5 Small Business Marketing Schemes That Will Waste Your Money

5 Small Business Marketing Schemes That Waste Money

Marketing is no easy task. Whole businesses exist devoted to marketing other businesses. Some companies have their own marketing departments. Small businesses often rely on the DIY approach to marketing. When developing your own marketing strategy, take care to avoid wasting your time and money.

Marketing Schemes That Waste Money

Mistake 1: Too Many Social Channels

Judging by some of the marketing advice you’ll come across on the web, you may think you need to be everywhere, all the time.

What a colossal waste.

When it comes to marketing via social networks, the most important thing is for you to be where your target audience is already spending their time. Do your customers spend lots of time on Instagram? Then don’t waste your time Tweeting.

Focus your marketing and engagement efforts on Instagram. This frees up your time to engage directly with your customers even more on their favorite channels. You can find out which social networks your customers prefer by simply asking, or by using a CRM with social media integration built in.

Mistake 2: Creating New Content

You’ve heard you need fresh content all the time. New blog post every day, right? Nope.

Your customers want a relationship with your business. They want to know you value them. They don’t want to get buried in your posts. Trying to create new content about your business or related to your business gets old fast — for you and your customers.

Try a better approach. Use some of your marketing budget to hire a content developer to create high quality content optimized for your business. Remember quality over quantity.

An interesting, professionally crafted infographic will get you much more customer engagement than a rambling post on your biz blog about industry minutiae.

Sharing content is important for engagement and variety. Choose carefully. Share only things that your audience will find value in. Save those 50 cat memes for your personal accounts.

Mistake 3: Casting a Wide Net

Your marketing efforts will work better if you target your audience effectively. Casting a wide net may seem like a simpler method, especially for DIYers, but you’ll end up wasting time and money marketing to the wrong people in the wrong places.

Ask current customers where they spend time online, what encourages them to make a purchase, and how they found you.

Create a Buyer Persona, this is a sort of bio of your ideal customer. Use the persona and any data you collect from customers to identify where best to apply your marketing efforts.

Mistake 4: Influencer Marketing

Everywhere you look, someone is advising you to find influencers to promote your business. This trend in marketing is taking off.

First, decide whether it’s right for your business. If you’re in an obscure industry or create products for a small niche market, influencers are probably not going to be much help to you.

If you decide this is the right path for you, be sure you have compelling things for an influencer to share about you in the first place. An interesting narrative can make all the difference. It’s imperative you identify key influencers in your industry with whom to build relationships.

Avoid wasting your time and money on a low impact influencer or one in the wrong industry.

Mistake 5: Video Marketing

Before you shell out beaucoup bucks hiring a video production company to create the perfect marketing video, consider a few important things. Chances are very good that your customers are watching video online, but where?

It’s important to know what platform your videos would be viewed on before you create one. Marketing videos on Instagram will be consumed a bit differently than on Facebook, for example. What kind of value will video give your customers?

A boring product demo is probably not going to inspire much engagement. A sneak peek of a new product that leaves some features to the imagination can be exciting. Video that makes an emotional impact inspires engagement well.

Before hitching your wagon to a new marketing technique, be sure it’s right for your business. It must be a way to provide your customers something of value. It must be shared where they are most likely to engage. Develop a detailed strategy with clear goals. Always measure your results, so you can make adjustments as necessary.

Throwing Money in Trash Photo via Shutterstock


Megan Totka Megan Totka is the Chief Editor for Chamber of Commerce. Chamber specializes in helping SMB's grow their business on the Web while facilitating the connectivity between local businesses and more than 7,000 Chambers of Commerce worldwide. Megan specializes in reporting the latest business news, helpful tips and reliable resources and provides advice through her column on the Chamber blog.

6 Reactions
  1. The key here is to evaluate these tactics & their appropriateness for your individual goals & needs. Because what works for you may not work for someone else and vice versa.

  2. Megan,

    I don’t agree that creating new content and video marketing is a “scheme” or a “mistake”. Even your commentary indicates that both are good, but they just have to be (as Robert commented) “appropriate” for the use. Quality vs. quantity can be applied to all marketing efforts, not just content.

    If one were just skimming this article they might get the impression that they should not do these things which I think is a bit misleading. I do however, totally agree with #1. Small Business are trying to do too many social channels and end up doing none well.

    I think the big one you missed was buying mailing lists….rarely a good idea.

  3. All valid points.

    I must admit, even though I work with social media every day – keeping up with Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and all of that for my personal endeavors is overwhelming. So I cut on what I don’t like and where I can really reach my audience (sorry, Snapchat. I’m an IG Stories girl)

    When it comes to video marketing – in the last 10 years, we’ve all grown up with editing photos and video on our phone. I would think that would be engrained into our unconscious habits by now.

    If people still think they need to create new content every day – they should really check out Brian Dean’s approach. Repurpose your content like nobody’s business, create evergreen content that solves your audiences problems, and backlink like a maniac.

    And when it comes to Influencer Marketing – people need to REEEEEALLY think about, what the influencer has to gain in promoting your product. Money? Engagement with a new audience?
    You really better know them before you even think about approaching them with an offer.

  4. I agree with the points of the article. I always have my clients fill out a buyer persona, so we know clearly who we are marketing to and then focus our marketing efforts there. Sometimes they aren’t even sure who their target market is when they come to me. After we spend some time doing homework the marketing campaign can be themed and focused.

  5. Today is the age of few content. The fewer the better for it makes your website hyper targeted to a particular topic.

  6. The key here is to evaluate these tactics & their appropriateness for your individual goals & needs.