ideal customer. This will help you to visualise your target audience and understand their needs, wants, and pain points. And if you’re feeling fancy, you can use market research and data to back up your assumptions about your audience.


Mistake 3: Lack of consistency

I’m actually really glad this is a common marketing mistake that small businesses make, because it means I can use one of the best words in the English language: dabble. 

You see, a lot of business owners merely dabble with marketing rather than going all-in, trying out different tactics and strategies without committing to a consistent plan. This may involve the odd social media post, or blog, or email – bits and bobs of marketing which, though well-intentioned, come across a bit higgledy-piggledy, and ultimately don’t achieve a whole lot. Inconsistency makes it harder to build brand recognition and loyalty. 

To avoid this mistake, it’s important to develop a clear and consistent marketing plan. This should include a defined target audience, messaging, branding, and tactics that align with your business goals. Establish a regular cadence for your marketing efforts, such as weekly social media posts or monthly email newsletters.


Mistake 4: Thinking Scrappy-Doo was a good character

No, you’re right, this one has nothing to do with marketing. But there’s just something I need to get off my chest – a scrap with Scrappy-Doo.

I mean, seriously, what is he even supposed to be? A puppy with a Napoleon complex? Give me a break. 

I think the worst thing is his voice – it’s like nails on a chalkboard. Let’s be real, he’s just a cheap gimmick to try and inject some new life into the franchise. The original Scooby-Doo was great on its own, it didn’t need some annoying little sidekick to make it interesting. 

So, no, Crappy-Doo is not a good character and anyone who says otherwise is just trying to be contrarian. 


Mistake 5: Marketing Mistakes Imbalance: Focusing Too Much on Short-Term Results

Well… that’s one way to derail a blog. Sure, Jack – just throw in a totally irrelevant, unsolicited section about Scrappy-Doo, of all things. When writing that section, I was definitely prioritising my own short-term gratification over the long-term health of this blog. 

Clearly, this is an issue. And so it is with marketing in general. Too often, business owners are focused on short-term gains to the detriment of long-term growth. For instance, they may sploosh (sploosh? – a questionable word, but I stand by it) an entire marketing budget on adwords before putting the necessary marketing foundations in place. There could actually be an entire blog about the uses and misuses of adwords, which I may write someday. If I can be bothered.

In any case, instead of going all gung-ho for short-term results, take a step back and think about your long-term goals. What do you want your business to look like in five years? Ten years? What steps can you take now to ensure that you’re on track to achieving those goals?

It’s important to have a balance between short-term and long-term goals. Of course, you want to see results from your marketing efforts in the here and now. But you also need to be planting seeds for future growth. 


Mistake 6: Not tracking results

What’s that – you’re not tracking results? Good lord. You may not be a buffoon, but I am starting to think you are actually a silly goose. Which is 3.5x worse. 

Why? I’ll tell you why. Because buffoon is just another word for clown, and being a clown isn’t the worst thing in the world – a silly goose, on the other hand, is a biological anomaly that is-

Right, sorry, you meant why is not tracking results a bad thing. Very well. It won’t be as exciting as an in-depth analysis of a silly goose, but alas, we need to keep things professional around here.

The reasons why results tracking is important are threefold. First, it allows you to determine the ROI of your marketing efforts. Second, it allows you to identify areas for improvement. Third, it allows you to make informed decisions about your marketing strategy, rather than taking the proverbial stabs in the dark.  

To track your marketing results effectively, you need to set clear goals and metrics for each campaign. This might include metrics such as website traffic, leads generated, conversion rates, and sales. You should also use tools such as Google Analytics and social media analytics to track your progress and measure your success.


Mistake 7: Most Uncool of the Marketing Mistakes: Neglecting your website, I guess 

Now, I’m sure you’re as ready as I am for this blog to end. I probably could get away with ending it here; six isn’t a bad number. Although, two of them were utterly useless nonsense, which means I’ve technically only addressed 4 common marketing mistakes. Not great.

So here’s a final one, but I’ll keep it brief. Many business owners make the mistake of neglecting their website. And as a result their website looks bad and doesn’t function very well. So when people come to visit, chances are they’ll be put off from making an enquiry.

Therefore, you should do the opposite of neglecting your website, because then it’ll look cool and function very well, so that when people come to visit they will say “wow” and immediately make an enquiry. 

Honestly, this whole marketing thing is a total doddle, I don’t understand why people struggle with it. Anyway, now you’re aware of these mistakes and how to avoid them, you can stop being a silly buffoon goose and start being a gazillionaire business rockstar instead.  

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