Five Marketing Mistakes Most Small Business Owners Make

by | Apr 6, 2021

MINT Business Club presents Five Marketing Mistakes Most Small Business Owners Make – with marketing consultant Michelle Rose.

The session was filmed live as part of our March 2021 taster session. 

So this morning is the five marketing mistakes that most small business owners make. And this is not me running through a big, long criticism of you’re doing this wrong, you’re doing that wrong. Not at all, not at all.

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Transcript of Video

So this morning is the five marketing mistakes that most small business owners make. And this is not me running through a big, long criticism of you’re doing this wrong, you’re doing that wrong. Not at all, not at all. It’s a gentle observation of what I’ve seen over the many years of training and mentoring and working with clients. So it’s going to be really relaxed. I don’t have any slides, just nice and informal. And then that way, when I go into the group with the room with my group, you’ll have a sense of normal me. I haven’t just been a voice behind a PowerPoint.
Okay. So let’s get straight into it. I’m going to give you the five mistakes and then the five tips of how you can try to not make that mistake. And then they’ll all come together with a, hopefully a nice, good, strong marketing learning point at the end.
So the first mistake that most small business owners make is, and you have to imagine this has got a hashtag on the beginning. So it’s hashtag all the things, all the things. And what that means is, is that more small business owners try to sell all the things.
Imagine walking into a shop and it is full of stuff. Okay. It’s not an Aladdin’s cave or a bazaar and it’s all jewels and gorgeous smells, and you know. It’s just a shop that is higgledy-piggledy, floor to ceiling full of stuff. And you walk in and your anxiety levels rise, and you’re looking for an excuse to get out. Sometimes the small business owners, our marketing comes across as though it’s that little shop. And that is because, excuse me guys, I’m just going to put my timer on.
It’s just because we’re anxious so we, that we sell everything. We have to show everybody that we do everything. And actually, if you took your time and focused on really promoting a few really good things and put your effort into that, people are going to resonate with that much more. You’re going to catch their attention much more. So it’s much better to be known for one or two things, because then you can put your marketing effort into those two things, than trying to sell all of the things and wondering how on earth do I promote all of those?
And the answer is you can’t, you can’t. You’ve got to become well-known for something. And there’s a few of you, a few faces I recognise. And I could tell you probably the main things that you do, which is, which is good. So stick with that.
So what I want you to do instead of all of the things I want you to do some of the things. Go and give your business a bit of a review. And when you join Mint you get the digital copy of the Mint planner for the year, and it helps you do all of the reviews and helps you with your marketing. But do a review and see if you can find, Nic said in the chat, you know, having a niche, having a specialism, what could you really pull out and focus on?
So my thing is helping business owners get started with their marketing. So they get into good habits and it’s helping small business owners. So there’s a, there’s something quite specialised there. I’m not saying I help everyone or I help, you know, all of the big businesses. So focus on some of the things.
The next mistake leads on. And in fact, all of the mistakes are like this. That they’re really interconnected. So the next one is another hashtag all of the people, small business owners try to sell all of the things to all of the people.
So you can imagine that the way I teach it is imagine you’ve got a sink, you know, a normal kitchen sink. And it’s full of tiny little people. It’s crammed of tiny people. Okay. And they’re all bobbing around and they’re all having a great time. And you’re thinking, Oh my God, who do I sell to? Who do I market to? I’d better talk to everyone. I have to talk to everyone. And because you’re trying to sell all of the things you’re like, I’d better talk to everybody as well. And then on top of all of the chatter and the, the, you know, the hubbub and the sink, you’ve got this tap and this tap is flowing all of the time.
And there’s Facebook marketing, not from you. Well from you, but your competitor’s there as well. And all of the other people out there, there’s people are getting emails and seeing Facebook posts. They’re going to networking events. There’s just marketing, coming out of them, out of the top all of the time. And you’re there going, hi, can you buy something from me? Hi, all of you. It doesn’t work.
