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10 Ways to Waste Your Marketing Dollars

When we see the same few things hurting businesses day after day, we think it is our responsibility to point it out. It’s always better that you know the truth, right? There are a multitude of marketing methods that you might use to grow your business, and plenty of opportunities to make sub-optimal decisions…and lose money. Here are 10 things that will get you in trouble every time.

1. “Imitating the Mistakes of Others” – Business people are competitive by nature. Everybody seems to be keeping one eye on the other guy. When it’s time to revamp your website or marketing efforts, it’s tempting to use what others are doing as a model. That’s actually not a bad idea, unless the other guy’s marketing tactics are outdated. At the moment that you are building a website, you are at the cutting edge, not the guy who built his site last year or even last week. Don’t be afraid to set the standard.
 
2. “Not Knowing What You’re Getting” – This is more common than you might think. Many people are overwhelmed by marketing speak, or just don’t have the time to keep up with what their marketing people are doing. You need to know more than just how much it’s costing you. You need to know what you are getting so that you can judge its value as a business tool.
 
3. “Placing a Targeted Ad in an Untargeted Medium” – Did you know that XYZ Magazine is distributed to 65,000 people per month? That line sounds impressive until you realize that you have no way of knowing how many of those 65,000 will read the magazine, how many will see the page with their ad on it, or how many have any interest whatsoever in what you are selling. You need to ask yourself if paying for 65,000 ad pages is worth the handful of customers you may or may not get for your efforts.
 
4. “Paying for an Expert, Then Dictating the Strategy” – It’s hard to give up full control of any aspect of your business. I get that. The problem is, telling an expert how to do their job is a waste of your money. If you hire someone because of their knowledge, it’s best to let them use it.
 
5. “Marketing a Free Website” – If you are paying to market a site, make sure it represents your business well. A free site will smell for miles, and you shouldn’t waste precious marketing dollars shining the spotlight on it.
 
6. “Going with What You Like, Not What Works” – A lot of time and creativity goes into building your brand. It’s understandable that ego sometimes comes into play. When the data shows that something isn’t working, it’s time to change…no matter how much you love your website or your marketing guy/gal. If you don’t have a way to measure success, it is time to create one.
 
7. “Spam” – An inbox is a sacred, and Internet Service Providers have an intricate web to catch the spammers…or those who behave like spammers. Getting yourself blocked is a sure way to lose credibility with customers. So, you might not want to send an “email blast” from your own email account, even if you’ve always done it that way. It will catch up to you, and maybe even kill your slick new website.
 
8. “Design Without Marketing, or Marketing Without Design” – For some, all of those that work in the virtual world of Internet Technology are the same. Au contraire! If you hire a designer without marketing expertise, you could end up with a very good looking website that brings in no business. Or, a strictly marketing guy might bring valuable traffic to a horrid site. Neither will work; and, any money invested will be a waste. A website has to let people know they are in the right place immediately.
 
9. “Expecting to Make $1M from a Small AdWords Campaign” – Adwords truly has unlimited potential; but, if you spread it too thin, your results will be thin as well. If you want to go national or see profits in the millions, understand that it will take than a few hundred dollars. If that’s all it took, we’d all be wealthy, retired and kicked back in the Caribbean!
 
10. “Doing Nothing While Expecting Something” – The world has embraced online marketing, and there are millions of businesses competing for attention. Not only do you need to make sure your business is where people are looking, you have to make sure you are doing your personal part…right down to how you answer the phone.

No matter how you approach marketing for your business, realize that no is no single thing that will make you successful. Finding an integrated approach that is appropriate for your business and individual circumstances is essential. And, never abandon common sense.