April 17, 2019

Three Common Marketing Mistakes Small Businesses Make

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Do you ever wonder why people think of your business as a “best-kept secret?” Are you frustrated because you can’t seem to connect with new customers?

three common marketing mistakes business owners make

Think about your strategy, messaging, and marketing. When small businesses owners get busy, it’s easy to overlook the marketing and messaging practices that will help them grow their business.

Are you making these three common marketing mistakes?

1. Starting with Tactics Instead of Messaging

Two organizations asked us to help them clarify their messaging after issuing RFPs for or beginning new website projects.

In everyday language, we call this, “putting the cart before the horse.”

When we asked why you would begin with the medium instead of the message, one marketing director commented, “We assumed that if we’re commissioning a new website, the agency will develop new messaging and it will work itself out.”

What kind of communications or business planning is that?  It sounds like a vague hope that developing a website will result in the foundational brand messaging that will help their organization grow.


32% of marketers reinvent their communications planning process every time.  Don’t be a statistic.  Download our Modern Marketing Guide today.


2. Talking about Your Successes instead of Your Customer’s Problems

When you make your organization the hero of your messaging instead of focusing on your customer's problems and how you are uniquely positioned to solve them, your customers stop listening.

Several high-profile organizations in our region recently won awards.  A significant part of their messaging places all the attention on their success, as if to say. "We’re awesome, and that’s why you should buy from us." 

When your messaging and marketing focuses on your accomplishments instead of your customers, their problems, and how you can help them make their life better, your marketing is the equivalent of talking to yourself.  At best, your marketing becomes the equivalent of a photographic selfie.

The first thing to remember in marketing is, “It’s not about you.”  If your messaging is self-centered, you’re wasting your money because your customers aren’t listening.  Don’t be the boor at the party who isn’t interested in the people you’re seeking to attract, inspire, and engage.


Don’t leave your message to chance.  Discover the messaging framework that will help you clarify your messaging and fuel new business growth.


3. Your Messaging is Vague and Confusing

While driving through Michigan, I saw a billboard with this messaging:

Headline at the top: Like corned beef loves marble rye.
Subhead at the lower left: We love to help.
Logo: Placed in the bottom right corner.

Do you have any idea about what this financial institution is talking?  What do corned beef and marble rye have to do with banking?

The lesson: Don’t confuse your customers.  When your messaging is vague or trying to be clever, it’s confusing.  When your customers are confused about how you help them solve their problems, they don’t care — and they don’t buy.

If your marketing suffers from one of these three mistakes, you’re losing sales and wasting money.


You deserve better.  Contact Aespire so you can stop wasting money on marketing and be a confident business owner so your business grows.

If you’re not ready to hire an agency, the StoryBrand Online Marketing Course might be just right for you. Sign up today to learn how to build better websites, write effective emails, sharpen your elevator pitch, and market your small business.

Photo by Cristi Tohatan on Unsplash

Are you wasting money on marketing?

Give Aespire a call today to create clear messaging that helps your website, email, sales team, and marketing actually grow your business.