Marketing mistakes

Classic Marketing Mistakes Of Small Businesses

I was reminded of the classic marketing mistakes small businesses make on a recent family holiday in India.

In India, you know you’re going to get constantly hassled by people trying to sell you cheap tat.

Their approach always reminds me of the marketing mistakes of so many small businesses, which is why so many struggle.

  1. They approach anyone and everyone.

The first rule of marketing is to clearly identify your target audience as precisely as possible and then build your marketing to appeal directly to that audience.

They try to sell to anyone who happens to be in the vicinity.

  1. They sell too early.

Customers need to know, like and trust you before they will buy.

Obviously this isn’t possible for these guys. They have one chance and if they don’t sell first up, they never will.

And the sad fact is that they very seldom do.

  1. People buy benefits not features.

Now precisely how they could sell the benefits of a carved elephant or a bunch of gaudy bangles I’m not sure.

But again the point holds good.

You’re unlikely to be successful if you’re just selling the item without explaining how the customer will benefit and how it will solve their problems .

  1. They don’t differentiate themselves

In a crowd of hawkers they’re usually all selling the same thing.

If everyone’s product is basically the same why should I choose one over another.

In your marketing you need to differentiate yourself from your competitors.

You do this via the product itself, elements of your service or pricing so that there’s a real reason to choose you.

  1. They have no pricing policy

Classically a hawker will start at an unrealistic price and will rapidly come down.

Now I’m not saying that you should never negotiate, but you must retain your credibility during the negotiation process.

Used correctly, pricing can be a fantastically effective marketing tool.

Unfortunately too many people get it wrong and end up giving their stuff away too cheaply.

So there you have five classic marketing mistakes that small businesses so often make.

But assuming you’re selling a quality product, I can help you get all these points right.

Just give me a shout on or call me on 01483 200387.

Marketing your business

Classic Marketing Mistakes

Theresa May has been guilty of some classic marketing mistakes recently.

I’m referring to her trip around the country trying to sell her Brexit deal to the people.

I really wouldn’t suggest that you get her to do your marketing as I see two classic mistakes in what she’s doing.

  1. The wrong target audience

She’s trying to sell her deal to the general populace.

I don’t really understand what she hopes to gain from this.

The audience she has to convince are her fellow MPs.

On December 11th the Commons will vote on the deal and will probably throw it out.

She’s like a business owner who’s targeting the wrong group of customers.

Marketing is all about the 3Ms – market, message, medium and unfortunately she’s talking to the wrong market.

It doesn’t matter how good what you’re (or she) is saying, if you’re saying it to the wrong people, you’re not going to get the result you’re looking for.

This means her road trip is unlikely to influence the chances of getting it through the Commons.

The only other thought is that she’s canvassing early for a second referendum – now there’s a thought.

So that’s the first of her classic marketing mistakes.

  1. An unattractive proposition

The second and more fundamental mistake is that what she’s trying to sell (her proposition)  isn’t attractive enough for MPs to buy.

Now I know I go on about this a lot but if your proposition – what you offer to your prospective clients, isn’t appealing enough and doesn’t set you apart from your competitors, then you’re going to struggle to persuade new customers.

I think May’s got a real problem here.

More than anything her problem is in communication.

How many people really understand the backstop and its implications.

It’s exactly the same for you in your business.

If prospects don’t understand exactly what you do, the problems in their lives that you solve and how you will benefit them, then they’re very unlikely to do business with you.

Your proposition has to be crystal clear.

Your audience must understand what you do and how you will make their lives better.

So if you’re determined to avoid these classic marketing mistakes, among others, simply email me on or call me on 01483 200387.


4 Classic Digital Marketing Mistakes

Digital marketing offers a whole world of opportunities.


But the fact is that very few businesses successfully utilise the internet successfully.


So what are the mistakes that you should ensure you’re not making?


#1 – They Are Not Building an Opted-In List


Over 99% of visitors leave websites without taking action.


This is a criminal waste.


Having deliberately searched out your website they leave without a trace.


But if you offer them something of value (a special report, a video etc) in exchange for their contact details you can start building a list and then begin marketing to them.


In this way you can start to build a relationship and when the time is right they may well buy from you.


#2 – They Don’t Communicate Regularly with Their List


Having built your list you must stay in touch with it.


You can build the relationship, show your expertise, make special offers, promote events etc.


