Did you know that 1 in 5 small business owners don’t have any sort of digital marketing plan?

The good news is that you don’t need a degree in marketing to promote your business online these days. There are certainly enough tools out there to help you produce, publish and promote good content. It’s never been easier to do your own marketing, but it’s never been more difficult to do it well.

Where does one even start? Well, you can start by making sure you don’t make any of these all-to-common mistakes in Year 1.

Cutting the Wrong Corners

As we mentioned earlier, there are lots of free or cheap tools available for small business owners today. You can find open-source software and free templates to do nearly anything. However, one area where you definitely get what you pay for is your web hosting.

For example, you will find that many of the best hosting services for WordPress are still very affordable and they are far faster and more reliable than many of the cheaper solutions out there.

Sometimes cheap turns out to be very expensive, as you will experience customers leaving your website because it’s too slow. Cheap hosting actually costs you leads and sales.

Doing Too Much Yourself

71% of small business owners do their own marketing. Yes, you can save money by not paying a designer to create your site, or not paying a writer to write your blogs. But ask yourself how much your time is really worth.

Let’s say your time is worth $95.00 an hour as the business owner. Spending 3 hours writing a blog is actually costing you $285.00 because this blog took you away from more important revenue-generating activities.

Wouldn’t it make more sense to pay a writer a flat $90.00 to write that blog for you?

Shotgun Marketing

The shotgun method of marketing is simply blasting out the same message to everyone and hoping you hit something.

This is fine if you’re very early in your marketing efforts and you’re experimenting to see what resonates with your would-be audience. However, you will soon reach a point where that’s inefficient and you need something far more targeted.

You need to create detailed buyer personas for your sales and marketing messaging. If you can’t afford to hire a market research firm to do this for you, you can pull the information together yourself using insights from your sales and customer support team. They’re on the front-lines talking to customers every day, so ask your team for detailed insights into:

  • What questions customers are asking
  • What words or messaging they are responding to
  • What their deal-breakers are
  • Why we closed our last 5 deals
  • Why we lost our last 5 deals to the competition

Your customers may have a lot in common, but they’re not all the same. Don’t try to reach them all with the same messaging.

These are only a few marketing mistakes that small business owners may make. The common theme is that, yes, your resources are limited early on. But, that doesn’t mean you should cut every corner or take every shortcut.

Any time you’re tempted to try a marketing “hack,” take a closer look. Ask yourself if saving a few dollars right now will cost you something much bigger down the line.