Business owners and entrepreneurs are, generally speaking, smart people. They have developed a product or service that solves a specific problem in a unique way. That takes a certain amount of intelligence, skill and talent.

But when it comes to marketing themselves effectively, those smart people tend to do some pretty dumb things that mess up their results and leave their business hurting.

Marketing Mistake #1 – Not Writing a Marketing Plan

By far, this is the most common mistake business owners make when it comes to effectively marketing themselves and their businesses – they just wing it! The thinking, it seems, is that if they write a marketing plan then that will reduce or remove their ability to jump on marketing opportunities when they arise because they aren’t part of the plan. In fact, the opposite is true!

When you have a marketing plan for your business you are better able to evaluate the potential effectiveness of an unforeseen opportunity when it arises because you’ll have more knowledge and awareness of who your business serves and where they go to find the solution you offer.

Having a marketing plan means you’ve taken the time to identify who your specific target audience is and what is most important to them. You understand their fears, frustrations and desires and have crafted a marketing message that speaks directly to those concerns.

Then, when an advertising representative calls you up and offers you a “great deal” on remnant ad space, you can quickly and easily evaluate whether or not that particular publication reaches your audience effectively.

If so, then you can go ahead with the confidence that this actually is a good opportunity. If not, you can politely decline and carry on with your existing marketing activities.

Either way, you win!

Marketing Mistake #2 – Not Implementing the Plan You Created

The next dumb marketing mistake that smart business owners make is actually creating a plan but then failing to implement it.

After taking all that time to develop a go-forward strategy to reach your target audience, they think that the rest will happen magically. Either that or they let the day to day “busyness of business” get in the way of completing the marketing activities that they have identified as being important.

Once you have a plan for your business, you absolutely must implement it diligently over a sustained period of time in order to determine if your plan is getting the results you’re looking for. Marketing is a process, not an event and one-off marketing hits generally don’t produce very good results.

Marketing Mistake #3 – Not Tracking Your Marketing Results

Of all the dumb mistakes that smart people make, this one has the most potential to cause serious damage for your business because it keeps you in the dark about what actual results your marketing efforts are having for your business.

You have to create a marketing plan so that you understand, to the best of your ability, who your target market is and what they truly want from you. Then you have to implement your marketing tactics by making a best guess as to what efforts will effectively reach those people and persuade them to want ot do business with you.

But without the appropriate measuring devices in place, you can’t actually make improvements to your marketing efforts over time, particularly if you have several campaigns on the go.

Marketing campaign number one could be generating 5x return on investment while campaign number two is losing 3x ROI. This produces an overall 2x ROI on all of your marketing efforts, but wouldn’t it make more sense to reduce your investment in campaign number two and focus more on number one to maximize your results?

Measuring results means thinking in advance about the specific action you want your prospective customer to take (click a link, call for more info or mention this ad) and then being diligent about actually measuring those actions and running an analysis after the campaign has finished.

The reality of every business is that you need more customers coming in to your business and you need existing customers coming back for more. This is the definition of marketing: the acquisition and retention of customers.