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5 Biggest Marketing Mistakes Small Businesses Make and How to Avoid Them

“The art of marketing is the art of brand building.”

—Philip Kotler

If you look outside your window or take a stroll around the neighborhood, chances are you’re going to see at least one corporate billboard or any other advertisement piece. If you’re running some errands or just lying down on the couch watching TV, it’s possible that, at some point, you’ll receive a telemarketing call. If you check your social media, it’s a fact that you’re going to see lots of merchandise. If you perform an online search, you’ll encounter a few sponsored links at the top of the page. Yes, marketing is everywhere.

Yet, some business owners still fail to recognize the importance of promoting their companies the right way. In this article, you’ll discover the five biggest marketing mistakes small businesses make and how to avoid them and strengthen your strategy (and your sales).

 1. Seeing Marketing as an Unnecessary Expense

This can be considered the biggest marketing mistake small businesses can make for one simple reason: everything else stems from there. As cliché as it may seem, the right mindset is what sets successful enterprises apart from the struggling-to-keep-the-doors-open businesses. The ideal perspective, in this case, is seeing marketing as one of the most valuable factors for your company.

Marketing is what gets the words and brand out there. If your business isn’t seen, or even worse, if it’s portrayed incorrectly, your products or services won’t sell the way you expect them to sell.

A marketing strategy has the power to generate value for small businesses over time by turning leads into customers and, hopefully, customers into evangelists, boosting sales as a result. By reshaping your perspective, you can understand that well-executed marketing campaigns drive new opportunities — even during turbulent times.

As crucial as seeing marketing as a necessary ally is, it’s equally important to comprehend which tactics and approaches to adopt. This is where a marketing plan comes in handy, and this is where many small businesses fail once again.

2. Not Having a Well-Structured Marketing Plan

Even if business owners overcome the first mistake and decide to invest in marketing, things will go wrong if they don’t know exactly what to do and what steps to take in order to accomplish the established marketing goals.

For this reason, every and each marketing strategy should be outlined in a well-structured marketing plan. In short, this document serves as a framework for every marketing decision made toward achieving business goals. In general, you must ensure that the following factors are included in your plan:

  • the business’s ideal audience, or buyer persona, and exactly what they’re looking for
  • the specific budget allocated to all marketing efforts, such as building an adequate website, investing in marketing collateral, creating marketing campaigns, publishing content, etc.
  • the pricing strategy based on cost, value, and competitor analysis
  • technologies that will improve the overall strategy, such as Client Relationship Management (CRM) and Email Marketing software
  • metrics and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) for measuring the performance of all marketing campaigns, such as Cost-per-Conversion (CPC) and traffic from organic search
  • an action plan and a schedule to promote the business.

Having a documented marketing strategy in place not only helps address financial costs but also improves the quality of spending in the right channels and materials. Plus, it helps new employees to be informed about the company’s marketing strategy and follow up on past marketing actions.

3. Lacking a Robust Online Presence

One of the biggest marketing mistakes small businesses make in this technological era is lacking a robust online presence. Small companies can prosper locally, of course, but they limit themselves from leveraging the digital possibilities of being discovered by numerous clients from other cities, states, or countries and earning more. Besides, a robust online presence has many paths to help a company:

1.  Competitive advantage: A digital marketing strategy helps you differentiate the products or services you offer, besides allowing you to effectively communicate to a broad online audience the Unique Value Proposition (UVP) of what you’re selling. This way, you gain an advantage over the competition, and consumers may be drawn to your company instead of buying something from other businesses.

2.  Value generation: Another way to use the power of a strong online presence is to educate potential customers through a content marketing strategy instead of only trying to sell to them. In short, powerful content generates powerful results, and when potential clients see value in what you’re providing, they become more inclined to make a purchase.

3.  Authority increase: A corporate website helps drive authority and trustworthiness among visitors and potential clients, and ignoring this fact could be devastating from a marketing point of view. Besides using a responsive and mobile-friendly website, it’s possible to use different social media channels to increase authority and drive positive results, such as Twitter, TikTok, Facebook, and Instagram. Plus, through a well-structured inbound marketing strategy that uses SEO tactics, it’s easier for consumers to find your business online, which assists in generating brand awareness.

By establishing an online presence, you give potential clients a chance to get acquainted with your company and learn about the products or services you’re offering whenever they want to without the need to set foot in a physical store.

In fact, there is a study demonstrating the impact of online research before concluding in-store purchases, with 82% of smartphone users performing online searches related to the purchases they are about to make in brick-and-mortar stores.

4. Reaching Out to the Wrong Audience

Targeting the inappropriate audience can result in all of the other factors being wasted, no matter how great your business’ marketing campaigns, logo, or message are. It’s important to note that the ideal audience must be discovered through data analysis, not through a “gut feeling” or an unfounded notion about who the clients are. Targeting the masses is also not ideal because you end up spending more and making fewer sales conversions.

