The 10 Most Common And Serious Small Business Digital Marketing Mistakes

Digital Marketing with person using a laptop on a white table

When small businesses carry out digital marketing activities they often make mistakes, sometimes very serious, but always quite common and typical. The effect is to reduce the effectiveness of the planned strategies and actions implemented.

In some cases, the damage can also be very substantial and also lead to the loss of significant sums of money without having any benefit, while in most cases the errors simply lead to zeroing the advantages that should come from investments in online marketing and corporate communication.

It must be said that many of the mistakes made mostly derive from the lack of knowledge of the real opportunities that digital channels offer to all businesses, not just the smallest ones.

For example, when doing social media marketing, focus on the engagement obtained in the posts (likes, comments, etc.) without evaluating the real quality of the communication and the marketing results achieved from an economic point of view.

Or get excited by the brilliance and originality of the message created without then analyzing if it brought real benefits and how it was actually received by the public.

However, there are also numerous digital marketing mistakes that are characteristic of micro and small businesses. We’ve identified the 10 most common that every small business should definitely avoid.

1. Believing that to sell online it is enough to have an e-commerce site

Most of the business leaders who decide to start selling online are convinced that it is enough to create an e-commerce site to start an unstoppable sales flow.

In reality, this error derives from a mix of incompetence and inexperience, which prevents us from understanding that without adequate promotion of the site and its contents – as well as the company’s brand – customers will not even know that it exists.

Furthermore, in an era in which a few big giants like Amazon are starting to absorb the majority of online sales, in the absence of a marketing strategy that leads to establishing a direct relationship with potential customers and retaining the acquired ones, it is almost impossible to obtain. relevant results.

To do e-commerce you certainly need a good site, but also correct management of the warehouse and supplies, pricing, logistics, and, of course, a strategic digital marketing plan that gives maximum visibility to the site itself and to the products, ensuring maximum return on investment.

  • How to solve this error: precisely define the entire online sales management process; develop a precise strategy to promote the site.

2. Not having the minimum skills necessary to do good digital marketing

To develop and implement a good digital marketing plan even with a low budget today it is absolutely necessary to have the basic knowledge of all the opportunities offered by the internet and the web and what can actually be achieved.

Without these skills, all the actions carried out will always be disorganized and poorly focused, with the consequence that a lot of energy and economic resources will be used without ever seeing appreciable results.

Due to the lack of skills, many small businesses end up investing even considerable budgets without ever obtaining results – or, worse, without being able to understand what results have been obtained – and in the end, they will be convinced that digital marketing is not useful to the company.

Other companies, on the other hand, remain paralyzed by their own incompetence and simply refuse a priori to do digital marketing, perhaps continuing to invest large budgets in traditional marketing campaigns which in most cases are much less effective than those based on digital media.

 How to solve this mistake: acquire the necessary skills through specialized digital marketing courses for companies.

3. Not knowing what to manage internally and what to delegate

Micro and small businesses rarely have the opportunity to hire skilled personnel in marketing and even less in digital marketing. Often the owner or an employee very close to him is responsible for marketing and communication, who almost always performs other tasks and does not have specific skills in communication and marketing in new media.

In this context, those companies that want to do digital marketing at a more advanced level are forced to assign part of the work to professionals or external agencies. The problem is that they are not always able to understand what is actually better to delegate to external staff and what to do with internal resources.

Many times companies spend a lot of money to have a Facebook page or Instagram account managed externally, activities that almost all small businesses can manage independently without much effort by giving a fairly basic level of training to an internal resource.

On the contrary, they do not invest in those activities that require stronger skills, such as advertising management, with the effect of not obtaining good results and above all of not optimizing the cost/benefit ratio: you end up spending a lot, but in a way messy and ineffective.

How to solve this error: carefully evaluate internal resources to understand what would be or are already able to manage digital marketing; training the internal resources available to perform the most elementary actions in the best possible way (such as updating the Facebook page) and identifying external collaborators to whom to delegate the most complex work.

