5 Things You Should Never Do When Marketing Your Small Business

…and how to fix them if you already have.

This is going to be a long one. So bear with me.

1.     Leave potential customers hanging.

When someone submits a request,  respond to them…NOW. I’ve been on a search for a mentor coach. I’ve done my research and did what most marketers dream that their prospects would do. I put in my information and hit submit. You know what happened next?  NOTHING. I was primed and ready to go, ready to hire these people and put money in their pockets.
While you’re not responding to motivated prospects, your competitors are. The prospect moves on and you lose money. Period. To avoid this problem, put systems in place so that you are alerted immediately of every new lead. Then, before you do anything else in your business, respond to them within 24 hours. If you’re busy, set up a system that responds to them in a very human way and let’s them know how long it’ll be before you get back to them. Whatever you do, don’t leave them hanging.
2.     Be a copy cat with your website and brand. 
“If your friends jumped off a bridge, would you?” If I had a dollar for every website I’ve looked at today that uses the EXACT same WordPress theme,  I’d pay one of them to change it.  Here’s how I find the services I need online: I do a Google search. When I have a list of results, I right click and open up about five pages at a time. Then, giving each site about two seconds each, I take a peek and see if I like it. If in a group of five sites I’ve opened, 3 of them are the same, I close them immediately. Then, I look closely at the two that caught my eye to make a buying decision.
Those two may not have been the best websites, they may not even be the most qualified to serve me, but they caught my attention.  Consider how your prospects find you and how hey differentiate between you and your competition. Don’t do what others do because you it’s easy. It works for them, the same may not work for you.

3.     Pretend you’re something you’re not.

In a forum that I participate in, a group of seasoned business owners reviewed the site of a newbie.  The response was resounding: “Change it! Your pictures are too personal, your colors are too bright, your language is too casual,  you can’t use smiley faces!” It made my heart burn. I wouldn’t put a smiley face on my website; it’s not in my personality.  But this was a young girl, who (according to her pictures) liked to spend time on the beach and probably draws hearts on her contracts. More power to her. Just because she removes those things from her website doesn’t mean she’ll begin to live and work differently.

When you start out, decide you are as a business owner. What image do you want to project? Make sure it’s something that’s natural to you or it will feel like Work. When that happens, you’ve got to wonder why you started a business in the first place. Furthermore, if you’re pretending to be more conservative, more experienced or larger than you truly are, clients will expect that from you. If you fail to deliver, they will  find a more honest company to work with.

4.     Forget to ask for the sale. 

No one likes pushy salespeople; they want the sales process to be comfortable and effortless. If they feel great about your business, but can’t figure out a) what you sell, or b) where to get it, frustration will ensue. Your website doesn’t have to flash like Times Square, but you should always give visitors a “next action”.  What do you want them to do after reading a blog post? Where should they go after watching your Youtbue videos? Should they just enjoy it and walk away or  subscribe, visit, download, learn more and ultimately BUY?

All of these are actions that you want a visitor to take in order to get a step closer to giving you their money. That’s what we’re here for right? Yes, I want to help people. Yes, I want to make small businesses more efficient. Yes, I want to make life easier for entrepreneurs. But, short of winning the lottery, I have to get paid to so that I can keep doing those things. I get paid by having solo entrepreneurs hire me to maximize their marketing spend.  They will only do that if I ask them to.

5.     Use any of these words (or phrases):

Track record. Award Winning. Leader. Largest. Best. Outside the box. Innovate. Join the Conversation. One of a kind. And my least favorite, EXPERT.  This goes back to number 2; we use these words because everyone else does.  These are buzzwords; they are filthy and like profanity, we only use them when we don’t have a better way to express ourselves.  I challenge you to become very friendly with http://www.thesaurus.com. Spread your wings, expand your vocabulary or better yet, use the simple everyday words that you already know and your visitors can connect with.

Only use words that are true. Are you really the “largest” or “best”? Is that based on research? How do you define “best”? Whatever your answer is,  use that in place of these buzzwords and you’ll stand out.  Unless you’re prepared to give a scholarly, researched based dissertation on your subject matter, you’re probably not an “expert”. You are just really really good at what you do. You work smart not hard, you focus on your niche, you have a passion for serving your clients selflessly. Say that. That has meaning. That tells your client exactly why you’re different from the next person and you will win them over.

This is just a very short list of the things that I’ve seen in the past few days.  I wanted to share them because even the best, most seasoned marketers can forget these things. As a matter of fact, I’m going over to my website right now to make sure I’ve practiced what I preach.

Leave a comment


  1. Hi Raven, I landed on your blog after following a link from Twitter to Virtual Assistantville – just wanted to mention how much I liked this post. Very nice! If you’d be interested in guest-posting on a VA industry blog, please get in touch!

    • Hello and thanks! I’m also a member of VirtualAssistantForums.com. Definitely interested in guest blogging! What’s the best way to contact you? I’m RavenDelana on VAF, if you want to shoot me a message there.

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