33 Small Business Digital Marketing Mistakes (& How to fix them)

small business digital marketing mistakes

Small business digital marketing is tough.

Finding your audience, getting them on your website, and making them purchase your product or service is even tougher.

We have looked at many small business digital marketing campaigns and have made a list of some of the mistakes they commonly make.

If you don’t want your digital marketing to kill your small business, avoid these 33 mistakes!

1. Does your website have a purpose?

small business digital marketing

One of the easiest ways to kill your small business is by having a website that serves no purpose.

We have had clients in the past tell us that they want a website, but when asked why and what they want to achieve they have told us that they don’t know.

If you don’t know what you want your website to achieve, how are your website visitors supposed to know what to do?

Our tip is to choose a goal for your website and then build your marketing around that.

If more sales is a goal…

Take your website visitors to your products quickly and make sure you provide enough content for the visitor to be able to buy.

Want more enquires?

Make sure your website has a call to action in the right place. Your contact details should also never be more than a click away.

Your website is one of your business’s most important sales tools.

To give your small business a chance online you must figure out what you want your website to do and then work towards hitting those goals.

2. Do you actually know your audience?

small business digital marketing

You can’t sell to everyone.  If you could, marketing would be easy.

Your product won’t be right for everyone, even major companies like Apple who have sold over 1 billion iPhones only have a 20% market share.

Know your audience and solve their problems. By trying to appeal to everyone you won’t appeal to anyone.

A great way of getting to know your audience is by using “buyer personas”.

A buyer personal according to Hubspot is:

A semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer based on market research and real data about your existing customers.

When you create a buyer persona you can then use that information to help with all future marketing materials.

If you have never used buyer personas before check out this great article on Hubspot.  Alternatively, you can watch the short video below.

3. Is your homepage as good as it could be?

Most of your website visitors will only visit your homepage before going back to the search results.

If you start your content on your homepage with sentences like

“Hi my name is Ricky…” or “I am a web developer… I like chocolate cake, and i ran my first 5k this year at a time of…”

your visitors are going to leave because no one cares.

Your visitors are looking for one thing, be that one thing they are searching for.

Don’t tell them about your cats, your interest in cooking, or that you know a guy who knows a guy who plays for Wales in rugby.

Provide useful information on your homepage, not weak content, otherwise, that visitor and the potential customer is gone forever.

4. Do you provide your potential customers with relevant content?

We touched on it above, get rid of non-relevant content.

Your potential customers don’t care that your manager has bought you a packet of biscuits for a meeting.

Do you really think your customers care if you share it online?  They see it every day, and it bores them.

Time and time again I see businesses tweet about how they love their jobs because a team member has brought a cake into the office. Yawn…

5. Does your customer service suck, can you improve it?

small business marketing

If anything kills your business quicker than poor customer service I am yet to see it.

If you’re in business, your customer service should be amazing.

Yet most customer service sucks.

In fact, we are so used to bad customer service that when someone treats us as they should we remember it.

A little story, when I first launched Weeare I was looking for office space to set up my business. 1 full year ago, I sent off various emails and left many voice messages to estate agents for office space.

I was practically begging to hand over my money.

Yet, these estate agents hardly ever got back to me.

Lazy customer service or bad service simply won’t do and will kill your profits quickly.

Aim to respond to your customers as fast as you can. If you use social media for your business then most people expect a reply back within 30 minutes.  If you can’t reply that quickly you may want to hire someone to manage your social media marketing for you.  Check out perky marketing, if you are looking for someone to run your social media campaigns.

6. Do you check your content 3 times before publishing?

As a marketing agency, we put out a lot of content every week. We have to proofread constantly, but even we sometimes put out content with mistakes.

It happens.

Proofread as much as you can and get rid of any errors you find.

By doing so you will build more trust with your visitors, helping them to see you as a professional which could eventually lead them to become a customer.

7. Do your marketing materials look high end or cheap?

Marketing materials such as blog posts or tweets have a far higher engagement rate if they include images.

Images in blog posts also keep the users engaged, break up the content, and improve readability. (Look at this post, images everywhere)

Low-quality images make your business look unprofessional and will put off potential customers.

For high-quality images that don’t cost the world check out the following

Pixabay (free images)

The stock sites above provide good quality imagery for only a couple of pound a time, Pixabay is free!

8. Are you a wimp?

small business digital marketing

Now I ask the above with the best intentions, So don’t punch me yet!

Stop being a wimp.

If you have a product or service that does a job, make sure you tell your customers.

Don’t pussyfoot. Don’t tell them “I think I can do this”, “I maybe can do that”.

Tell your visitors what you can do.

