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97. The Biggest Marketing Mistakes Small Businesses Make

Do you ever re-examine your life and wonder what the heck have I been doing?

This was my experience recently while going through old boxes.  What I realized is with the MANY businesses I have had, I have made a TON of mistakes.  But with every mistake, I also learned what to do and what not to do.  The rollercoaster of entrepreneurship is definitely filled with learning opportunities.

In Episode 97 of the Feed U Podcast, I divulge the 10 biggest mistakes small businesses make.

I confess at the beginning of the episode that this list was created based on some of the MANY mistakes I’ve made and learned from, but also from being able to help others navigate mistakes and turn them into lessons and opportunities.  I break down all the details in this week’s episode, but in the meantime, here is the skinny on those 10 mistakes so you can avoid them, commiserate with me or see them coming and stop them in their tracks.

1. They haven’t defined or know who their audience/ideal client is. 

Oh boy, did I make this mistake.  More than once I might add.  But getting super clear on your audience and learning everything you can about them, will not only make your marketing stronger, but it will also save you time, money, and frustration. When you figure out who you are talking to and can get in between their ears, that’s when the magic happens.  This is ALWAYS step one with my clients because as I share, even those who know their clients well will miss something important that throws everything into a tailspin.

2. They put too much time, effort, and money into being on social media.

I know so many people that jump on social media to promote their business.  No plan, no strategy, and no way to track whether or not it’s working.  Why? Because some ding dong told them that was THE way to promote their business.  Here’s the scoop.  Social media is crowded, it’s complex, and if your audience isn’t where you are you are WASTING your time. If you don’t have a plan to take them off of social media and buy something from you, you are wasting your time. Social media works, but it doesn’t work alone.  

3. They spend money on the WRONG things.

I give you the full-on confession here about the MANY things I have invested in for my business that were just plain a waste of money. Unfortunately, I am not the only one who has spent money on coaches, products, software, marketing, you name it with the intention of growing and making money in my businesses.  We all do it, but I give you lots of tips on how to choose the best places to put your money and not spend because you are sucked into someone’s magical sales pitch, inside the episode.  I also give you a hidden tip (3.5) in the episode.  Check it out here.

4. They want a quick win or overnight success.

Let’s be real.  Owning a business is work.  Can you love the work, absolutely.  Is there a magical fairy that will come and give you a million-dollar business because you asked for one.  Not likely. If you think the top entrepreneurs out there woke up one day rolling in the dough, you should probably read a few more success stories.  Lots of showing up and doing the work all while learning and growing.

5. They try to learn and do EVERYTHING themselves.

Raising my hand, yep that’s me.  But, I’m reforming.  Entrepreneurs are go-getters.  We get shiitake done. If we didn’t we wouldn’t be on this train.  But, it also makes us control freaks.  Don’t deny it, I see you trying to hide behind your shirt color.  The reality is we CAN’T do everything without burning ourselves out. Ultimately, trying to do everything will burn us out, make us feel like we are working a job again, and leave us hating our business.  We don’t want that, which is why we have to get help and offload the things we aren’t good at or that we don’t enjoy.

6. They bring a corporate mindset to a non-corporate world.

There is NOTHING wrong with being corporate or professional. But, you left that world for a reason. I see so many people struggle with success when they leave because they have NO idea how to succeed out of corporate.  They don’t know how to market, sell, create an offer, do research, or all the other umpteen things YOU have to do to have a business.  I’ve seen friends jump out and then jump right back in because they didn’t know how to propel their customer base and grow.  There is no business success handbook. We have to figure it out and realize we are all the corporate departments (just us) for HR, Accounting, Sales, Marketing and the list goes on. Which is why #5 is so important. (See above)

7. They don’t create a compelling offer that people will pay money for.

So many times people (yep me included) will create fabulous wonderful products, downloads, etc. and not realize no one wants them and if they do, they won’t pay you a dime because they don’t’ want them badly enough. We have to be smart to make it in this world. This took a LONG time to figure out (mostly because I was trying to find my people) but once I figured it out, it was like margin.  Spend the time figuring out who you can help and create from there.  Any other way will be a huge disappointment and waste of time.

8. They ignore their audience.

I get on my soapbox a little for this one during the episode, but it’s a bit of a pet peeve of mine.  Don’t bother creating or building an audience if you are going to ignore them.  First, it’s just plain rude. Second, it’s a huge waste of time because people are smart and they will realize soon enough that you don’t care enough to stay in touch. Third, you will be like a good majority of other companies out there and you MUST find a way to stand out or you will be ignored.  Showing up regularly is THE best way to stand out.  Regardless of where choose to show up.

9. They sell too soon or never get to selling.

I walk through several examples in the episode of people who have done this well and people who are FAILING miserably.  You should for sure check them out here. But, there is a fine line to walk.  Not selling too soon and not selling at all.  I’ve sucked at both of these one time or another.  It’s definitely like artistry, it takes time to perfect when and how.  Just keep in mind that you don’t want to be like the people who feel sleazy at the car lot nor do you want to give away everything for free and never give your people the opportunity to buy from you.  Fine line.

10. They don’t have a customer service process or policy in place.

You work too dang hard to earn your customers.  Bringing them on with some pizazz, excitement and extra love takes a little time.  But if you do it right, they will be raving fans and bring you more customers.  Thinking outside the box and making sure you go the extra mile to let your customers know you appreciate them will pay for itself tenfold. Don’t drop the ball once they’ve paid you. Keep the momentum going. Because as you know getting a new customer is WAY harder than selling a current customer into something else.

That’s a wrap for this week.  I would love to hear if any of these failures hit too close to home.  Head on over to the Facebook group and let me know.

What did you learn from this episode? 

Come and tell me in the Facebook Group. Not in the group yet? Consider this your official invitation to join the Small Business Builders Community in the Facebook Group. Small Business owners unite to feed each other with inspiration, information, experiences, and knowledge.

Listen to the entire episode here:

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