You need to move prospects down the funnel and closer to making a purchase

Email Marketing

#3 – They Have a Poor Quality Website


You have around 8 seconds after people land on your website before they click away.


In that time your website has got to persuade them they’re in the right place.


There are two elements that will make them decide:

  1. Content – your website has got to have high quality content that demonstrates that you can solve your visitors’ problems.
  2. Design – how your website looks will influence the way people respond. While not getting in the way of function, a visually appealing website will be more effective than an ugly one.


#4 – They Don’t Have a Traffic Generation Strategy


A great website is useless if no one visits it.


So you must have a traffic generation strategy.


The primary traffic mechanisms are:


Pay Per Click – Google Adwords and Facebook advertising are the key PPC platforms.

The great thing with Adwords is that you can be on the front page of Google within minutes of setting up your campaign and it only costs when someone clicks on your ad.

Pay Per Click

Search Engine Optimisation – if you appear on the first page of the organic Google listings, you’ll get a regular stream of customers looking for what you sell.


But SEO takes longer to achieve good rankings than Adwords and Google is continuously changing the criteria it ranks websites on.


If you get these elements right, you will find your digital marketing will start delivering a regular stream of prospects.


However if you feel this all sounds too difficult and you want an expert to make sure it’s done right, give me a call on 01483 200387 or email me on

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Misconceptions About Marketing

Here at BDA, I am dedicated to creating powerful, effective and well-thought through marketing campaigns.

However, there are quite a few misconceptions as to what this entails.

Lots of buzzwords – holistic marketing, data-driven content, influencer marketing etc etc only serve to confuse and intimidate people and can confuse the whole marketing process for the business owner.

So, what are the most common misconceptions that people have about marketing in the modern world?

The More the Merrier

Social media, email, PPC, SEO, content, and on and on and on.

There are a lot of marketing strategies out there. Some of them are important for everyone, while others have value but aren’t necessary.


A lot of the time marketers will insist you need it all.

But, this just isn’t the case.

What you need is a tailored marketing campaign for your company.

Techniques that work well and are relevant to one business won’t necessarily work for another and you’ll only find out by testing and assessing.

Basically, make sure you don’t run a campaign just for the sake of “doing some marketing”

Good marketing is smart marketing.

Small Businesses Don’t Need Marketing

So, you’ve heard of marketing and it sounds great but it’s only relevant for bigger businesses.

You’re small, maybe just a one-man band, and your customers come from word of mouth or small local paper adverts. You don’t need marketing.


Every business needs to actively market itself. Unless you’re out there giving relevant messages to your target audience your business is unlikely to thrive. This means you need to create a marketing plan.

Natural business growth needs a plan, so if you want to expand you need to make sure you have a marketing plan – no matter how small your business is!

Your Website is All You Need

Some people are under the impression that a website is the width and breadth of a marketing campaign.

It has all your company information, details and sells itself.

This begs the question of how are potential customers meant to find the website in the first place in order for it to ‘sell itself’?

website development

If your website’s on the second or third page of Google, very few people will ever find you..

But with an effective SEO campaign you could be at the top of the first page – ready and waiting for customers to find you.

So, don’t just rely on your website to gain your online sales. It may be a very long and frustrating wait.

You need to be proactive and to have a traffic strategy.

Marketing is all about driving sales, the first stage of which is to get your business seen in the first place.

Do you need some advice about the do’s and don’ts of marketing? Then don’t hesitate to contact me on 01483 200387 or email me at

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Marketing Is an On Going and Long Term Commitment

A classic mistake that many companies make is to do a short burst of marketing, not get the results they hoped for and so stop.

Read more


The Biggest Marketing Mistake

What do you think is the single biggest marketing mistake you as a business owner can make?


Ever wondered?


Now of course nobody gets it right all the time but the mistake I’m talking about is made by so many business owners.


So what’s the mistake, I hear you ask.


It’s doing nothing – not doing any marketing at all.


“Our business comes through word of mouth” is the standard explanation I hear.


Referrals are great. When one customer refers you to someone else who becomes a customer, it’s brilliant. It doesn’t cost you anything, they’re normally very enthusiastic customers, keen to sign up with you and the whole process endorses what you’re doing.


But people who say that seldom seem to be sitting on thriving businesses.