There are a few tactics you can use to understand who your customers are and the problems they’re trying to solve:

  • conduct a thorough market research
  • assess the company’s website traffic
  • create social media polls to gather more data

With online polls or surveys, for instance, you can find out about your audience’s demographics (gender, age, race, income, geographic location, etc.), discover their pain points, and create a buyer persona.

By defining a buyer persona based on actual data, it’s possible to tailor your marketing efforts to match the interests and preferences of potential customers. In turn, the marketing campaigns and collateral will become more attractive and effective, and the products or services you offer will sell more.

Reaching out to the right audience has one more perk: receiving and addressing customer feedback. Many company owners fail to realize its importance, but feedback is so good to a business that it’s almost unbelievable it’s free. If the majority of feedback received is positive, keep up the good work. Now, if many customers are complaining about one or more issues, you know you have to tweak and improve what you’re selling to satisfy customers, sell more, and achieve that coveted word-of-mouth marketing.

5. Rejecting Marketing Metrics and KPIs

Last but not least, rejecting marketing metrics and KPIs can create a fog in a company’s marketing efforts. After all, if you can’t see things clearly, how will you know if a strategy is working as expected? Ignoring analytics prevents employees from understanding what is working, what doesn’t work, and what can be adjusted to bring in the desired results.

There are many valuable metrics and KPIs to track in order to understand what’s going on, such as Website Conversion Rate, Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT), and Return on Investment (ROI). In short, using data is key to assessing the effectiveness of marketing activities and improving results.

Let’s see a practical example: suppose you decided to invest $3,000 in a marketing campaign to generate more leads and conversions for your company. You invested $1,000 in social media, $1,000 in guest posting, and $1,000 in PPC (Pay-Per-Click). Which strategy was the most effective and resulted in more profits?

Data will tell you that and allow you to adopt a strategic approach. For instance, if you found out that one of these strategies had little to no return, you can shift your marketing spending to focus on the other two, generating even more revenue.

Additionally, monitoring, collecting, and sharing data through marketing automation tools also helps you to:

  • keep up with emerging trends and adapt to industry changes, which helps stay ahead of competitors
  • make informed decisions
  • allocate resources effectively
  • promote effective collaboration among sales and marketing departments
  • create transparency and accountability among employees
  • build a data-driven and results-oriented work culture
  • guarantee continuous improvement and sustained growth

Luckily, digital marketing is invaluable in terms of measuring and analyzing information. For instance, Google Analytics and Google Search Console are helpful tools to generate insights related to the corporate website’s visitors and overall website performance without spending too much.

In short, establishing and tracking metrics and KPIs is an effective way of evaluating the company’s marketing efforts because they help to analyze actual data, which allows business owners to change their strategies to match the audience interests and keep on satisfying and retaining current clients while attracting new ones.

For starters, a good idea is to take one step at a time by following the exact order of the topics above, delegating tasks to competent professionals, and improving the marketing strategy over time according to your ever-changing business goals.

Small Business Success: A Guide To Avoiding Financial Crisis

Small businesses need to have risk management and mitigation strategies as part of their business plan. Any number of factors can cause a financial emergency, as the COVID-19 pandemic has proven, and it can be challenging to keep a small business alive during these times. In today’s landscape, where some people say that a recession is already here, this is especially relevant. There is no set playbook to follow when times get rough since different companies across different industries carry their risks and rewards. 

However, there are certain business strategies that business owners can adopt to make sure that they can avoid financial crises. This requires meticulous planning and an understanding of how the market works. Here is our guide for small businesses to steer clear of financial emergencies. 

Always have a plan in place 

It is imperative to have a financial plan for your business because this helps you to understand your income and expenses. This will help you have a record of your investments, cash reserves, expenses and savings. With a plan like this in place, your business will have clearly defined goals which will allow you to invest your money wisely. This is the first step towards preparing yourself for the onslaught of an economic crisis. 

Go over your finances frequently

One of the best ways you can stay afloat during a financial crisis is by only covering your essential costs and not spending on extras. For this, it is necessary to list down your essential requirements as well as the budget you need for them. Sticking to a budget is a critical component of financial risk management for small businesses. It is all about trying to find the balance between staying within your budget and coming up with innovative ways to market your products and services. 

It is also critical to maintain your financial records so that you can reduce the chances of any financial mishap during times of crisis. Small habits such as organizing your records correctly and neatly, and making a note of who owes you money and how much you have borrowed from investors will be very helpful in the long run. Moreover, this will give you a thorough idea about your company’s financial standing, so you will be in a better position to access whether you will be able to make it through periods of recession.

Reduce overhead expenses

Overhead expenses might not seem like a lot initially, but they can add up to be one of the biggest reasons why your business consistently fails to stick to a budget. In times of financial crisis, it is important to reduce overhead expenses as much as possible. For example, hiring freelancers instead of full-time employees can be a way to reduce costs during troubled times. 

Always have an emergency fund

Any extra cash that your business makes should ideally be invested in some form of cash reserve which will act as an emergency fund during difficult times. Savings will carry forward your company during these times, which is why it is very important to always have enough emergency expenses. For example, consider saving any extra profit instead of reinvesting the amount or sharing it as a dividend among shareholders. 