4. Do not choose well the collaborators (internal or external) and the agencies that deal with digital marketing

This point is directly related to the previous ones: when small businesses decide to hire qualified staff, they are rarely able to assess whether they will be able to do the job at their best.

Without having a basic knowledge of digital marketing it is impossible to choose a valid candidate to deal with it because it is impossible to understand if you are dealing with a fake professional who peddles skills that he does not possess or even with real charlatans who bet on ignorance of companies to sell inconsistent services at often exaggerated prices.

This problem arises both when hiring an in-house specialist and when looking for a truly qualified agency that suits your needs. For example, many times the management of digital marketing is entrusted to web agencies specialized in the creation of sites, but which, despite not having specialized expertise in digital marketing, still sell approximate digital marketing services to increase turnover to the detriment of companies that blindly trust.

How to solve this error: Also, in this case, acquire basic skills that serve to understand what should be requested and what should be expected from a resource or agency that deals with corporate digital marketing, in order to immediately recognize the boastful and incompetent.

5. Use only one channel for marketing (and always use it the same way)

Those small businesses that understand the value and indispensability of digital marketing almost always end up fixating on the use of a single channel. Many choose Facebook, others Instagram, still others Google Ads, some simply send emails to the same users all the time.

In reality, the internet and the web today offer plenty of marketing opportunities within the reach of small business investments. Limiting all actions to a single social network or in general to a single way of doing online marketing means missing out on great opportunities to reach audiences that could increase turnover.

Another common mistake is to use a marketing channel (or more than one channel) always in the same way, with the same actions repeated in a mechanical and routine way. Most online channels today allow many different actions, and sticking to just a few is an unreasonable limit.

How to solve this error: learn about all the main channels and the most effective forms of digital marketing by choosing those most in line with the company’s communication and marketing objectives; for this purpose, it may be useful to request the advice of professionals or specialized agencies that study the characteristics of the company business and indicate the most appropriate and valid actions and channels.

6. Thinking that the organic reach of the FB page and SEO alone brings appreciable results without investing in advertising

The era in which it was enough to publish a good post on a social network to get an avalanche of interactions and consents in a natural way is long over. By now, the algorithms of almost all social media – and in particular the organic reach that Facebook applies to pages – require investments in advertising to guarantee relevant results.

The same is true for SEO: in addition to being almost impossible to predict the way in which the algorithms highlight the pages of the company site, it is very difficult to be able to place a few pages of the site in the top positions of Google corresponding to all possible searches on words. most profitable key. To get the adequate coverage you need to invest a budget in Google Ads.

Obviously, investments in advertising do not completely cancel the actions aimed at feeding the contents of a Facebook page or an Instagram account or a good SEO. Company pages and accounts must still be updated with interesting and engaging posts because a potential or existing customer who for any reason visits the page or profile of the company must be able to receive a positive impression. But simply doing this alone is no longer enough.

How to solve this mistake: be convinced that a significant budget for digital marketing must be allocated to apply to a well-configured strategic plan.

7. Expect to obtain financial results immediately after the first campaign

This is one of the most typical mistakes of small businesses and especially of micro-businesses: to expect to see results immediately at the end of the first advertising campaign or in general of the first digital marketing activities.

Online marketing immediately gives directly measurable data and responses, making it much more effective than traditional marketing when it comes to defining the value of each action taken. The effects of a digital marketing strategy, however, are very rarely seen immediately, but they need development times that are also quite prolonged over time.

Exciting results can hardly be expected before three months – in some cases even six months – of well-designed and planned actions. The potential buyer today needs numerous messages received from the company to convince himself that a certain type of product deserves his interest and that the specific product that is right for him is precisely that of the company.

Considering also that the companies that do digital marketing today are much more numerous than in the past, so to win a customer you have to make a more intense and lasting communication compared to what it was enough to do even just five years ago.

How to solve this error: think about a medium-long term investment perspective, assuming that the return on investment must be measured at the end of the defined path and not in every single step.

