The Biggest Mistake Small Businesses Make in Their Marketing Campaigns

Jennifer Hoffman


Every kick-ass marketing campaign starts with a strategy, but sadly I’ve seen way too many businesses throw money down the drain because they skipped this step.

Ad platforms like Google and Facebook make it so easy for anyone to use their advertising tools nowadays which makes everyone think they can run an ad campaign on their own. I’ve seen lawyers, event planners, gym owners, chiropractors, carpet cleaners and all kinds of other small business owners run ads on their own, with no way to prove return on investment.

A lot of people think that if you can figure out how to use the tool, then that’s all you need. But there are way more important things to consider about an ad campaign than just simply how to use the tool.

So what is this strategy stuff I’m talking about? If you really want to up your game with a kick-ass marketing campaign, take time to brainstorm the following questions.

  1. Who are you targeting
  2. What “solutions” are you offering to solve their problem?
  3. How can they buy from you?
  4. How can you nurture the leads that aren’t ready to buy yet?

Let’s go into each of these in more detail.

Who are you targeting?
Let’s talk about your ideal client. I want you to think about a specific client that you either have now or had in the past, that you wish you could clone and serve over and over again. They’re easy to work with, they love you and the services you provide, and they tell everyone they know about you.

With that specific person in mind, I want you to think about the problems they have before they come to you? What are they frustrated with? What do they feel before working with you and after working with you?

When we ask our clients who their ideal client is, we often get answers like “ages 30 – 60, lives within 50 miles of Seattle, 60% females 40% males.”  Information like this makes it very difficult to understand the problems these people are facing, which makes it very hard for you to understand the solution you provide, which makes it very hard to write compelling marketing messages, which makes it very hard to know where to reach your customers, which makes it very hard to provide valuable information that positions you as the expert, and the list goes on and on.

What “solutions” are you offering to solve your ideal client’s problem?

If you’re not solving a problem with what you’re selling, then nobody will pay attention to anything you have to say, and nobody will want to buy from you.

Our brains are wired with a problem/solution way of thinking. And people don’t care what anyone else has to sell if it doesn’t fix their problem.

For example, if you own an online education program for high school students, most people won’t understand what you offer or why. But if you talk about how you help high school students who have fallen behind in credits or who struggle with social anxiety, ADHD, or medical issues, people will immediately think of someone they know in that situation.

When we talk about our clients’ problems, they see us as a brand that understands them and can help.

How can they buy from you?
A very common mistake I see small businesses make is not guiding their clients along the path to make a purchase. They just assume that if they passively tell people what they offer, that they’ll pick up the phone when they’re ready.

But people don’t make decisions unless they are challenged to do so. Plus we’re all bombarded with more than 3,000 advertising messages each day. EACH. DAY.

You have to be bold in your calls to action. Make sure it’s obvious on your website how someone can buy from you, not just once, but repeat it over and over again.

Most small businesses worry about being overly salesy, but in reality, most calls to action are softer than a whisper.

How can you nurture the leads that aren’t ready to buy yet?
Did you know that 97% of people are not ready to buy when they find out about your service? Even if you have the best solution to their problem, and they are stoked about what you have to offer, only 3% of people will buy immediately.

If you don’t have a lead capture option, you risk losing that lead entirely. This is where a transitional call to action comes into play.

A transitional call to action is where you offer something for free which is obviously a lot less risky than making a big purchase. This could be inviting people to watch a free webinar or download a PDF, and in exchange, they give you their email address.

Once you have their email address, you have the opportunity to continue to provide valuable, solution-based content to them so they can get to know you better and decide if and when they will make a purchase.

We can’t sit back and wait for our customers to pursue us. It’s our job to pursue them.

Need help with your strategy?

Schedule a 90 minute Brandstorm Session with Jennifer and Angela where we’ll take a deep dive into your marketing strategy and help you gain clarity on your vision and how to effectively grow your business.

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