Five Ways Small Business Owners Waste Money on Marketing

Small business owners have limited budgets for marketing, so it’s essential that they spend the money, and especially their time, as wisely as possible.  Too often, I see entrepreneurs costing themselves money and time when it comes to many of the marketing choices they make.  Here are five common areas for you to consider so you can become aware of where you may be able to make improvements in your business.

1. Sending a newsletter sporadically.

You may have the best intentions when it comes to your newsletter, but sending your newsletter sporadically can hurt you worse than not sending one at all.   Having a newsletter is one channel that you need to be fully in or fully out.  Doing it halfway makes you look inconsistent, which could translate in clients’ eyes to how you deliver your services.  You don’t want that.

If you decide to send a newsletter, set up a schedule at the beginning of the year, decide what you’re going to send out and when, and stick with it.  Write multiple articles at once or purchase a client newsletter to fill your content.

Keep the newsletter short.  It’s better to make one or two quick, relevant comments than it is to write a novel each time.  Above all, be consistent.

2. Networking with no follow-up.

I see small business owners drive all the way across town after they’ve gotten all dressed up to attend the networking event.  They are cordial, collect business cards, and go home all excited.  A week later, the stack of business cards is still on the desk, untouched.

Sound familiar?  We’ve all done it.  The problem is, all that time you spent at the networking meeting was a total waste.  Worse is when you don’t think you get any business from networking.

Two tips will help you get more out of your networking efforts:  1) Make sure you’re attending events that have the highest concentration of your ideal client, and 2) Follow-up: design, implement, and stick with a follow-up system to nurture the relationships you’ve begun.  Occasionally you’ll get lucky with a one-night stand, but more often, the prospect will buy after several interactions with you as trust builds.

3. A website with no search engine optimization.

Have you ever spent a bunch of time designing, writing, and printing a beautiful brochure, but then didn’t send it out?  That’s what happens if you don’t get your web site optimized.  Often a webmaster has only one of the multiple skills needed to get you online business:  they are graphics designers, technology wizards, or marketers.  All three are important, but the marketer is going to put money in your pocket, so be sure you don’t overlook this piece of the project.

Don’t assume you can check it off your list hat you go t your web site finished.  It’s a constant project to keep your website ranking high for the keywords your prospects are keying in to find services like yours.

4. Abandoned social media accounts.

I’m sure you’ve heard the many amazing stories about social media and its possibilities.  It is a wonderful new channel, but it’s like all the others; it takes time to build profiles that generate results.  I see many entrepreneurs open multiple accounts that have one to two friends each.  That doesn’t make you look too good.

Be sure you have the time to dedicate to learning this new channel until you can hand it off to your staff.  It’s better not to list social media accounts until they have hundreds of followers.  You’ll need to spend time on a consistent basis posting great content, building your following, and interacting personally in order to get results from this channel.

5. Spreading yourself too thin across too many marketing channels.

Is there a trend forming here?  Yes.  Many entrepreneurs have dabbled in too many marketing channels without going deeper into a few that could really pay back for them.

If you haven’t gotten good results from marketing channels, it might not be the channel.  It might be that you have given up too soon, you haven’t hired the right person, or you might be listening to the wrong advice.  Try going deeper in the core channels that are really important, and see if your results begin to change.