7 Biggest Digital Marketing Faux Pas Of All Time (And How To Steer Clear Of Them)

Dion Herveille
October 10, 2020

The way you market your business can mean the difference between failure and success. If done right, you can increase revenue, attract new customers, and retain your current customers. If done wrong, you’ll be left screaming, “Ugh, I’ve made a huge mistake!” and trying to pick up all of the pieces.

To keep your business on the road to success, learn what digital marketing mistakes you need to avoid at all costs. If you want to avoid some of the biggest marketing blunders of all time, you have to know what they are and how to steer clear of them. It's often said that 80% of the outcome comes from 20% of your input. The same rule applies to marketing activities. But where should you focus your marketing efforts and resources? To answer this question, you should evaluate your activities and the the key performance indicators (KPI) of your business. Here are seven marketing faux pas you need to watch out for in your business.

1. Spending Too Little Time On Marketing

How much time are you spending on your marketing efforts per week? Some of you might say a couple of hours. Others might say diddly-squat. Spending too little time on marketing can spell doom for your small business.

If you want to avoid this faux pas, start devoting more time to your marketing efforts. Just like with anything else in life, you have to work hard at marketing if you want to see results.

Set aside more time to build, implement, and analyze your marketing campaigns. Use that entrepreneur determination I know you have in you to boost your marketing efforts and spend more time marketing your business.

2. Failing To Track Results

I get it—you’re a busy business owner, entrepreneur or manager who gets caught up juggling a million and one tasks at once. So, tracking your business marketing efforts and conversions might not always be at the forefront of your mind. I’ve been there, too. But, failing to track marketing results is one faux pas you don’t want to make.

If you don’t track your marketing tactics, you’ll never know what does and doesn’t work. Not to mention, not tracking your marketing mistakes can lead you to make the same mistake time and time again. Here are a the most crucial key performance indicators (KPI) you might want to (or need to) track at your business:

  • Customer Lifetime Value
  • Cost Per Acquisition
  • Conversion rates
  • Customer retention rate

3. Picking The Wrong Target

Ah yes, you just started your new business. Everything is sunshine and rainbows. Is that a butterfly over there? I remember those days. The days where you think “Everyone can be a potential customer!” If you’re still in this mindset, I’m going to kick you out of it right now.

One avoidable mistake plenty of amateur business owners make is thinking that everyone is a potential customer. Because they believe this, business owners around the world get their target market and audience all wrong.

While it might be true that your offerings appeal to a broad audience, they absolutely won’t appeal to everyone.

When it comes to marketing, you need to narrow down who you’re going to target. Instead of trying to sell to everyone, do some research to hone in on potential customers as well as their needs, interests, and demographics.

You’ve come this far. Don’t make the mistake of not getting to know your target customer inside and out.

4. Not Setting Yourself Apart

When it comes to being a player in the market, you have to be willing to set yourself apart from the competition. Otherwise, why else would your target market choose your business over another?

One big blunder is blending in with other businesses. Don’t blend into a market. Instead, diversify your business and stand out.

Take a look at your competition. How do you differ from them? What makes you stand out from the crowd of competitors? Use your answers to these questions to build on what makes you different.

Tell your target audience and potential customers what makes your business unique from all of the other ones out there. Take things to the next level and create a USP (unique selling proposition) for your business. Your USP should make your business shine and attract buyers based on your selling points.

Put yourself in your target market’s shoes when you think of your USP. What’s going to benefit them the most? What will appeal to their emotions?

If you want to avoid this rookie mistake and diversify your business, come up with an effective USP that your market can relate to.

5. Blowing Your Budget

As you’ve likely learned by now, money does not grow on trees. So, don’t start acting like it does when it comes to your marketing budget.

According to one source, you should devote 2-5% of your sales revenue to marketing. A blunder many business owners make is blowing their business budget on unnecessary or even spontaneous marketing tactics. Now don’t get me wrong. I do enjoy a little spontaneity every once in a while. But, I don’t blow through my business’s budget just for the thrill of it.

If you want to avoid this faux pas, establish a clear marketing budget, do some research on different marketing options and strategies, and track what does and does not work for your company.

Organize your budget in a document or spreadsheet. Record how much you spend—and for what—and track the results. If a marketing strategy doesn’t work for your business, don’t keep rolling with it. Instead, use your hard-earned cash to invest in calculated marketing efforts.

6. Not Having A Marketing Plan

As an entrepreneur, you know how important it is to have a plan in place. When you started your business, you likely created a business plan (or multiple business plans) to get your startup on the right track. But, have you taken the same steps with your marketing efforts? AKA, have you created a marketing plan for your company?

Solid plans are roadmaps that can lead your business to success. If you want to be the best, you have to establish a plan and (try to) stick to it. One major mistake small businesses make is writing off the idea of a marketing plan.

Take a look at this scary statistic: 50% of small businesses do not have a marketing plan. That means half of you are already making this major marketing mistake!

Let’s play a little game of “Did you know?” Did you know that a marketing plan can:

  • Help you analyze marketing strategies
  • Create a set of brand standards
  • Provide marketing direction
  • Measure marketing success
  • Help you understand your target audience and market

As you can tell from above, creating a marketing plan has a lot of perks. The solution to this marketing blunder is easy enough: write up the dang marketing plan!

7. Ignoring Your Competition

Sure, you might not like them. In fact, you probably despise them. After all, they’re going after your target audience and customers. Wait … who are we talking about again? That’s right: your competitors.

Even though you can’t stand them sometimes, your competitors can sure teach you a lot. There is a ton of information (and business lessons) you can learn from scoping out your competition. Instead of ignoring them, pay attention to what they’re doing right and wrong.

Keeping up with your competition can only help you in the long-run. Rather than steering clear of your competition altogether, conduct some research and dive deep into your competitors’ strengths and weaknesses. That’s right, folks. I want you to revisit the SWOT analysis. But this time around, use it to dissect your competition.

What are your competitors’ strengths? Do they have any threats in the market? How can you use your competitors’ weaknesses to benefit your business?

If you want to avoid this marketing mistake, stop letting your competition slide by and start doing your research now before it’s too late.


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