7 Digital Marketing Mistakes Small Business Owners Make

7 Digital Marketing Mistakes Small Business Owners Make

Having a digital marketing strategy is an essential part of promoting your small business and growing sales. Yet too often small business owners try new marketing tactics without measuring the results and knowing how it aligns with their goals.

Here are seven mistakes small business owners make with digital marketing, and how to avoid or correct them.

  • Lack of a digital marketing budget
  • Inadequate knowledge of the target audience 
  • Focus on Likes and Follower Count, Not Conversions
  • Product niche definition and differentiation
  • Failing to Track Results 
  • Paying too little or too much attention to the competition
  • Ignoring critics 

Lack of a digital marketing budget

Digital marketing allows small businesses to compete using a much smaller advertising budget, which when managed effectively, gives them laser-focused control over where and how they spend their money.

Your budget should outline the specific allocation of money, for things like website design and maintenance, inbound marketing, marketing collateral, paid ads, logo design e.t.c. 

Inadequate knowledge of the target audience (Spreading yourself thin on many platforms)

It is great to market to a lot of people to gain exposure but it is also unproductive marketing if it’s to everyone, because no matter how great your messaging, logo or ad campaigns are, if you’re targeting the wrong audience, you’re flushing money down the toilet.

Spend time getting to understand who your customers are, their income, what they spend their money on and what problem they were trying to solve when they found you. 

As small business owners, it’s better to know where your leads and customers are, rather than playing your chances. It’s important to know and understand your audience, so you can choose the right social media channels that will work best for you.

While being on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Pinterest, and all other online networks seem exciting, doing so will be a waste of your time and resources. So it is wise to research the platforms and their users and find out which social media works best for your business. 

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Focusing on Likes and Follower Count, and not Conversions

If you have ten thousand followers and a quarter of them have never interacted with your brand or bought from you, you have not built a successful brand.

Therefore,  instead of focusing on your followers and likes counts, focus on your conversion rates. How many of your followers and non-followers have turned into your customers? What percentage interacted significantly with your brand through your social media pages or website?

These include page visitors filling out contact forms, setting meeting appointments, calling your support team, or making inquiries or requests. So apart from offering quality products or valuable services, here are other ways to boost your conversion rates:

  • Use effective calls-to-action (CTA)
  • Create relevant posts with high-quality images and videos
  • Make your content mobile-friendly
  • Track your metrics diligently

Product-niche definition and differentiation

It’s rare that a business creates its own category or a product or service that’s never been seen before. In most markets, small businesses face competition, which is why they need to communicate their unique value proposition: why they are different. 

You need a solid reason that’s easy to explain and gives people an obvious reason to do business with you instead of your competitors. In order to market your business effectively, you need to identify what sets you apart from the competition.

Failing to Track Results

Digital marketing campaigns fail when they are not monitored effectively. Monitoring your digital marketing results is an important step in knowing whether your strategy was successful or not.

If you don’t track your numbers, you can’t know what’s working and what needs to be optimized. If you’re not paying attention to your metrics – whether it’s page traffic, paid ads results, leads, or conversions – you might end up wasting and losing money. You also miss out on the opportunity to learn from your errors or to improve future strategies.

Paying Too Little or Too Much Attention to Competition

Keep abreast of what your competitors are doing for marketing and study their efforts, you’ll see which of those initiatives succeeds or fails. While you want to differentiate your business from others, there’s a lot that you can learn from your competitors. That’s why it’s useful that you know what efforts they’re investing in online, including their strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities that they may not be addressing.

By being attentive to the competition’s marketing efforts, you can learn from their successes and failures and best allocate your marketing resources to find new customers. However, this doesn’t mean that you should just mirror what they’re doing. It’s highly possible that what you’re seeing them do is only a part of their overall plan and they may be running on a different business model, lower costs or higher profit margins which may not be applicable to your business at the moment.

Ignoring critics 

Research shows that nearly 70% of consumers check out customer reviews prior to purchasing a product or service. A way to demonstrate a high degree of brand integrity is to answer online complaints timely and properly.

Your brand should see complaints as an opportunity to improve and be better. Customers can interpret the removal of negative comments as an attempt to dodge serious shortcomings in the brand’s customer experience making your brand seem untrustworthy.


For small business owners that want to grow their brand, digital marketing is vital – crucial, even. There is a thin line between success and failure for any small business, by avoiding or correcting these seven mistakes and having a sound marketing strategy in place you will be able to reach more customers and grow profitably.

If you need help or guidance in improving your digital marketing strategy, simply Contact Us, We’d be happy to assist.

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