Business owners and entrepreneurs are forced to wear many hats. While being experts in their own field, they must also run a successful business, which involves accounting, marketing, human resources and many other important areas. Of course, business owners often outsource those areas or hire employees to handle them, but that may not always be financially feasible. 

Marketing is one of those essential areas to running a successful business. This blog focuses on five common marketing mistakes that business owners make, and what to do instead.

  1. Jumping on the Latest Bandwagon - Companies make this mistake when they implement a new marketing tactic simply because it is popular in the industry or they know of a friend or competitor using it successfully (e.g., creating a Facebook page because "everyone has one"). Instead, businesses should have a comprehensive marketing plan that speaks to their business goals, and then implement strategies that fit within that preconceived plan.
  2. Spending Money Without a Plan - This scenario often occurs when a vendor contacts a company selling a specific item, such as a marketing video or an advertising campaign. The vendor will make the offer sound quite compelling, making it tempting for the business owner to buy. However, such an impulse purchase not only ignores that there may be better options out there (e.g., superior video vendors, for instance), it also ignores the need to implement strategies within an existing marketing plan, as discussed above. Companies should instead create an annual marketing plan, and then research all options when implementing each tactic.
  3. Not Having an Adequate Web Presence - Companies make this mistake when they either fail to have a website or have one that is several years outdated. It is extremely important for businesses today to have a website, even if they don't do business online and don't need the online leads. Many people research companies online before doing business with them, so companies with an outdated or nonexistent website risk losing business. Nearly every company today should have a modern, professional website that represents their business well to customers. 
  4. Not Effectively Appealing to Customers - It's common for business owners, when writing marketing materials like their website or brochure, to speak in language that is "business-centric" instead of "customer-centric." Essentially, they talk about why their business is great, instead of how a potential customer will benefit from their product or service. Now, there's nothing wrong with promoting why your business is fantastic, but the most effective way to do it is in language that speaks to your customer's needs, wants and challenges. 
  5. Asking for the Sale Too Quickly - In this marketing mistake, I am referring to social media. You've probably seen many companies on social media who post promotional and business-related things all the time. Of course you want to use social media to promote your business, but you will turn customers off if you are constantly asking them to buy from you. Instead, share a good variety of educational, beneficial and interesting content, mixed in with a few promotional posts here and there.