5 Common Marketing Mistakes to Avoid

I have seen some real blunders when it comes to marketing, and some marketing mistakes are all too common. Marketing doesn’t have to be hard or expensive, but some mistakes can cost you big. Many of these mistakes are easy to avoid and won’t cost much (or are free) to fix.

Let me share five of the most common marketing mistakes and how you can avoid them.

Marketing mistakes to avoid - broken plate


1. Thinking you don’t need a blog

Blogs are essential for good Search Engine Optimization (SEO), generate leads, and help keep your website from going stale. Even the smallest businesses can benefit from posting content on a blog, regardless of the type of business. In fact, companies with blogs have 55% more visitors than those without them.

Starting a blog is easy, and it can have the best return on investment that your business will ever see. I have posts from years ago that continue to rank well and drive visitors to my website. Share how-to tips, thoughts on industry changes, or find another way to write high-quality content that is useful. Showcase your unique strengths and reap the benefits or work with guest bloggers. The options are endless.

2. Ignoring branding and creative

Most business people know about the 40/40/20 rule. This rule states that 40 percent of a campaign’s success comes from having the right product and/or offer, 40 percent comes from having the right target market, and 20 percent comes from the design or creative. So, I see many companies ignoring design or utilizing sketchy websites to get $50 logos. But how does this rule really translate into business success?

Crappy branding and creative can really cost you. Ignoring or neglecting that 20% may cost you trust, increase your bounce rate, or get your work completely ignored by customers. It is critical to identify your target customer list correctly and identify a compelling offer; however, will a customer stop to read your copy if the webpage is ugly? No!

It takes less than a second for people to form an opinion about your website—and this comes entirely from the creative. So, that 20 percent rule just became meaningless in this scenario, because your website bounce rate is off the charts. Ugly marketing collateral and inconsistent branding can portray a lack of professionalism, poor resource management, or make it difficult to use.

The lesson here? Don’t cheap out on creative just because of a rule of thumb. Hire an experienced designer for your marketing campaigns and listen to their advice.

3. Spreading yourself too thin

Some people try to be everything to everyone, and everywhere at the same time. Effective marketing requires targeted, narrow focus campaigns to be cost-effective, at least for most businesses. Few companies can afford multi-million dollar campaigns, so don’t try to mimic the tactics of the big boys.

I like to start with a brainstorm of all the possible avenues for a campaign, and then I narrow down those that seem likely to bring the most bang for my buck. For some companies, this might mean focusing entirely on SEO. For other companies, it might mean investing in LinkedIn advertising and email marketing campaigns. Where you should market yourself will vary depending on your business type, market region, product or service, and budget.

Focus on a few key marketing tactics and get them working (or identify that they don’t work) before you move on.

4. Annoying your customers

We have all heard an ad on the radio with loud and obnoxious sound effects. Yes, I’m talking about those car dealership commercials in which the announcer yells at you to get your attention, disturbing your morning commute. It’s enough to make you put down your latte just to change the station.

In marketing, there are many things people do to annoy their customers. Yes, you CAN YELL AT PEOPLE to get their attention. But should you? It’s a fantastic way to lose a customer.

These are some of the common things I see and get requests to do… but you probably shouldn’t.

  • Spamming people who haven’t opted in to receive emails or text messages
  • Sending too many emails
  • Pop up advertising, especially on mobile devices where it’s hard to close them
  • False or misleading claims (or ridiculously small fine print)
  • Selling customer information to third parties
  • Robocalls
  • Making it hard to contact you
  • Not showing the actual price until customers have filled out a long form
  • Any type of auto play video (respect people’s data)
  • Any type of auto play sound

5. Demanding Perfection

Frankly, perfection isn’t possible. I know this isn’t a popular opinion among many professionals, but when you demand perfection, you inevitably waste time, money, and morale. Perfectionism is a path to nowhere. It is an illusion, because what is perfect to one person is the opposite to another. And to be clear, sweating the details isn’t the same as demanding perfection.

Instead of demanding the “perfect” copy, creative, or execution, always be improving. This requires lots of testing—in fact, lots of failing! How do you know what works if you’ve never tried it? Drop the ego and run an A/B test on your next marketing project and see what turns up. Then try something new again until you find something that works.

But don’t stop there. Just because something works for now, it doesn’t mean it will work in three months, a year, or five. Always be testing. Always be improving. Perfection is an illusion, and success is rarely achieved without failures along the way. Try something new, and be flexible. You’ll find more success and happiness with this approach to life.

Do you know of other common marketing mistakes?