Make sure your income channels are protected

By using unit economics, it is important to find out which income channels are the most important for your business. Once they are identified, you should strive to protect these channels and secure the profits generated by them. This might sound easy, but it would involve taking a lot of strategic business decisions, such as adjusting your business model, cutting down on products that do not generate enough revenue, or optimizing pricing models. 

Pay attention to your customers 

Many businesses tend to lose sight of their customers during times of financial distress, when other things may take precedence. Nevertheless, you must never take from your customers since they are the lifeline of every business. Do not compromise on the quality of your products and your services even during financial emergencies. You may want to save on costs by doing so, but this strategy could backfire and you may end up losing customers. This will lead to a drop in sales, which can be deadly for your business, especially during bad times. Losing your customers can have an irreparable impact on your business, which may take years to recover from. 

Consider debt management and new financing carefully

It can be a tempting idea to pay off your debts so that you can start on a clean slate. However, this can affect your cash reserves, which can leave you in a fix if you experience financial issues down the road. Instead of paying off all your debts, assess which ones you pay the highest interest for, and start by paying off those first. 

During a financial crisis, you may also want to consider newer financing options. Secured business loans, for example, can be one way to go about this, since these have a longer repayment period. This will help your business particularly if you face seasonal cash flow issues. Having an established line of credit will help you sail through these tough times. 

However, before taking on additional debt, it is important to first assess the overall costs and payment amounts so that this does not result in debt mounting and simply covers up a serious systemic financial problem. 

In Conclusion

When times are rough, it is very important to make strategically sound financial decisions. The slightest error in judgment could bring your business to the verge of bankruptcy. At these times, it is important to rely on instincts, but more focus should be given to financial trends, your company’s numbers and other relevant data. 

While you cannot control the course of the economy, what you can control is how your business runs. Tough financial situations will bring lots of challenges to your company, but the only way out is to deal with them the smart way through an efficient business strategy and a growth mindset.

How to Prepare Your Small Business for a Recession


Warning signs of another recession are looming. If you run or manage a small to midsize business, you’re probably wondering what that could mean for your future. How can your business brave the uncertainty of another economic downturn?

Rather than panic, prepare.

As reported by Small Business Trends, 44% of small business owners have not prepared for a recession. While that should be a surprising number, many business owners may not be sure exactly how to prepare.

Here are some tips to make sure you’re taking the right steps to support your small business for whatever the economic future holds:

Maintain Healthy Cash Flow

One of the best ways to support your cash flow is to get paid faster. That could mean shortening the window for customer payments, but that strategy is more likely to lead to a negative perception. After all, you don’t want your customers to think you’re squeezing them because you’re worried about getting paid.

The best way to maintain healthy cash flow is to resolve late payments. That process includes:

  1. Understanding who owes you money
  2. Knowing how much they owe
  3. Providing an easy way for them to pay you

Many customers submit payments late because you haven’t made it easy for them. A customer portal can provide an easy way to streamline the payment process and ensure that you’re getting paid on time.

Cut Software Spending

If you’re using more than a single software to manage your business, there’s a good chance you’re paying more than you need to. 

cutting expenses using erp software

To prove it to yourself, go ahead and add up the total cost from all of your software subscriptions and licenses. Next, take a look at the pricing for different all-in-one business management solutions.

ERP software applications vary in their pricing models. Some have flat monthly subscriptions, per-user pricing, or yearly payments. 

When transitioning to new software, it might be best to try a monthly subscription. Don’t pay for a full year when you aren’t sure what the results will be. It’s also worth looking into whether your software vendor has a guarantee (and if so, what kind).

Improve Your Sales Structure

Increasing your sales is easier said than done. Especially in turbulent economic times. But with the right ERP software, you can put the structures in place to help your sales team do what they do best: sell. 

CRM software doesn’t just help you target specific customers and groups. It’s far beyond a database of your customers. It also helps you improve your customer retention and reduce administrative tasks. 

The right CRM system can give you insight on where your sales are coming from, how to target, and how to retain customers. If that system integrates with your other management software resources, you’ll have far better reporting and automation opportunities as you assess the financial side of your sales.

Maximize Employee Productivity

Think about the core functions of your business. In a recession, cost-cutting shouldn’t be your only recourse. You should also be looking to increase your productivity

Strategic Planning

In your business, there are many ways to express waste: time to enter data, fix errors, communicate between departments, find essential documents, communicate with customers, assess project status…and plenty more.

During a recession, successful businesses have optimized their operational efficiency. They work smartly and their customers trust them. Productivity software can help your employees make the best use of their time.


While there is no exact way to predict an economic recession, many of the warning signs exist. If your business doesn’t have the financial security of a major corporation, it’s important to understand what you’ll need to do to prepare. A large part of that preparation will include investing in new technologies to help your business power through whatever comes your way.

The earlier you begin an internal review, the better you’ll understand what needs to change, or what you need to put in place.