You know as well as I do that this is normally just an excuse. It’s not that they don’t know in theory what to do. They read books, go to seminars, attend webinars, they do everything except get on and do their marketing.


Do you know anyone like this?


I’m sorry to have to say it but these people are sabotaging their own businesses.


Instead of having a steady flow of new business coming in, they cut their prices just to generate enough business to pay the bills.

Closing down sale

If you can identify with this, my message is, stop procrastinating and get on and do it.


So what’s the worst that can happen?


You don’t get the result you’re looking for but hopefully you learn a lesson that means that next time it goes better or you decide to bring in someone who knows what they’re doing and will do it for you.


So what are some other classic mistakes to avoid:

  • Trusting your online marketing to your web designer – the clue is in the name – designer. These guys will make your website look great but they don’t know how to make your website work for you – to convert visitors into customers.
  • Not having a marketing funnel – a way of collecting contact details from website visitors so that you can market to them after they’ve left your website.
  • Not having a traffic strategy to drive visitors to your website. You can have the best website in the world but if no one finds it, then it’s useless.
  • Not emailing your list often enough because you’re worried that you’ll upset them and they’ll unsubscribe.

Email Stress

  • Doing generic brand awareness advertising instead of direct response advertising.
  • Not following up with prospects or giving up after one or two contacts.
  • Taking existing customers for granted and not having an on-going communication programme with them.


I could go on for ages but if you manage to avoid those classic mistakes, your marketing will be more effective than 95% of businesses out there.


However if you’re struggling to get your marketing done, now is the time to get in touch with me on, or by phone on 01483 200387.

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Why The Content Of Your Website Is So Important

Recently I was checking out the website of an SEO guy I’d met at a networking event. As websites are at the very heart of this guy’s business, I was expecting the website to be technically perfect, maybe not very inspiring but put together with the ultimate care and attention to detail.

Well was I ever disappointed.

It was a mess.

It was littered with typos and grammatical errors. Now you could argue that this isn’t important and the only important thing is whether he can get my website to a prominent position on the first page of Google. My impression wasn’t helped by the fact that his website wasn’t ranking highly for what I thought were his most obvious keywords.

Moving away from the example of this one company, the question is whatever business you’re in, how important is the spelling, grammar and over all presentation of your website?

Coming back to my SEO scenario, I immediately started to form an opinion about him and his business standards and that led to my conclusion of shoddy website content = shoddy workmanship. I could be completely wrong, of course but if I’d come across that site purely via a Google search I would immediately move on to other sites that look more professional and show that they care about how they present themselves to the world.

I believe that words really do count when it comes to websites. After all, for the most part, it’s the written word that is doing the hard work on any website small businesses have to rely on their website content to get across their key messages and find a compelling way to engage with customers in order to keep visitors on their site for more than the 8 seconds that you have to persuade them to stay. Your website content is your business voice, so if you want to build trust and credibility, the words, grammar, punctuation and layout on each page of your website are vital.

The Internet has presented us with so much choice that we have to find ways of making decisions, applying various filters to get down to the final two or three businesses that we might purchase from. If the spelling and presentation let the site down, you’ve found a reason to discard that prospect.

We’re all concerned about our search engine rankings and now Google is focusing on the visitor experience and penalising sites that are written for search engines, we all should concentrate on the quality of the content and making sure that the site makes the best possible impression.

A little attention to detail, ensuring your site has no spelling mistakes, grammatical errors or layout glitches, could make a huge difference to your visitor response.


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The Greatest Crime In Small Business Marketing

What’s the greatest crime committed by your business?

Personally I believe the number of leads that marketing generates which are never converted into customers is criminal.

How The Crime Occurs

In most businesses, marketing are tasked with generating leads. These leads are then typically passed over to sales who then go to work trying to turn them into customers.

A certain percentage of these will quite quickly become customers – let’s say 5%

Another percentage will even more quickly disqualify themselves and drop out of your sales process. This could well be 50% of all the leads.

However there is still maybe 45% of the leads who haven’t said “yes” but they also haven’t said “no”.

Typically the sales person will contact them or try to contact them 3 or 4 times. After being given non committal responses – “let me think about it” or “I’ll get back to you” the sales person starts to feel that they are being fobbed off and decides to” stop flogging a dead horse” and moves onto the next set of easier converts.

Hold on a moment.

