08/19/2014 02:00 pm ET Updated Oct 19, 2014

The 5 Biggest Small Business Marketing Mistakes

Unless your business is marketing, it's often one of the biggest challenges in running your small business. Like many small businesses, it's tough to know how to effectively get your message out to your ideal customer. Regardless of your level of marketing expertise, you can follow this advice to avoid these five biggest small business marketing mistakes.

1. You Don't Know What You're Doing, But Do it Anyway
You don't really have a grasp of how businesses use social (or blogging, PR, or anything else) but you give it a shot. And so you're filling your social profiles with self-promotion and links, and wonder why no one's following you.

2. You're on Every Social Site
If there's a new social media site out there, you're on it. The problem is, your customers aren't. You're likely wasting a great deal of time updating your status on sites that simply don't appeal to your audience.

Go for depth rather than breadth here. Find 1-3 sites your customers do spend time on, and focus your efforts there. Deliver so much value on these few sites that people rush to click Like or Follow.

3. You're Not Marketing
Business is good, and so you don't think about what you'll do when customers stop coming in. You convince yourself you don't need to market your business, because you have plenty of it.

Marketing isn't an activity you perform for right now; it's one you do for the future. So while business is booming now, if you market now, you'll keep it booming long into the future. Continue your marketing efforts so your brand stays in the spotlight permanently.

4. You Don't Measure Results
What's all your marketing for if you have no idea if it's generating leads or sales? You've got no excuse; social media platforms have analytics built in. Google Analytics is free. You have the ability to see how every blog article, Tweet, and ad brought (or didn't) new customers to your door.

Figure out what's working and do more of it. Eliminate what isn't sending traffic and customers to you.

5. You Put all Your (Marketing) Eggs in One Basket
You love Twitter, and so you've made it your primary -- scratch that -- only marketing channel. You've forsaken other tools like blogging, other social sites, press releases, and advertising for this one marketing channel.

But what happens when your audience leaves Twitter? Will your business shrivel up and die? It's better to diversify your marketing efforts to reach a wider audience and get your mix of customers coming from different channels. That way, if and when one tool goes out of favor (MySpace, anyone?) you won't have to scramble to rethink your marketing.

An uneducated marketer is a dangerous one. Fortunately, there are plenty of blog posts, websites, webinars, and consultants to help. Pick a few resources that fit your budget (don't worry; free is definitely an option here) and bone up on what you need to know to build a smarter execution and strategy.

It's important to have a marketing strategy to grow your business, even if it's a simple one. And, you don't need to be a marketing expert to take action to avoid some or all of these small business marketing mistakes

This article was originally published under the title 5 Biggest Marketing Mistakes in Small Business and How to Avoid Them at

Melinda F. Emerson, SmallBizLady  is America's #1 small business expert. She is an author, speaker and small business coach whose areas of expertise include small business start-up, business development and social media marketing. She writes a weekly column for the New York Times, publishes a resource blog, which is syndicated through the Huffington Post. She also hosts a weekly talk show on Twitter called #SmallBizChat for small business owners. As a brand, she reaches 1.5 million entrepreneurs a week on the internet. As CEO of Quintessence Multimedia, Melinda develops audio, video and written content to fulfill her mission to end small business failure. Forbes Magazine named Melinda Emerson one of the #1 Woman for Entrepreneurs to follow on Twitter. Melinda has been featured on MSNBC, Fox News, NBC Nightly News, and in Fortune, The Washington Post, USA TodayWall Street Journal and Black Enterprise. She is the bestselling author of "Become Your Own Boss in 12 months; A Month-by-Month Guide to a Business That Works," and the ebook How to Become a Social Media Ninja; 101 Ways to Dominate Your Competition Online.