How NOT to Sabotage Your Small Business Marketing Success

Wondering if a business person would in any way really sabotage his/her own success?  Of course that sounds impossible but the truth is, many are. While many small business owners think they are effectively marketing their business, the fact is they are cutting their own throat!

It doesn’t matter if as a small business entrepreneur you’re running ads that are pulling in leads/customers. You may even be a business blogger writing regular and impressive blog posts and you’re perceived as an expert in your field.  Yet if you’re failing in the following areas, you definitely may be sabotaging your own success because successful marketing goes beyond these things.

Small Business Marketing Tips

The following are a few ways small business owners unknowingly sabotage their own success.

1. No Marketing Plan 

There is a popular saying that those who fail to plan have already planned to fail. That indeed is the truth. If as a business person you have no marketing plan, no matter what you’re doing right now you’ve set in motion forces that will sabotage your marketing success. Of course you can market without a plan but a plan will help your focus your marketing efforts so that you can make the most of your marketing budget.  So if you don’t have a marketing plan right now make sure you create one.

2. No Written Goals

Just think about it for a moment, those marketing activities you’re engaged in right now do you have a specific objective you want to achieve with them? Are your goals written down? This is another area where many business entrepreneurs sabotage their marketing efforts. As a business person you need a clear vision and a target to aim for with every of your marketing activities. That’s the way of smart business owners. They have written goals and objectives for what they want to achieve with their business and for each of their marketing activities. What more, proofs abound of people who put their goals into writing having a higher success rate than those who do not.  A written marketing goal will help you determine how much of marketing you need thereby making things a lot more easier for you.

3. Short-Term Mental Attitude

Another way you can sabotage your marketing success as a business person is in your approach to what you’re doing. Are you consistent with your marketing efforts? Do you pull the plug too soon? Are you the reactive type who, though it may appear, is doing a lot of marketing on the surface is not doing anything consistently or long enough to make any impact?

You must understand that consistency is one virtue you must learn as a business person.  Running an ad or sending out your newsletter a few times and then giving up because you received no immediate results is worse than doing nothing at all.

You should know that marketing statistics indicates it takes somewhere between three and 10 exposures to a message for the average consumer to notice it and take action.  It therefore means that having a short-term attitude towards your marketing is actually detrimental as it’s quite possible your audience may only be warming up to your messages about the time you threw in the towel!

4. No Unique Selling Proposition (USP)

Maybe placing this at the bottom of this list may give you the impression that you can really overlook this but that is indeed fallacy. In fact, this is probably the biggest culprit why many business owners sabotage their marketing efforts without even realizing it.

Why do you expect someone to buy your product or service instead of all the other products or services available to them?  Have you figured this out?

You should be able to figure out what is unique and better about your product or service, and then found a compelling way to communicate this in your marketing message. Business experts all agree that no matter how great a marketing plan may be it will be of no use if you have not clearly defined your USP.  Therefore marketing without a clear Unique Selling Proposition (USP) will only be wasting your time and your money.

How to Banish Marketing Sabotage and Succeed With Your Business Promotions

1. Develop a marketing plan – Of course this is obvious from the foregoing. As a business person your number priority should be to develop a marketing plan every year.

2. Write objectives – Write at least one objective that states what results you would like to achieve with your business over the next year.  And, write at least one objective for every marketing activity you undertake, that states what results you would like to achieve from that activity over the next year.

3. Stay the course – Check in on your progress toward your objectives every three to six months, but give your plan a good nine to 12 months to work.

4. Determine your unique selling proposition and make sure it is represented clearly and in a compelling way in everything you do.

5. Don't try to be “everything to everyone.”  Focus on a few specific benefits and a specific audience.

6. Track all of your marketing activities so you know exactly what is working and what is not working.

7. Don't rely on one marketing activity. Employ a mix of several marketing activities to reach more people more times.

8. Create a system to help you stay on track with your marketing activities every month and to help you plan ahead for future activities.

9. Create a realistic budget based on a percentage of your projected revenue, or the dollars you have available for marketing and stick to it.  Marketing is an investment in your business. You have to spend enough to make progress but not more than your business can financially support.

10. Understand your environment – The economy, competition, the strength of your particular industry, your prospects' situation.  You have to understand them all so you can create an effective plan to either overcome obstacles or take advantage of opportunities.

Take away: A marketing plan built on a clear unique selling proposition with the right objectives is necessary if you don’t want to sabotage your marketing success. A well thought out plan based on the guidelines above will ensure that your business stand a much greater chance of succeeding.  All of these activities are part of a good marketing plan. And no business that wants to succeed should be without one.

Over to you: Do you agree that business entrepreneurs need a well figured out marketing plan to succeed marketing their business online? Let’s have your take on this in your comments.

  1. The most crucial things for a successful business is planning, clear goal/target setting, and commitment. You provide some very useful in-depth analysis in many of your articles Chadrack, and this is one great example of one of those articles!