8. Not investing an adequate budget in digital marketing

This is a typical problem of micro-enterprises, although it also affects a large part of small enterprises: how much budget must be invested to obtain results in digital marketing? Too many business managers assume that it is possible to have great benefits by spending only a few hundred dollars a month.

Sometimes, if luck assists, significant results are actually achieved, but in most cases, this does not happen. Digital marketing, although it has a cost/benefit ratio that is far more advantageous than traditional marketing, to give appreciable results requires investing a budget that is not excessively narrow.

Above all, precisely because of what was said in the previous point, it is necessary to invest in the medium-long term, without focusing on the results achieved in the very short term. In the long run, digital marketing based on a good strategy and continuously improved based on the results that are obtained almost always brings an excellent return on the overall investment. Obviously on condition that this investment is adequate and not excessively restricted.

How to solve this mistake: properly analyze the resources available, bearing in mind that a healthy company should invest no less than 5% of revenues in marketing.

9. Continue to invest energy and budget in marketing actions that do not bring results even after a long time

When you don’t have adequate skills you don’t have an overview of all the opportunities offered by digital marketing. Therefore only a few strategies and very few techniques are known, which are repeated to the bitter end in a mechanical way, even when they do not bring any appreciable result even in the long term.

It is a mistake that leads to losing the benefits of all the opportunities offered by digital marketing, which today offers such a wide variety of strategies as to give any company the opportunity to find the optimal and truly satisfying mix of actions.

One of the advantages of digital marketing is that it allows you to quickly understand when a tactic brings good results and when it is inconclusive, so it is possible to change it quickly, progressively improving the cost/benefit ratio.

In a sufficiently long time frame each action carried out is evaluated to determine if it is convenient to keep it in the general strategy, if it is convenient to modify it or if it is better to replace it with another more effective one, also because new tools and new opportunities are continuously developed that must be tested and exploited to the full. Digital marketing that does not evolve over time is certainly bad digital marketing.

How to solve this error: constantly and carefully analyze the data and results of each campaign and each cycle of marketing activities carried out in a given period, in order to identify the winning and less effective actions; establish in advance a series of key performance indicators (key indicators that allow measuring the progress and results of each action) in order to correctly evaluate all the activities carried out and progressively improve them.

10. Not knowing how to measure the ROI of digital marketing (or not receiving accurate reports from those who deal with it)

The typical perplexity of a small business owner who has already made investments in digital marketing is: I didn’t understand what results I actually had. This translates into the question: How do I measure the return on investment (ROI) of digital marketing actions?

Digital marketing is one of the forms of marketing that best allows you to define the ROI of the activities carried out, certainly in a much more precise way than traditional marketing. The problem, however, is that specific technical skills are required, which most companies do not have. When a company relies on an agency or hires a specialist, it should receive reports at the end of each activity period detailing what results have been achieved.

If these reports do not arrive, it is the clearest sign that the company has relied on poor professionals and should immediately replace them with more prepared ones. Furthermore, company managers should equip themselves with those basic skills that are essential to evaluate the results obtained correctly and to dialogue with those involved in digital marketing, knowing well what to ask and what to expect. Otherwise, the risk of investing a lot of money without even understanding what you are doing is really high and no business can afford it.

How to solve this mistake: ROI evaluation is not a simple practice, so either you choose to follow specific courses that teach you to measure the value of each action taken or you rely on serious professionals who are able to report in detail the results of each action in a strategic way and can lead the digital marketing of the company to constant improvement and to obtain appreciable results in the medium term.

We specialize in digital marketing focused on the needs of SMEs. If you want to develop your skills or those of your employees in order to better manage your company’s digital marketing with greater results, we can provide you with our training services in all fields of digital marketing developed specifically to meet the needs of small and medium-sized enterprises.

Alternatively, we can offer you our digital marketing services by developing a plan tailored to the objectives and financial resources of your business.

You May Also Like