That’s 45% of your leads who are being given up on or to put it another way nine times the number of leads you converted

Buyers Can Take Up To 10 Individual “Touches”

The fact is that many prospects may take up to 10 separate communications or “touches” and sometimes even more, before they are ready to buy.

It may be that the time just wasn’t right initially or that or they were evaluating a different proposal or they simply had other priorities

They want to decide in their own time.

Your Job Is To Maintain The Contact

The last thing your prospect wants is to receive continuous sales calls.

Your job is to maintain the contact, continue to provide valuable information and be ready to respond when your prospect is ready to buy.

What you need is a Prospect Conversion System.

You need to set up a communication system which keeps you in the prospects’ consciousness.

While email is the simplest and cheapest way to do this if you intersperse your emails with letters, postcards or phone calls you will add interest and value to the process.

How Often Should You Communicate With These Prospects?

Many people worry about hassling their prospects – concerned that they will become irritated if they contact them too often. The correct regularity will depend on the quality of what you’re sending them. The fact is that if you are sending valueless rubbish once a year is too often but if you’re sending valuable and engaging material then you can send it almost as often as you like. Weekly certainly wouldn’t be too often

How Long Should You Continue To Communicate?

The classic answer to this is that you should continue to communicate until they either buy from you or they die. Your recipients are perfectly capable of unsubscribing from your list if they no longer want to receive stuff from you.  I’ve known customers who have taken 15 months from the initial contact before they have finally become ready to buy.

So remember a large percentage of prospects will take a long time to decide to buy so just make sure that you’re still in the frame when they finally are ready.

If this blog article strikes a chord with you, leave me a comment and share your experience.

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7 Classic Marketing Mistakes That Most Small Businesses Make

How happy are you with your business?

Have you managed to grow and develop it in the way you hoped when you started out?

For some the answer will be yes but for many business owners, the answer will be no.
The good news however is that by rectifying just a few basic mistakes, you can potentially free your business from the restraints which have been holding it back.

Mistake No 1 – Not Maximising The Value Of Existing Customers
When most people think about growing their business, they immediately think of new customers. But winning new customers is hard work. The easiest way to increase your income is to tap into your existing customers.
Think about it.
They already know you, like you and trust you. So if you make them aware of other products or services that you supply, it will be easy for them to make the decision to purchase from you.

So ask yourself this question: are all your customers aware of the range of products you sell? If not you have a great opportunity to sell them more stuff.

Mistake No 2 – Not Continually Refining Your Marketing
One of the biggest problems with people is not that they aim high and fail but that they aim low and succeed.

A very common scenario is that you run a marketing campaign and it’s reasonably successful and makes a small profit. So you’re quite happy.
The question is: should you be? And the answer is NO!
We should all continually strive to improve – we should look at every aspect of our businesses and ask – what could we do better?
The fact is if you could increase your number of customers, your average spend, the frequency of purchase and your conversion rate by just 10% you would increase your business by 46%.

Mistake No 3 – Not Using Multiple Marketing Channels
Most businesses use only one or two marketing channels.
So  if your marketing is working and generating incremental income, surely it makes sense to introduce additional marketing channels and then test them and refine them so that they too become profit generating.
Say each channel generates £10K of additional business, then why not have say 7 channels generating £70k of additional income instead of just a couple.

Mistake No 4 – Waiting For Customers To Give You Referrals
When you ask the majority of small business owners where they get their new business from, the most common answer is word of mouth or referrals.
Word of mouth is great but the problem is you don’t know when it might happen and you don’t know how many referrals you might get.
Smart business people use referral marketing as a proactive marketing channel to generate high quality and low cost leads at a predictable rate.

So how do you go about generating referrals?
There are lots of ways but the two simplest are:
1. Just ask.
When you’ve done good work for a customer and they’re feeling very positive towards you, just ask if they know anyone who they think might also benefit from your services. As a nation we’re not very good at asking for referrals, but what’s the worst that can happen? Your customer might not be able or want to give you a referral. You haven’t lost anything.
2. Give Referrals.
The more referrals you give, the more you will get. It’s as simple as that. If you give someone a referral they will feel indebted to you and look to reciprocate.

Mistake No 5 – Not Pooling Resources With Other Local Businesses
What I’m talking about here is finding ways to work together with other local businesses who serve the same target audience but with a different product. This is also called strategic alliances.