    Thanks Chadrack 🙂

    • @Christopher, it’s sometimes beats my imagination why many entrepreneurs do not think of planning for their business. It reminds me of the story about the two men who were given the assignment of cutting down a tree. One, with the mind of doing the job first, went straight off and started chopping his own tree. But the other taking his time, sharpened his cutlass and after satisfying himself that the thing was sharp enough, went on to cut down his tree. Of course the second accomplished the task before  the first.

      This all shows that planning is a crucial aspect of running a business. Put things in place and when you start you will not have too many problems. Thanks for your comment.

  2. Reply
    Dennis Edell@ Direct Sales Marketing April 7, 2011 at 12:57 pm

    Don’t try to be “everything to everyone.” is a problem for all at one time or another I think. It takes many business owners, and especially bloggers, to realize the power behind a niche.

    • @Dennis, you’re definitely correct there. From experience I’ve come to realize that this more prevelant among bloggers. The truth is that focusing on a small niche as a blogger sometimes makes you “lonely” as it appears you are the only one reading your blog. However, if that blogger will put in the extra effort to really understand how to promote such a niche blog, it could turn out to be a real profitable business. Niche-ing is truly a powerful business model.

      However, let me point out that idea of not being “everything to everyone” when marketing your business is about knowing what benefits to focus on when planning and designing your marketing message. The idea is to know your audience and give them what they want! 

      • Reply
        Dennis Edell@ Direct Sales Marketing April 10, 2011 at 11:40 am

        Exactly right, I find myself climbing out of this myself. I stated marketing all wring and got stuck.

        • @Dennis Edell, got stuck? That is when most people will throw up their hands and sulk! Buy glad to know you had to climb out of that.

  3. I am a new loan officer and I need help with marketing. What are some creative ways to get your name out to the public? I heard visiting real estate offices is a good way to find business and putting flyers on people’s doors is another. Does anyone have any other tips I can try

    • There are a hundred and one ways of marketing any business. What I’ll suggest is to focus on a few ones, like the ones you already know and work at them. Besides, you need to first determine your target audience – who need the loan? Where can you find them? This will now determine your marketing strategies. If the loans are targeted at automobile owners then the strategies you have just mentioned can be applied. If you are targeting students, then you will need to go where they are. Place ads in magazines targeted at students. Also I would say the social networks like facebook will also be a good place if you’re targeting students. But all in all, pick on 2 or 3 and work that until you see some results before looking for more “creative ways!” 🙂

  4. Wow!! This is one of the best post i have read so far.

  5. If you operaten as a business than things that you spend money on related to the business are tax deductable. You need to be earning money from this though. The key is that if you make money from this business, you report that money to the Governent at the end of the year. That money is then taxed.

  6. I agree with Dennis as well, becomming a niche player doesnt mean you cannot still offer other services, only that you are laser focused with your specialty when you market.  As people contact you they will ask for other services and ultimately, you CAN provide them, but your niche marketing will really get people in the door.  Just like Mineke for mufflers

    • @Chris, I quite agree with you. That’s a perfect method of ensuring that you provide the right service that will open up your prospect/customers to more business opportunities. This method when done well can really turn a small business into some thing big in no time.

  7. Reply
    Dennis Edell@ Direct Sales Marketing April 12, 2011 at 12:18 am

    Stuck or not, I’ve spent too much time getting here to throw it all in. I’ll just keep marketing where I am and start marketing in the right areas as well…all are good.

    • @Dennis, Truly love that spirit and that’s what is keeping most of us going. Whenever I consider the journey so far I always encourage myself that going forward is far much better than going back or throwing in the trowel. Don’t forget many have given up just at the point of their breakthrough!

      So your resolve never to throw it all in is just the right mind. I wrote a post sometime ago I titled, “Keep on Keeping On – Motion is everything!” you may just want to read it:


  8. Create a realistic budget based on a percentage of your projected revenue, or the dollars you have available for marketing and stick to it. Marketing is an investment in your business. You have to spend enough to make progress but not more than your business can financially support.

  9. I really enjoy writing articles on all things internet marketing and help people crack the code for making money online. I specialize in reverse engineering highly effective strategies from the likes of Frank Kern, John Reese and the other heavy hitters in internet marketing.What are your perceived major barriers to success in internet marketing?Thanks

  10. This all shows that planning is a crucial aspect of running a business. Put things in place and when you start you will not have too many problems. Thanks for your comment.

  11. I want to become a marketing advisor that advises to small businesses, but I also wish to something of an overall business advisor. I have no idea how to even begin and where. What advice could you give to a young man wishing to put his education into practice?

  12. Another problem of other entrepreneurs is that they have no focus on what they are doing especially in their marketing strategy. The business/ marketing plan needs a lot of thought. You have to start your business right and a positive perspective lessen the stressful situations.

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