And you can see, as I’m talking to you, my shoulders are up and my voice is high pitched and there’s this anxiety. So I don’t want you to talk to all of the people. I want you to look in that, you know, that virtual sink and go, you’re my person. You’re my person. You’re my person. I’ve turned my phone off. See, this is what happens when it gets hot. You just like you lose the plot a little bit don’t you? And the warm weather comes.
Find those people in the sink that are yours. People call it, I call it perfect person. Other people call an ideal client buyer persona. There’s trainings galore on this inside of Mint. You talk to some of the people, because it’s much easier. So say I pick on Caroline. Cause I know Caroline. And I’m like, hi, Caroline, Caroline. Yes, Caroline. She’s a definite one for me. Hi Caroline. Could I let you know about my thing. If I say my things, she was like, yeah, yeah, I’m too busy. Hey Caroline, can I let you know about my thing? And suddenly her attention and that sink is like, Oh, that’s interesting. I’ve got a retention.
Then I keep marketing and I keep marketing. And then the way I train, the sort of marketing sink, people who want to work with you, they put themselves inside the pipe and you do a bit more marketing and they squeeze themselves down and you do a bit more marketing then they keep squeezing themselves down the pipe until eventually pop. They come out of the end and they’re a customer.
So if you’ve seen sort of a sales funnel, a marketing funnel, that’s, that’s my take on that. But you just need to put fewer people in that funnel and then market to them and talk to them and look after them and they’re much more likely to pop out at the end as customers. So to avoid that mistake, I don’t want you talking to all of the people. I want you talking to some of the people it’s so much easier to catch people’s attention to bring them into their world, into your world when they get a feeling that you’re talking to them directly.
So, you’re only going to sell some of the things to some of the people.
Number three, I do it this way round. Number three, the next mistake is that lots of small business owners, this is maybe the biggie, spend all of the time, hashtag all of the time marketing. But actually they don’t. They think they do, but they’re not.
They’re spending a lot of time faffing and flapping and worrying about doing marketing and looking at the plans that they’ve got. And actually they end up doing nothing because talking to all of the people about all of the things is incredibly overwhelming. Like where do you start? And as a small business owner, when you set up your business, you are amazing at what you do, but you don’t suddenly wake up on that first morning of business and have a marketing degree or marketing experience in your head.
So we do learn and we do make mistakes as we go. But I think quite often we put ourselves under so much pressure because we think we have to do Facebook and we have to do emails and we have to have a great website and we have to be doing this and we have to be doing that.
And so what happens is you probably either end up spending none of the time on your marketing because you get so anxious and you do nothing. Or what I see, which is where all of the time tends to go is you’re on your phone and you’re doing this. Facebook, Instagram, comment, chat, chat. And I say it to people. So you’re doing your marketing. Yeah. I’m on Instagram and I’m on Facebook. So what are you doing strategically on Instagram and Facebook? No, I’m just scrolling and scrolling. How much time? Not much. Can you put your tracker on and just do your normal scrolly thing and tell me how much time you’re spending on Facebook every day.
I just want to ask at this point. Yeah. Put your hands up, if you’re one of those people who spends quite a lot of time faffing. Honestly, and then put your hands up. Also if you then at the same time as spending all your time, faffing, you wonder where your time’s gone and you need a better time management strategy, right? Because we spend so much time faffing and scrolling and then we get people saying, Nic teach us how to manage my time.
Yeah, it is. It is. It’s a process. And you know, you’re learning your marketing and you’re learning your business. All of the time. I mean, since, since I met Nic, I’m not quite sure how many years ago now, not decades. Can I just point out from what you said before? I am not that old, both of our businesses have, see when I met Nic, Nic didn’t know Paul. Paul is now a director of Mint. Our businesses changed, therefore the type of marketing we do needs to change as well. So yes.