“I can improve your business search engine rankings in 4-6 weeks” is better than “I think I can help your business rank higher in the search engines possibly in a few weeks”

9. Stop being lazy, update your website!

Many business owners think you can build a website and forget about it.

You cant.

I wish you could. It would make our lives so much easier.

Websites can bring in traffic on a consistent basis. But you must keep your high-ranking pages updated and relevant otherwise you will slip down in the search rankings.

To make sure your website traffic doesn’t stagnate you should always be adding new content, improving the existing content, and deleting content that gets no traffic.

By updating your website you are increasing your digital footprint by building a bigger web to catch potential customers in.

To monitor what pages on your site work and don’t install google analytics, I have included a short video tutorial below.


10. Do you promote your content or leave it to sit and rot?

Once you have written content you think your users will love, get it out into their faces.  Over 500 hours of video is uploaded to Youtube every minute so you need to promote your content if you want it to be found.  The same happens with blog content with over 8 million blog posts being written every day.

Share your content on social media.

Run paid advertising on those posts. Or even reach out to others who may be interested in promoting your content for you.

Brian Dean from Backlinko has a great post on how to reach out to others to get more traffic to your website with something called the skyscraper technique

If you would like help with your marketing campaigns talk to our seo consultants.

11. No one likes being sold to, especially when they’re looking for funny cat videos on Facebook.

social media marketing for small business

Don’t be one of those guys/girls.

Most people don’t use social media to buy, they use it to connect with their friends and family, follow celebrities, and share funny memes.

If a potential customer follows your brand then they don’t constantly want to be sold to.

Constantly selling to your potential customers on social media will result in them unfollowing you. Don’t be that person.

Instead, share content you think your potential customers would enjoy. Talk to them, get involved in industry conversations, and even run polls to see how you can improve your business.

Social media is a valuable tool and if you’re using it only to spam people then you are using it wrong.

12. You have unrealistic expectations

You can’t set and forget your digital marketing.

Whether this is your website, your social media, or your offline marketing methods.

Keep all of your content fresh, update it as much as humanly possible. If you’re finding it hard, look into tools that can automate certain parts of your marketing for you.

Companies such as:

• Hootsuite
• Buffer

Offer social media tools that you can set up in advance to post your content.

For example, you could spend a few hours on a Sunday morning queuing up your social media posts for that week.

Content management systems like WordPress (which we build or websites on) have in built features that allow you to queue up your blog posts in the same way.

This allows you to plan your marketing months ahead. Letting you to get on with running your business.

13. 1990 called they want their website back.

digital marketing for small business

If your website looks like it was built in 1990, then I won’t buy from you.

Neither will your customers.

An old website doesn’t look trustworthy and neither does your business.

Your website should be redesigned every 2-3 years to keep up with the latest website trends and technologies. In more competitive industries that figure could change to more like 1-2 years.

At Weeare we have redesigned our website twice in the last year, already we have seen an increase in traffic, conversions, and sales. Woot Woo!

14. The money is in the list (it’s true!)

email marketing for small business

Not using email marketing is a massive mistake.

Spend 10 minutes on a digital marketing blog and you will find “the money is in the list” plastered everywhere.

But what does this mean?

Most tech-savvy businesses will collect potential customers’ details and then market to them in the future.

The above may sound shady but it’s not. We are not talking about spying on your users. Instead, you would be simply collecting a name and an email address for something your customer would find useful, such as:

  • Access to free training videos
  • A free white paper
  • Free Ebook Download
  • Money off voucher

Studies have shown it takes a person between 5 and 12 interactions with your brand before purchasing.

If your website has no way of getting in contact with your visitors after they leave for the first time then you are throwing away your profits and killing your business.

Collect your visitor’s email addresses and build trust with them and eventually turn these visitors into customers.

To get started with email marketing you could use any of the following companies:

• Mailchimp
• Aweber
• Constant contact

We have used both Mailchimp and Aweber. We prefer Aweber but, if you are just getting started Mailchimp has a free service that will allow you to have up to 500 users without having to pay a penny.

Have a look at the following short video that explains why email marketing is something you should be doing:

15. Forget about website traffic, concentrate on quality

Don’t concentrate on web traffic alone.

Doing so will kill your business.

A keyword that brings in 20 visitors a month could be worth more commercially than a keyword that brings in 1000’s.

An example of this can be shown with Weeare. One of the keywords that we target brings in only 100 searches a month. 100 searches are around 3 visitors a day. Nothing special.

However, that one keyword alone has brought in £15,000 worth of business.

Compare that to a site that I run when I was younger.

I used to run a movie review website when I was 17 years old. The site would get a few thousand visitors a day. Total ad revenue was anything from £2 to £15 a day.

Not all traffic is equal.

