The trouble with digital marketing mistakes is that they cost us time and money and, in most cases, we don’t know we’re making them. So this information is not to judge your skillset or criticize your efforts, it’s the help you better invest your time and money, and to improve the results you achieve from those efforts.

10 Digital Marketing Mistakes Small Business Owners Make

Not Leveraging SEO / Not Optimizing SEO

For a lot of small business owners, learning SEO and coding can feel overwhelming. There is a lot of appeal in subscription services and Website buildings like Square Space, or Wix but all of these platforms are not created equal. If you are doing your own, get a user-friendly setup that will help you learn while you work. If you have a few thousand dollars for a site, and a couple grand a month for SEO, you can hire professionals. If not, you’ll need to start doing your own. Because even doing SEO that isn’t really good is better than doing none at all. So, here’s what I recommend that will give you not only quality SEO, but user-friendly options:

Website Lacks Flexibility

Your website needs to be able to grow organically like your business. Having to rewrite a site or pay someone to add content and make changes is an extra expense that many small business owners can use elsewhere.

One of the reasons I mentioned the platforms above I did is because you’ll get the flexibility to add, change, remove content easily. There are also endless plugins and integration possibilities. Features that you didn’t think of, or need initially, can be added without a major overhaul in your tech.

Content is Too Hard to Read

This is where a lot of small business owners struggle. Content isn’t designed to make you look smart, it’s to easily transfer knowledge to the reader. Hard-to-read content can’t transfer at the same rare or efficiency. Google factors readability into your SEO indexing as well, so you can lose ranking.

Flesch Reading Ease tests determine how hard or easy content is to read. What’s important to note is that the average person reads at a level of a 14-year-old, which is a score of 60-70. Unless you’re doing technical writing or your target audience is of a specific education level, keep your content easy to read. This isn’t just in the words you use. Flesch tests consider sentence length and structure, paragraph length, transition words, etc. What I like about Yoast is it has a Flesch test built-in.

Not Enough YOU In Your Branding

Consumers are changing in this digital trend. Faceless organizations are being traded in for mom & pop. Today’s buyers care less about what you offer and more about who you are. We’ve taught people not to associate their beliefs or values with their businesses too much, but current trends are demanding transparency. Be who you are. Incorporate yourself into your branding.

I used to be Shine Consulting. You didn’t know WHO I WAS. I focused on my skillsets, education, awards, and my business background but I didn’t talk about myself. There were no passion pieces. That created a huge disconnect with my clients and made me seem “stuffy.” Now my branding is whimsical, nerdy, and humorous which are all accurate ways to describe me.

No Mobile Optimization / Mobile Site

Roughly 50% of the web traffic worldwide is from a mobile device. This means your site needs to load fast and render well on various sizes of phones and tablets. Sites that are too hard to view, navigate or that load slow are abandoned at a rate of 92%. You can build an individual mobile site through a professional if you have the budget. Many themes in WordPress will render for mobile devices automatically. With DiviBuilder you can change the rendering at any time so you can view what your page will look like on a mobile device. Shopify has Responsive Themes which will are ideal choices as they have quality rendering for mobile.

Targeting Too Many Audiences

Marketing works best if you are hyper-focused on your perfect client. Think of it as a dartboard. If you don’t aim your dart, you don’t know where you will hit. What projects have the best profit margins? What kinds of clients do you like to work with? Aim exclusively for these clients, the bullseye. No, you won’t get your bullseye client each time but you will get clients who are closer because you were laser-focused in your aim.

No Clear Goals

Goals will help you determine your strategy and provide measurable results. If you aren’t setting your efforts up to meet specific goals, you’re wasting time and money. If you don’t have a strategist create a plan for yourself, set up clear, reasonable goals. Determine your target audience, decide what results you want to focus on. Check your analytics to see where you’re nailing it and where you can improve.  Start small. Stay where you are comfortable and start to push yourself little by little to increase and expand your goals.

Not Blogging / Not Blogging Enough

One of the most common digital marketing mistakes for those doing their own marketing, or not investing enough in content strategy. Blogging is a double-sided effort. On the business side, it creates more SEO opportunities, on the consumer side, it provides education and generates interest. Now I know, writing is a lot easier when you don’t have to take into consideration keyword research, search engine rules, readability, phrase saturation. So start with short keyphrases as you’re learning the SEO, and getting more comfortable in your writing.

Non-Engaging Social Posts

You have to be seen in order to gain engagement. The engagement is really how you develop the ‘know, like, trust’ factors that lead to closed business. Think of social media as a way for people to see the authenticity of you, your team, and your company’s values. You don’t need to be on all platforms. Using 5 or more social channels is a lot of work. If you aren’t paying a firm to do this for you, you need to limit what time you spend. You’ll get better results using only 1-2 platforms IF you have the right strategy. Where are your customers? When are they using that platform? What kinds of content gain the most engagement? Social media is all about working smarter, not harder.

Unreasonable Results

Marketing is a marathon, it isn’t a sprint. Professionals will need a few weeks for social ads, a few months for SEO, to start generating some real stats. If you’re doing your own, especially as you’re learning, you’ll need a lot longer. Don’t get discouraged. Things won’t progress overnight.


If you are a small business owner who’s carefully treading water, I hope this will help avoid some of the costly digital marketing mistakes that are so easy to make. If you want me to look anything over for you quickly, I’m happy to help. Just Make the Jump to Hyperdrive and shoot me a message. But unlike the Storm Trooper with their blasters, try to hit something. 😉