Horrifying Yet All-Too-Common Marketing Mistakes To Avoid

CEO, Founder and Manager at Hot Dog Marketing helping businesses prepare for their next phase of growth with comprehensive marketing. getty “I want my website to be simpler,” a client said to us over the phone. “Let’s delete all the subpages and just have a single landing page. It’ll make our potential […]

CEO, Founder and Manager at Hot Dog Marketing helping businesses prepare for their next phase of growth with comprehensive marketing.

“I want my website to be simpler,” a client said to us over the phone. “Let’s delete all the subpages and just have a single landing page. It’ll make our potential clients need to call us for more info.” Horrified, my team glared at one other, not knowing exactly what to say next. As their marketing partner, we felt the client didn’t understand the value of the content on the website and why it needed to grow, not shrink. 

Lucky for them, we talked to them about their goals and figured out a new solution. However, many business owners go rogue in their marketing — experimenting with ideas that lead to headaches and insurmountable branding and digital marketing issues. Before you make your next marketing move, consider these horrifying mistakes we’ve seen our clients make. 

Changing Or Removing Content From Your Website Without A Plan 

Let’s start with the first one I mentioned. I think businesses look to reduce website content for a couple of reasons: 

1. They’re low on funds/time to update their content to be relevant. 

2. They want to redesign the site and think, “fewer pages equals less money.” 

You’ve heard the phrase, “Content is king.” The truth about how we research and shop online comes down to content on your website, the hub of all your marketing activity. How far can you get your prospective customer through their purchasing journey to compel them to contact you? Can you answer their burning questions? 

My advice is always to update your content, not remove it. Removing pages can create devastating search engine optimization (SEO) issues for your website. While you can move, rename or even delete pages, you must have a technical SEO and URL redirect plan in place. These aren’t decisions you should make on a whim. 

Blowing Your Budget On A Short-Run Mass Advertising Tactic 

Advertising isn’t marketing. When was the last time you took action solely based on a radio ad or newspaper ad from a company you’ve never heard of? You probably haven’t. These tactics work best when included in a diverse, holistic marketing strategy. 

For small business owners, the biggest risk is expense. Traditional mass marketing, even somewhat targeted direct mail, is expensive. If your marketing budget is limited, it’s not the most effective way to spend your dollar because it won’t last very long. Good marketing is consistent and paced over a long period. Planning and precision are critical to long-lasting results. It’s like surgery. What you need is a scalpel, not a chainsaw. 

Investing In The Branding And Going Cheap Everywhere Else 

“Give us the brand guide. We’re going to do the rest in-house,” is a phrase we hear often. It’s a little frightening because we know that “in-house” usually doesn’t mean using a team of designers and copywriters. It usually means whoever is in charge of marketing will do their best with what we give them. 

The most frightening result is what ends up on social media. The graphics used on social media are not at all what the brand guide would recommend, or they end up looking like the dollar-store version of something we would’ve created. 

Anything customer-facing should be cohesive to your brand on a consistent basis. It matters. Your identity won’t become easily recognizable without this discipline. Branded template ideas we often suggest for clients include proposals, letterhead, presentations, social media posts and logos, featured image templates for your website images and emails. This way, you’re reducing the risk of looking cheap in your marketing materials but still empowering your in-house team to do some of the work themselves.

Ignoring Your Marketing Issues 

Have you ever stopped by a restaurant that had a minor maintenance issue? Maybe there was a crack in the wall or a leak with water damage? Perhaps some of the tiles were broken? It makes you stop and think, “How can the owner just ignore this obvious issue? Don’t they understand that it makes customers think they don’t know how to take care of their business?” 

This constantly happens with a business’s marketing. We know our clients are busy, but it’s shocking how long some of them wait before getting help. Some of the usual suspects are the following: 

• The website is a little off: It doesn’t load, doesn’t have accurate information, looks terrible on mobile, and some functionality doesn’t work.

• Ads are running, but no one knows if they’re working or if they’re right.

• Online reviews are bad or non-existent, or online directory listings are inconsistent.

• Social media posts or blogs are out of date. 

• There’s branding inconsistency across materials and online.

• They don’t take the time to move into a proper email marketing system.

This list can go on. The truth, however, is all these seemingly minor issues are cracks in the wall of your business. It’s a tile a customer trips over trying to buy from you. Every problem has the potential to create unwanted friction in your customer’s experience. It’s worth making it a priority to address marketing issues right away. 

My best advice in the new era is that marketing shouldn’t be a low-priority cost center in any business. Now’s the time to charge at full speed, at your absolute best. Stop and think twice before making devastating decisions that have long-term unwanted consequences. Find a trusted and experienced digital marketer to partner with on the success of your business. 


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Janelle B. Smith

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