If I said to someone, can you give me how much time can you give me a week to do your marketing? And they’d say, Oh yeah, I’ve got five hours spare. So you’ve got 20 hours a week to do proper marketing, not the scrolly scrolly stuff, the proper marketing. Five hours.
Okay. And I’ll come back to them. And I say, well, how did you do with your five hours? I only really realised I had two hours because of this here and we had to do this, especially post pandemic life and pre pandemic life. So my advice is always set the scrolling aside, look at your diary. And I know everyone’s lives are higgledy-piggledy and every week can be different. Cause you know, my life is like that. But on average, what is properly, realistically, the least amount of time you can spend on your marketing? Not the most, the least. And then what can you do in that time properly? You might need to be on Facebook. I’ve got a list of all of the different Facebook groups I’m in and every day, what are the different posts and threads they do? So I’d go into that group and post have a bit of chit-chat. I come out. That’s what I do on Facebook. All I do.
You know, my Instagram posts, I send my emails. If you’ve only got probably an hour and a half a week, you’ve only got probably an hour and a half a week, but I would rather you spend that hour and a half doing proper good marketing because that’s still like six hours a month. Do that. It’s done. Then if you want to go scrolling, scrolling, you can.
But really guys, less time gets you more results because you become focused. So, which really naturally brings me on to number four, which is the next mistake is that lots of small business owners try and do all of the marketing things. So another hashtag all of the marketing things.
If I was delivering this with PowerPoint, these would be like flashing up with big, big hashtags. All of the marketing things as a small business owner, we’ve just figured out, you do not have the time to do all of the marketing things. You do not have the skills. If I said to you now go and set up tailwind for Pinterest, hands up, who could now go and do tailwind for Pinterest?
Okay, there’s the next training course, Michelle,
You don’t have the skills you, you learn. I’ve been through more email systems than you know, hot dinners. And I, and I am learning all, all of the time. I’ve got this gorgeous new pop-up thing on my website with a new app thing. We learn all of the time. But as a small business owner, you don’t have the time. You don’t have the skills, you don’t have the budget necessarily to outsource it. And you also don’t have the money to buy all of the different things.
So now you know who you’re talking to, you know what you’re selling. You know how much time you’ve got to talk to the people about what you’re selling. So now you can figure out what marketing you need to do within that time slot you’ve got. So let me tell you quite clearly, this might go against what you’ve learned or what you think. Give me a little second. It says my Internet’s unstable. It’s come back. What? Now give me a second. What was I going to say? My mind has gone absolutely blank. How good is this for live training Nic?
Well, I’ll tell you what, I’ll jump in. We’ve got all of the things
It’s all come back to me. It’s all come back to me. It’s that it’s a, this is a thing that comes with being in your mid forties, I think. So we’ll just go with it.
Your marketing ideas, your tactics, they come at the end. All of the ideas you’ve got, write them down, keep them store them. But you look at who you’ve got to speak to what you’ve got to tell them about how much time you’ve got, and then you pick the marketing ideas to suit. You don’t find a marketing idea and go, that looks epic and then try and shoehorn it into your marketing plan because actually it could be the wrong type of marketing.
And there’s only four types of marketing. And I haven’t got time to go into them all this morning, but I believe there’s only four types of marketing and one of them’s not social media. So then that’ll get you thinking, you pick your ideas at the end, everyone. You don’t pick your ideas first and then shoehorn them in. So I hope that that makes sense. And it’s a little bit you know, it’s probably a little bit reverse engineering of, of what you’ve been taught.
And when you know, you’ve got to spend less time as well, and you’ve got to do less things. Your marketing anxiety comes down and it’s really important to me that people love their marketing, that they like it. They enjoy it because then they are so much more likely to do it.
If I had a pound for every client who had a marketing plan that was sitting in a word document, never looked at or written out in a planner and shoved in the drawer. Like I’d be on a beach in Bali, talking to you from there or not needing to talk to you. You need to plan and you need to do it. And when you’re more excited about that plan and you haven’t got as much anxiety around it and you know what time you’ve got to spend and what you’re going to do, you’re much more likely to do it, which really nicely sort of rounds us up into the last, the mistakes. And you can sort of see we’ve already covered this because I said at the beginning that these mistakes were really sort of all quite tightly bound together. It’s quite hard to unpick them.
