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8 Common Marketing Mistakes to Avoid

Advertising can be one of the fastest ways to market and grow your business, or it can be one of the quickest ways to go out of business. With the right ad you can attract clients to your business and increase your profits. With the wrong ad you can spend your way into bankruptcy.

To grow your business you need to attract the attention of your prospects. Advertising can help you do so, if used correctly. Unfortunately, many small-businesses owners waste thousands of dollars on advertising efforts that only achieve minimal results.

If you want to get the most from the money you spend to promote your products and services, make sure to avoid these common mistakes.

Focusing on Your Products and Services
If you want to get the attention of your prospects, speak to their needs and wants. Your prospects' primary concern isn't that you've been in business for 25 years; it's do you know the problem they want to solve. Use your ad to identify at least one common problem of your prospects and the benefit of using your product or service.

Having a Weak Marketing Message
All too often you hear ads and it takes some thought to figure out what they are even promoting. Make sure your advertisement includes a 7-10 word description of whom you serve and the problems you solve so people who read or hear your ad know how you can help them.

Using the Wrong Words
A word here, a phrase there, can change your response rate by hundreds of percent. When you spend money on advertising, first test a number of versions of your copy to identify the one that works best. Just by revising her ad copy so it was client- and problem-centered, I helped one small-business owner achieve her best month in sales ever.

Missing Motivation
Most ads miss the mark in moving prospects to action. If you want to prompt prospects to visit your web site or your store or to contact you, include an offer that motivates them to do so.

Lacking in Frequency
Some people make spur-of-the-moment buying decisions, but most need to become familiar with your services and products, and this takes time. If you want your advertising to work, you need to ensure that your prospects see or hear it regularly.

Web Sites that Don't Move Prospects to Action
Many small business owners direct prospects to a web site where they have more extensive content covering available services and products. I constantly get calls from people who have been successful at attracting prospects to their web site, but generate few sales.

Once prospects get to your web site, make sure the content and visual organization moves them to take the action you want them to. Whether it is providing them with ample opportunities to fill in your service inquiry form or including a subset of your product catalog in your web page navigation bars, help prospects move to client and customer status.

Lack of Follow Up
Sometimes making a sale requires sending a note or picking up the phone and calling your prospects. If you have an effective lead-generation strategy, prospects will provide you with their contact information and the problem they want solved. Use the web, email and the phone to follow up and close the sale.

Lack of Tracking
If you're making more from your advertising than you're spending, you're ahead. Frequently, small-business owners can't tell you which of their efforts helped bring in the business. Track each of your ad campaigns, and you'll know where to spend your money in the future, what to modify and what to eliminate.

  • Do you know how many sales and how much money you made as a result of each of your advertising campaigns?

  • Are you making any of the above common marketing mistakes?

  • What elements of your marketing should you change?

Put your marketing house in order. Fix your strategy and your materials. If you don't know what to change or how to change it, use experts to help you with strategy, copyrighting, design, PR and media placement.  

Avoid these common marketing mistakes and you'll find more people contacting you about your products and services. You'll make more than you're spending on your advertising.


2003 © In Mind Communications, LLC. All rights reserved. The author, Charlie Cook, helps independent professionals and small-business owners who are struggling to attract  more clients and grow their businesses. To get the  free marketing guide, '7 Steps to Get More Clients  and Grow Your Business' visit or write




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Last Updated 03/04/2004