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Eight Dumb Marketing Mistakes Entrepreneurs Should Avoid

Marketing is the life’s blood of any business. No amount of money management, internet marketing, human resource expertise, or social media is going to overcome basic marketing mistakes.

I don’t mean to imply entrepreneurs are dumb. But, everybody makes dumb mistakes. Here are a few I have actually seen entrepreneurs make. Maybe this reality check will help you to avoid them.

Mistake #1. Not understanding your market and buyers.

Let’s get this straight. Just because you think something, it doesn’t mean your target market thinks the same way. At the heart of genius marketing is the ability to get out of your own way and think like your target market. Research your target market often, including how they respond to colors and shapes, how issues in life are affecting them, and their viewpoint on what you sell. I recently was working with a photographer who targets women. His landing page is full of harsh colors and sharp edges. Wrong! Not what appeals to his market – women.

Understand your target’s needs, what makes them tick and the pressures they are under. There’s even a term for it, “Empathetic Intelligence.” You can read more about that at

Mistake #2. Hire an expert and then tell them what to do.

Would you hire a surgeon and then tell them how to operate? Entrepreneurs need to be smart and confident, so it makes sense that many have difficulty trusting that someone knows more than they do. Why pay someone to write copy for you, and then rewrite it yourself? If you don’t trust your expert to do the job you’ve hired them for, save your money and your expert’s mind.

Mistake #3. Dragging your feet and putting off marketing efforts.

As an entrepreneur, you need to be marketing every day. Of course, you are busy. But, at least 25% of your time needs to be spent on marketing. Trust me, your competitors are out there marketing while you sleep. If you are a procrastinator, your enterprise could be in jeopardy. If you’re a perfectionist, you are sacrificing the great for the perfect and you’re going to miss out. There isno perfect in marketing. There is only what produces results. This mistake is closely related to inconsistency, which is mentioned later.

Mistake #4. Expecting too much from social media.

I’ve been following a discussion on Linkedin about social media and the ROI from all the time (and often expense) of social media. About half of the members don’t see any return. Another quarter are delusional. The last quarter see returns.

If you expect social media to take the place of other marketing efforts, you could be chasing a will-o-the-wisp. Adopt the mentality that social media can support your marketing, push your message out and get people to events. Keep your expectations low and when something comes through you will be delightfully surprised.

Mistake #5. Forgetting that your personality still counts.

People hire people, not companies. Who do you want to do business with, a company or a person? A person, of course. In today’s world you must be charming, talented, smart, and likeable. Likeability is the least expensive, most success producing attribute you can cultivate. And, it’s free!

Likeability doesn’t always mean being soft. Sometimes we want the unvarnished truth. Likeability means being honest, dependable and real.

Mistake #6. Forgetting that visibility trumps ability.

Much of today’s marketing is aimed at visibility. Blogging, social media, inbound links, SEO and other mechanisms that increase your visibility are all aimed at keeping you in front of people. Why? Because people believe that whatever they see frequently is better than whatever they see or hear from infrequently. Odd, but true. You could be the finest plumber in American, but if nobody has heard of you, they think Joe’s Plumbing who advertises on TV is the finest plumber in America.

Mistake #7. Inconsistency.

You don’t expect to go to the gym once and get a new body. Well, some of you do. But the winners understand they have to do things consistently. Consistency helps your marketing to build over time. Consistency builds trust. Consistency makes you and your business look dependable.

To be consistent you need to schedule your marketing and hit that button over and over again. Don’t wait for the mood to move you, and certainly don’t turn on your marketing because you’re worried about money. Consistency requires you to be proactive.

Mistake #8. Thinking you can market your business for free. Growth costs money. There is very little in marketing that can be done free, although if you’re willing to do a lot of the work, it can be affordable. There are a few tools that are very reasonable and really help. Upgrading your account, for instance, can give you an enormous reach across multiple platforms for only $5.00 per month.

It is far better for you to earmark a budget that you are willing to spend monthly, than to shoot from the hip every month.

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Sometimes I write these posts. Sometimes I curate them from other sources. Either way, I hope they are useful to you.