By Alyssa Gregory

38 Marketing Mistakes That You Don’t Want to Make

By Alyssa Gregory

Marketing MistakesMarketing can be a challenging part of business, and many times, it takes a decent amount of trial and error to learn the best way to market yourself and your business. Add to the mix the uniqueness of every business, industry and target audience, and you’re looking at a lot of trial and error before you find a successful set of marketing activities.

To help new marketers learn from common mistakes before they make them on their own, I’ve compiled a list of 38 marketing mistakes that many people make but are entirely avoidable…and will help you market your business more successfully.

Common Marketing Mistakes

1. Not being prepared with a marketing plan, USP and budget.

2. Targeting everyone instead of focusing on a specific target audience.

3. Misrepresenting your experience and making unsubstantiated claims.

4. Being inconsistent with your marketing message.

5. Ignoring your existing paying clients and only marketing to the unknown.

6. Not listening to feedback on your marketing activities.

7. Following the competition instead of creating your own place in the market.

8. Not following up with leads quickly.

9. Not editing/proofreading your copy before going public.

10. Underestimating customer service and the power of word of mouth.

11. Not having business cards on you at all times.

Online Marketing Mistakes

12. Forgetting to test your site across various platforms and browsers.

13. Not updating your site design or content, ever.

14. Assuming SEO will take care of itself.

15. Ignoring the needs of your target audience when writing your site content.

16. Not including easy-to-find contact information.

17. Blanketing your business web site with ads that distract from your core message.

18. Copying content from competitors’ web sites.

19. Not providing an informative and engaging About page.

Email Marketing Mistakes

20. Sending messages to people who have not opted in.

21. Selling your subscribers’ contact information.

22. Blatantly spamming by sending unrelated and unwanted messages.

23. Not testing HTML emails in many types of email clients.

24. Making it hard to subscribe or to unsubscribe.

25. Not including a specific call to action in every email.

26. Not testing email personalization to avoid <firstname> tags.

27. Over packing your emails with competing messages.

28. Underestimating your subject line.

29. Leaving the copywriting as an afterthought.

30. Ignoring your statistics and failing to tailor your messages accordingly.

Social Media Marketing Mistakes

31. Ignoring your online reputation.

32. Forgetting it’s a marathon, not a sprint and cramming in too much, too fast.

33. Not updating your profiles regularly and keeping them consistent.

34. Focusing on sales instead of forming real relationships.

35. Overlooking the importance of conversations.

36. Not having a recognizable image across social media.

37. Not updating your blog on a regular basis.

38. Trying to be everywhere, all the time.

What marketing blunders would you add to this list?

Image credit: Tory Byrne

  • russ Weakley

    Social media mistake additions:

    1. forgetting to establish clear aims and audiences before embarking
    2. forgetting to work out a company/organisational strategy for how you will deal with negative comments, criticism etc
    3. forgetting to include review and measurement as part of your strategy

  • Nice list Alyssa. I especially like the social media portion. So many times it seems like Twitter and even Facebook are just full of people shouting there message at you. Conversations? These folks wouldn’t even think about having a conversation with anyone. How can you be effective at marketing without listening? As always, well done.

  • Apogee Marketing Partners

    I like your topic.
    I agree with the previous post…metrics! A recent study noted that only 25% (400 companies) utilize effectively any marketing performance metrics with their initiatives. Full report available here. As a result, these companies are not surprisingly more effective in growing their market share.

    Apogee Marketing Partners

  • clearnew

    Hi there! A few questions:

    #1: USP? I don’t know what that means.

    #26: when you say “avoiding the ” do you mean that one should not use that or make sure we don’t miss it?

    Great post! I’m am all to often guilty of breaking rule #11 and have likely lost out on potential business becuase of it.

    • @clearnew – USP is your unique selling proposition. Sorry for not clarifying! I also added the link in the post.

      For #26, my point is that you should be sure to test your email personalization so you don’t end up with a “Dear <firstname>” instead of “Dear Joe.” I am often surprised how many large email campaigns (from very well-known professionals) go out without making sure the personalization works.

      Great questions!

  • It should be noted that “marketing” does not equal “advertising”. Advertising is just a part of marketing. Very often today, you can simply replace the word “marketing” with “advertising” and the item would read the same.

    The traditional definition of marketing is: Getting the right product to the right people at the right price.

  • The amount of spam in my inboxes tells me most email marketers disgree with this one:
    20. Sending messages to people who have not opted in.


  • sarong

    Great post! I’m am all to often guilty of breaking rule #8.I especially like the social media portion.


  • Great! Thanks for your tips.

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