The questions to ask are:

1. Who has relationships with the types of businesses, or individuals that you want to talk to?

2. Who would benefit from the relationships that you have with businesses, or individuals?

3. How could you help each other?

An example of the kind of thing I’m talking about would be if an insurance company promoted a special deal in a dental practice to the dentist’s clients. The insurance company would get a number of new customers, the dentist’s customers get a great deal and the dentist would get the high value work from his insured clients.

Mistake No 6 – Not Testing And Measuring
The thing about marketing is that it isn’t an exact science. When I design a new piece of marketing activity I believe it will be successful. Unfortunately this isn’t always the case. If I’ve spent £000s on it that’s a bit of a disaster. However if I’ve spent a couple of hundred pounds and it isn’t successful  but I now change it to something that works better, that is a sensible and astute way of working.
So the key points here are to test all your marketing on a small scale initially so you are not risking too much and to measure the results.  If you spend £x but have don’t measure your return, you don’t know if it was a good investment or not. But if you spend £x, measure the result and find you make £5x back, then you know you should repeat it.

Mistake No7 – Not Being Persistent

So you’ve been doing your marketing  but your prospects aren’t committing.

What do you do now?

If you’re like most business owners, you do nothing.
But the fact is if you follow up, you will get more business.

So how many times should you follow up? Some people say that it takes up to seven “touches” to get a prospect to commit, others say 10.
The answer is that you should follow up until you get a definitive answer – until your prospect either buys from you or clearly states that he’s not going to buy from you.

Persistence will pay off.

Good luck

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The Five Big Mistakes Made By New And Growing Businesses

It’s a sad statistic that 80% of new businesses fail within their first five years. The following points are mistakes that individually can seriously damage your business. Put all together and you’ll become just another statistic.

  1. Trying To Sell Something People Don’t Want
    It sounds obvious but you’d be surprised.
    Choosing a good product to sell should be easy. It may not be original but if you choose something that people are already buying, maybe give it a bit of a twist and then you go out and market it better than the others, you’ll probably be successful.But that’s not what a lot of people do.  Very admirably, they create something new, something the market isn’t currently providing. Now that’s great as long as there isn’t a good reason why no one else is selling it.Your product may be fantastic. But do people want it? Possibly they should want it. It may be something we should all need. But do people really want it. If they don’t you’re in trouble.
  2. Wasting Money On Ineffective Advertising
    What’s the quickest way to start marketing your business. That’s right – advertising. If you look through your local paper you will see any number of local businesses doing uninspiring, instantly forgettable advertising. When you’re starting a business, money is invariably tight. Every pound spent needs to generate a profit.
    If your advertising isn’t generating a profit, you should stop it immediately. If an ad costs you say £300, if you’re not making more than that in nett profit then you should stop it.
    Now I know the argument about it taking time to build awareness. Small businesses shouldn’t be doing brand advertising. Each ad should generate an immediate response and make a profit.
  3. A Website That No One Knows About
    You may have the world’s most beautiful website. You may have spent weeks crafting the words and selecting gorgeous images. You may have spent thousands of pounds with highly skilled designers but if no one finds it then unfortunately you’ve wasted all your time and money.
    At the same time that you’re creating your website, you must spend time thinking about how you’re going to drive traffic to it.
    Here are a few ways to make sure your website gets found:
    1.Search engine optimisation
    2. Pay per click advertising
    3. Email Marketing
    4. Traditional Advertising
    5. Viral Marketing
    6. Inbound Link Building
  4. Not Creating A Back End Of Products And Services
    Most businesses make their money by developing long term relationships with customers. The cost of acquiring new customers is very high. Luckily the cost of selling to existing customers is much lower.  So the secret is to create a “back end” so that as soon as you’ve made your first sale, you have something else to sell them. Your customer has already made the decision to buy from you once, given the right offer they’ll be happy to buy from you again.
    Create a sequence of products for your customers to buy and watch your sales grow.
  5. Not Allowing Yourself Enough Time or Money
    Few businesses become successful overnight. If you take the right steps from the outset, then you can build your business pretty fast. But it will still take time.
    When you start out you should decide how long you think it will take to build your business. Realistically you should now probably double that time. And of course it’s not just time that you need. You also need money. You must make sure you have enough cash to get you through this extended period. It’s such a shame when good businesses fail because the owner underestimated how long it would take and how much it would cost to get it up and running.