So the last mistake is having all of the plans. Let’s do this. I must do that. I’m going to sell this. I’m going to go here. I’m going to, So quite simply, rather than trying to do all of the plans, I want you to have, I call it marketing habits and you could have equally for today. You could come away from today and think what would be my one page marketing plan?
If I was talking to these people, selling that, and I only had that much time. And I think that these are the marketing things or tactics that are going to work for me. What am I going to do? What’s my plan on one page. Most people do it for a month. I tend to do it in six weeks because I’ve got kids. So I tend to work around the school holidays. And I like working in six weeks. It gives, it feels a little bit less stressy than working in a month, but that, you know, you’ve got to make your plan work for you. And when you join Mint, within the Mint digital planner, you’ve got marketing plans and support and everything you need in there.
So, marketing habits, for me, I’ve got nine. I know Rebecca’s got five ish. Seven, oh seven. Seven.
Rebecca’s got seven. I’ve got nine. Mine are on a piece of paper, colour coded. So my Insta is bright pink. My blogging is blue, my collaboration. So what I’m doing today with Nic is in lime green. Okay. And I write every, this is how I track it. It’s as easy as that, I need to do one collaboration a month. I need to do two blogs a month. I need to do Instagram at least twice a week. I got my first VA virtual assistant, who’s going to take over my Instagram because I know it’s important for my people, but I haven’t got the time because now I’m homeschooling one of my kids permanently, something needs to give.
But a one page marketing plan, what would your habits be? And if I, whenever I do training and I say to people, what marketing do you do? Go on, take five minutes. What marketing do you do? Or even when I meet a client and they say, they’ve got their pens and sort of say, right, we’ve really got to prove to Michelle how much marketing we’re doing. And they write and they write and they write, or the client turns up to the meeting and I’m like, can I see your marketing plan? And they’re like, this is it. And then it’s that page as well. And then it’s that page.
Or in training and I’m like, so did you get to write something down? And they’re like, yeah, I’ve got all of that. And all of that, it’s like, you cannot do it all guys. Pull it back a little bit. Pull it back. So again, maybe a little bit reverse engineering to what you’ve heard elsewhere. I am telling you that less is more.
Less time, less things, which all brings it together into one, lovely, easy to follow marketing plan. And then my whole ethos, everything that I do in my business, you know, where Mint is sort of that big picture and Mint has its pillars that you can see in the logo of, you know, of the ‘M’. Mint is helping you with all of your parts of your business, it’s really giving you those foundations. And I’m one of those foundations, I’m the marketing one. And I want to help people to love their marketing.
So one of my strap lines is, I like a hashtag. Can you tell? Hashtag love your marketing. And I do believe that when you follow that structure and you do less, you will end up having a marketing plan that you love and that you do and that you see results from.
So I’m not going to talk about goals because Nic is the master at talking about goals and money. But you know, if you’ve watched mine and Nic’s content ideas, 15 content ideas in 15 minutes for every month. We’ve done January, February, March, April. Every month we ended up going, can you please sell? Can you please, can you sell? Can you remember to sell? So the reason you’re doing your marketing is to make the sales so much easier. So that quite often you don’t have to sell, or you certainly don’t have to do the hard sell because people want to work with you.
And when you do your marketing it does make the sales easier. When you’re going into a sales call, when you’ve got no relationships with people, when you feel like, Hey, I haven’t done enough marketing and you know, you feel the sales get so much more difficult.
So again, I’m not talking about goals, I’m not talking about sales and other pillars in Mint. There’s experts to help you train in that. But if I can get you to do a lush, gorgeous, marketing plan, guys, you will hashtag love your marketing.