Concentrate on getting high-quality traffic that is likely to convert.  If you want more traffic to your business check out search engine optimisation cardiff

16. You’re not on social media, why?

social media marketing for small business

I get it. Social media can be a pain in the butt.

Not everyone likes using social media. If you are one of them you are going to have to suck it up.

Social media plays a massive part in digital marketing, it’s so big that it is used as a ranking signal by Google to determine where to show your website in their search results.

The bottom line, you must use social media.

17. Your website doesn’t generate leads (it sucks then!)

Your website should generate leads pretty much on autopilot.

If it doesn’t then something is wrong.

The Weeare website is our best tool for generating leads.

So good, that we don’t employ salespeople.

For your website to generate leads you will need to understand your target market. Create content that they want to see and then lead them to an action that you want them to take.

If your website doesn’t generate leads there could be a few problems in your funnel, which we will look at below.

18. Your website isn’t SEO friendly and doesn’t rank (ouch!)

seo marketing for small business

Last year I bought a new watch, a new car and even invisible braces for my younger sister.

All of those purchases started off with me doing research online. Your customers are doing the same for your product.

If your website doesn’t show up when your customers are searching for you then you are losing money. Your profits are going down the drain and even worse your customers are spending that money with your competition.

For your website to generate leads it must be found in the search engines.

Go to Google after you have finished this article and type in a query in which you think your users would use to find your services.

Don’t cheat either.

Your customers are not going to type in your business name.  As they probably don’t even know you exist yet.

Does your small business come up in the results? If it doesn’t your SEO is letting your business down.

19. Your visitors don’t know they are in the right place

small business website design

Once your visitors click on the search results they are transported to your website.

They need to be reassured they are in the right place.

If you don’t reassure them, they will click the back button and you will lose that potential customer forever.

I have seen it many times and pay per click advertisers are the worst for this. They advertise a service and when you click on that advertisement you are sent to a page that doesn’t contain any of the information you were looking for.

Don’t do that!

If you do, you are throwing your money away, and annoying your visitors.

Make each page on your website relevant to what your users are searching for. Only then will they stick around for a little while longer.

20. Poor quality content on your website kills your digital marketing

Finally, you get a visitor to your website but your content is terrible.

Your visitor races to the back button.

You have lost them once again.

If you want your small business digital marketing to work, you need your website to provide quality information that your visitors are looking for.

Quality content is engaging, looks good, and solves a problem.

If you don’t want your digital marketing to kill your small business you must produce good quality content.

21. Please, ask your website visitors to do something.

small business digital marketing

Maybe you’re lucky.

Maybe your website is SEO friendly, your content is great and you get good traffic.

If that is the case then the problem maybe you don’t have a call to action.

A call to action:

Is an action you want your visitors to take.

It’s pretty simple and it works.  By asking your users to do something a certain percentage of them will do it.  If you don’t ask them to do anything, they won’t.

By not having a call to action visitors will leave your website.

  • Want your website visitors to call you? tell them to!
  • Do you want your visitors to fill out a contact form? tell them to!
  • If you want your visitors to schedule a demo, tell them to!

I think you get the point.

Visitors need to be told what to do next. Or you need to make it easier for them to find the action you want them to take. Doing so will generate more leads for your small business.

22. Is your small business digital marketing still stuck in 2015?

web design for small business

Your website not responsive?

You’re 2 years out of date.

In 2015 Google rolled out something internet marketers nicknamed “mobilegeddon”

Businesses that had websites that didn’t work on mobile devices were shown lower in the search rankings than those who were.

But don’t panic.

Like Bruce Willis, We will ride into the meteor and save the day.

Our web design services are mobile responsive and search friendly as standard, talk to us if you need to redesign your website.

The only thing that we can’t promise, is that we will look as cool as Bruce did while Aerosmith rocks in the background.

23. Blogging is not just for hobbyists, but a necessity for B2B sales.

Blogging used to be for hobby sites.

It’s not anymore.

Blogging is so powerful that:

B2B marketers who do blog generate 67% more leads than those who don’t. (insideview)

Blogging is also useful to get more inbound links to your website which helps with SEO.

According to HubSpot, companies that blog have 97% more inbound backlinks.

If you don’t blog, you should. If you do blog, keep it up!

24. Your website is hard to navigate – Where am I?

Websites that are hard to navigate kill your profits.

Nothing is more frustrating to a potential customer than to land on your website and not be able to find what they need because your website is laid out in a confusing manner.

This also applies to your website’s navigation. We recommend only having 5-6 links to your most important content.

25. You don’t provide enough information

digital marketing for small business in wales

Digital marketing thrives on information.

Search engines love information. Your customers want information, so provide it.

Websites that do this well build entire pages to sell a single product. Take Apple and the iPhone 7 for example.

