6 marketing mistakes small businesses owners make

Today I want to talk to you about the biggest marketing mistakes I see small businesses making. This isn’t to call out businesses who are doing them, and actually I’ve been guilty of most of these things too!


They're mistakes that lots of us make and how to turn them around. If you’re feeling stuck there are other ways to look at your business, especially when it comes to marketing.



Mistake 1 - Putting all their energy into social media


Social media is amazing. There is no denying that it's such a great tool and you absolutely can grow and run a business using only that for your marketing.

But my question is, why would you want to?

I speak to so many people who say to me - ‘I just want to spend less time on my phone scrolling’


And then put all their effort into Instagram which sucks them in until they just spend all their time… scrolling. Instagram is literally built to make us spend more time on it.

I’ve been there and I still find it a challenge to stop the scrolling. I’ve downloaded an app called Forest which is really helping me stop getting distracted so I can focus on more important things.

The time I’m not spending on Instagram can be used to focus on all the other parts of my business that need attention. It’s the reason I started The Six Week Marketing Fix, to show small businesses that there are so many free tools out their designed to help you market your business. Sometimes you just need guidance on how you should be using them to promote yourself.


This week have a look at how much time you are spending on social media. Think about the return you’re seeing for that time. Be honest about the amount of time that is spent working and how much time is spend scrolling.

Now look at the scrolling time and let’s try and half that and use half on some of the other marketing strategies I’m going to talk about in this blog.


Social media is instant but these strategies are the long game and a lot of business owners don’t want to stick around and wait for the results. But if you do, I promise you it will be worth it!

Mistake 2 - You aren’t using Pinterest


Speaking of other marketing strategies, this one is the first one you could try.

Pinterest FEELS like social media but it’s more like a search engine, so if you’re trying to reduce the amount of time spent on Instagram this is a good way to transition because I think it feels similar.


My love for Pinterest has always been strong, but since last year I’ve seen the huge impact it has on my business.

Pinterest has increased the traffic to my website massively, and at one point I was getting 300,000 views a month on the account. Now with only a small amount of time spent on updating it, we’re talking less than an hour a week, I’m still getting 40,000 views a month because of the pins I created last year.

If you are a product based business you definitely need to be on Pinterest, but service based businesses, like me!, this one is for you too.

I share tips and advice, tutorials and how to guides that I think my audience will be interested in and I use pictures that I’ve already taken and shared on social media. I don’t have to create lots of extra content for Pinterest, I reuse everything that I've already done.


My pins link back to my website, blog posts, my social media eBook product page, Podcast and Instagram to name just a few places.

Pinterest is free and fun, two things that for me make marketing my business much easier.


Mistake 3 - Wasting money on paid ads

Moving on now to something that definitely isn’t free. If you have a good budget and you’re smashing ads, ignore this one, and if it’s something you’re thinking about doing it’s always good to do your research if you’re outsourcing your ads to someone else.

But for most small business owners that I work with, their budget isn’t huge and wasting money and valuable time on adverts just isn’t an option.


But when Facebook and Instagram make it so easy to boost posts and spend money on ads, is it any wonder we’ve been tempted?

I did a poll on Instagram stories this week and 89% of people who spent money on adverts said they had run an ad and then felt it was a waste of money. It was 100% until the end of the day!


Whether you’re using it to increase sales or you want more likes or engagement on that post, 89% of you didn’t get the result you wanted.


To me that just isn’t fair.


Paid ads absolutely have their place in a marketing plan, but they need a strategy and some thought before rushing into them if you want to get the best results, or even just a result that makes it feel worthwhile.

For most business owners the second thing they don’t have enough of is time, so my suggestion would be to pick 1 or 2 of the things that are taking the most time and use the money you would have spent on ads to outsource those.


Now you’re freed up the time you need to focus on long term organic reach which will be helping your business for years to come. These small changes you make now mean that the effort you put in will still be bringing people to your website in 3 years time when you’re even busier. It’s part of what we cover in The 6 Week Marketing Fix because I think that thinking long term is so important for your business.


Mistake 4 - Ignoring your email list


This mistake is an interesting one, because there are often two things at play here.


Either you haven’t found the time to start up your email list yet or…


You have started it and you haven’t sent an email out or you aren’t sending them out regularly.


I love emails and I love sending my newsletter every Sunday, but that doesn’t mean you have to. Consistency has to be right for us and for our business. Find the flow that’s right for you and get into the habit of sharing your news with your email list.


These are people who have actually signed up to hear from you. They want to hear what you have to say. They want to know what you’re up to and how you can support them and they can support you.

You absolutely can make sales by email and for very little time and often for no cost too. But it’s just so good to stay in touch with your audience and when you get a reply it definitely makes it all worth it.


So if you’ve taken the time to start growing your email list, show them some love and send them a newsletter this week!

Mistake 5 - You aren’t reusing content


When you’re busy writing Instagram content, sharing to Pinterest, writing a newsletter, creating blogs, recording a podcast, sharing a reel or just trying to write a Facebook post it can feel like you have to be constantly thinking of something new to say.


But you really don’t! Please reuse your content.


When I record a podcast it will go up on the blog section of my website. I’ll take parts of that for social media posts and the use it to create a reel, all while pointing people back to listen to this podcast too.


When you create something great don’t waste it. How can you use that piece of content to fill up your schedule for the next couple of weeks?


I will often find I have a limit of how much I can write or how many things I can say. My brain just can’t think of something new to talk about that week.


But I can usually expand on something I said the month before, or maybe I’ve had further conversations about it and there is something new to say.

Make marketing as easy as possible and take the pressure off constantly trying to find something new to say.


Mistake 6 - You aren’t having FUN!

The final and most important mistake is that you aren’t having fun.

Not every part of running a business is exciting, but there are so many ways to bring fun into your marketing.

Whether it’s exploring with reels, trying something new like a podcast or letting your personality shine through in your copy, how are you bringing the fun side to your business?


I bet when you first started you were full of enthusiasm and excited to get your product or service out into the world and then somewhere along the way that spark has faded a little bit and you just can’t find your motivation.

I felt like that too.

This podcast has always been a fun project. I don’t have a real plan for it but it was something that I wanted to do regardless of what the result was going to be.

It’s turned out to be so much fun, and really good for my business.

Try and notice the bits in your business that aren’t bringing you much joy and see if you can make them fun again. If I’m doing my tax return I have music, tea, biscuits and a reward at the end to keep me going.


It makes that task I keep putting off just a little bit more exciting!


Which of these mistakes do you find yourself making? Let me know!


To find out more about my marketing services, email me on hannah@hicommunications.co.uk.

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