Advertising Mistakes Business Owners Make

It’s tough running your own business. You are the salesman, the manager, technician, customer service agent, bookkeeper, marketing manager and more all rolled into one. First off, hats off to those to persevere!

With so many things to handle, it’s understandable to make some mistakes here and there. Some are important to correct because it can cost you time and money. Advertising mistakes business owners make may seem trivial but can cost you growth and lost sales. By not being well planned and learned in creating your advertisement properly, you paid good money for an effect that could have been much more effective.


Here are some advertising mistakes business owners make:

1. Thinking that advertising and amount spend is directly correlated to sales increase. So to increase sales can be achieved by advertising more. (the ad design and message must be good as well)

2. Describing the product/service features in the ad instead of selling on the end result.

3. Too much clutter in the ad with no focus message.

4. Not having a clear message to bring across.

5. Not having a call to action.

6. Not understanding their main target market and creating a message that is not relevant to this target market.

7. Advertising in the wrong media for their target market.

8. Not advertising in a niche media. Instead choosing mass media like newspaper or tv where it may be not so effective. Mass media creates a lot of wastage for small businesses. Typically only large companies with larger geographical reach benefit. Like McDonalds.


So what can you do to make your ads more effective and avoid advertising mistakes business owners make?

Start by:

1. Implementing an advertising campaign review. Then measure results. Spending more does not equal more sales. Spend smart.

2. Sell the end result. For example Instead of saying this running shoe has durable soles, lightweight, has a reflector, sell the result. Show a person running with a nice scenic backdrop and a tagline with a call to action. Tagline speaks to the end result i.e. “Running with these improves your time”. And a call to action like “20% off this weekend only”.

3. Avoid filling the ad with all that you have good to say about your product. Instead focus on one or two main messages. If you want the call to action to be for customer to visit your website for more information, create some mystery in the message. “Shave a minute off your 10km run. Learn how”.

4. Another advertising mistakes business owners make is to make the focus message too generic. It does not add value to the ad. All you are doing is creating repetition. Avoid messages like “Run Free” or “Run light” which brings across nothing of value.

5. Have a clear call to action. You are not Apple with billions and going on a pure branding and brand recall campaign by just placing ads with “Apple” on it. You want to make a sale. So you need to entice readers to take action and take it as soon as possible. So have a discount, free trial, sample and get that action.

6. By better understanding your target market, you can create more relevant messages in the right cultural style. If you were selling to gamers a tech product, you can use words like “Own your competition”, “Dominate”, “Rule”. Speak in the style your customers do and be accurate otherwise you will appear like a “poser”.

7. Advertise in the right media. If you sold driving holidays and majority of your target market drives, don’t put ads in the train and bus. The wrong target group will see it and end up wasting ad dollars. Find out where your customers hang out (online and offline), commute, work, and live. Then find the media that can reach them.

8. Many new business owners look at TV and Newspaper ads like the Holy Grail of media. The national or metropolitan ones are typically expensive with a full page going to tens of thousands of dollars. If you are just starting out and have a bakery store, don’t place an ad in the papers for 2 million people to see but will not be near your store to purchase anything. You will be wasting to reach the 1.9 million people when you could reach 100,000 right customers who live or work near your bakery. Mass media typically works for businesses with enough outlets to capture sales across the whole geographical area the media reaches.

While it may be impossible to avoid all the advertising mistakes business owners make, armed with this list, you will at least make less of the major ones.

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