Everyone knows what an iPhone can do, but Apple still take the time to explain the features and benefits of the product.

Apple take the time to do this for a product that costs less than £1000.

I have seen businesses who are selling products for £10,000+ and they provide 3 lines of content.

Give your users the content they want and your profits will increase.

26. Over promising kills (not literally)

Don’t over-promise.

I have seen websites promise something in their search engine title and description tag only to arrive at the site and see something else.

This conflicting information is frustrating and will cause your users to leave.

Or it will make them angry when they do purchase and you let them down.

Be honest and provide the service that you say you will.

The customers who want to work with you will be glad and they will be more than happy to recommend you to someone if you carry out the work that you say you will.

27. You are not consistent with your small business digital marketing.

Being consistent is hard, I know.

But the more consistent you are with your business’s digital marketing the more you are going to benefit.

If you can only blog once a week so be it. Once a month, fine. But keep it consistent.

Being consistent will allow you to build a fan base, even if it’s a small one. It is much better to build a small loyal fan base than one that doesn’t care about you.

By being consistent with your marketing efforts you are letting your fans know when you are going to release content, and they will wait for it eagerly.

Being consistent is key to improving your digital marketing.

28. Give and take, not take, take, take.

social media marketing for small business in wales

Don’t be a social hoover.

You see them all the time on social media. Businesses that just want to sell and have no interest in anyone else.

Yes, I get it. Your time is precious and you’re busy. But how can you expect others to care about your services when you don’t give anything back.

You can’t build any relationships online by being a social hoover and sucking the life out of everyone. You have to give something back.

Interact with others, share content others write. Like some posts, start conversations, and be real!

PEOPLE BUY FROM PEOPLE, not faceless brands. Interact with your customers and build a following.

29. Your website is slower than a snail with broken legs (yes, we know)

small business digital marketing

A slow website is a killer.

There are a few different things that could cause your website to be slow. This could be anything from your web host, to a badly built website.

To improve your website speed there are a few things that you could do:

  • Purchase better website hosting
  • Make sure your website is coded correctly
  • Don’t install too many plugins
  • Optimise the images and code on your website

If your website is slow after all of the above, or you don’t know where to start get in touch and we will have a look.

30. Your website bounce rate is too high

In digital marketing, high is usually good.

Not with bounce rate.

Bounce rate measures the number of visitors who land on one page and then leave without clicking through to a new page.

If your bounce rate is too high then not enough of your visitors are getting the chance to see your information before leaving. A high bounce rate could be caused by:

  • Bad design
  • Bad content readability
  • Nonrelevant popups (visitors hate these)

To see what your current bounce rate is you will have to install Google analytics. (There’s a video at the top of the page showing you how)

When you have installed Google Analytics, Google will tell you the percentage of people who have bounced from your website, along with information such as how long they have spent on your website.

31. Your website uses too many plugins.

Remember the old iPhone adverts. “There’s an app for that”

The same is true with plugins.

And some small businesses go over the top in using them.

Make no mistake, plugins are what makes the WordPress CMS great. But going over the top and installing too many will slow your website down.

Our advice, only add the plugins you really need.

32. Your website is built on a theme

I hate website themes.

They ruin most small businesses’ websites.

Themes usually contain too much code that your website doesn’t need. The result is a slower website that is not as search-friendly as it could have been.

If your website is built on a theme then you are killing your small business.

We believe digital marketing is best built on strong foundations. The strongest being a good website.

One of the major flaws in using a pre-built theme is it can increase the time that it takes for search engines to rank your website. We have done experiments where a custom-built website was indexed in a few days where as a website built on a theme took longer than 6 weeks.

Using cheap themes on your business website will increase the time and money needed to be spent on SEO services, which is not good!

Cheap themes will eat into your business profits.

Avoid them if possible.

33. Your customers are not on Facebook/ Twitter/ Other

twitter marketing for small business

You can’t reach your customers on a social channel they don’t use.

If your customers are not on a social media channel then don’t waste time marketing on there.

It doesn’t matter if someone from another Business uses Facebook and it works for them. If your customers are not there, it wont work for your small business.

Buyer personas help when it comes to finding out where your customers hang out online.

Another bonus tip is not to spread yourself too thin. If your customers are on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Tumblr, Blogger, or any of the other social media networks you can either hire someone to do your social media for you or pick 3 networks and build a following before moving on to others.

Spreading yourself thin will create low-quality content and will burn you out.

How can you use this information for your small business?

Go back through all of the points and make sure your small business digital marketing doesn’t violate any of these rules.

Make the changes we suggest and then monitor the results through tools such as Google Analytics.

Small business digital marketing is changing all the time.

The only way to make sure your small business keeps up with the competition is to keep reading posts like this.

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