Entrepreneurs trying to handle marketing on their own often make mistakes that can seriously harm the reputation of a new company.

We’ve seen them all and have helped many business owners avoid them. Here are nine of the most common, along with tips on preventing them from happening to you.

1. Doing something because an expert says it’s the right thing to do.

The internet is full of information on what you should do to market a business.

You don’t automatically trust online information regarding your health, finances, or relationships. Why would you trust it when it comes to the reputation of your business?

Even the best expert marketing strategy may not be suitable for you. A perfect strategy for one business may not be appropriate for another. It’s critical to the success of your business that you stay up-to-date on the latest marketing and communication trends, tactics, and technologies. However, you have to use your own best judgment — and maybe advice from a marketing professional who knows your business — when developing marketing plans and executing tactics for your company. Do something because it’s right for reaching your goals, not because an “expert” who doesn’t know about your business tells you it’s the right thing to do.

2. Offering mediocre advice or tips.

There’s a reason why there are so many articles offering advice in tip form: They’re valuable, they demonstrate expertise, and people like them. Entrepreneurs often use them to show that they know what they’re doing and their business is legit. Plus, they’re relatively easy to write.

The issue: Many of the tips in these pieces are too vague to be of any value. Before publishing any content in tip form, check that people can act on the advice. Readers typically abandon content they don’t find helpful or actionable. Even worse: They likely never revisit the source of the tips that wasted their time.

3. Not taking B2B marketing seriously.

Are you the owner of a business-to-business (B2B) start-up?

If you believe B2B marketing can’t be as creative and exciting as marketing targeted directly to consumers, you’re limiting the potential of your business and its success. Business consumers don’t check their brains at the door when they go to work. Marketing to them must be as creative and engaging as the content they see as they navigate through their non-work lives. If you don’t keep consumers engaged, your competitors will. You owe it to yourself to get agency support to help you create a B2B marketing campaign that will get you noticed, engage people in your consumer base, and get them to take action.

4. Not using technology.

Many start-ups and newer businesses try to save money by maintaining and organizing their marketing and sales efforts in documents and spreadsheets. Countless project management, storage, communication, and file transfer tools have been developed over the last several years. Many are cheap (or free), easy to implement, and proven effective. They cut the time you and the people who work with you spend chasing lost files, sorting through different versions of things, finding email addresses and other contact information, and dealing with missed communications. Leveraging them allows you to focus more of your time on what’s essential: marketing your business and selling things.

5. Only doing what works.

If your start-up has found an effective marketing tactic, congratulations, you’re ahead of the game.

Of course, it’s wise to continue to do what’s been proven to be effective. It’s a sure way to dependably achieve your sales goals.

However, do you know if you could be doing even better? You don’t until you try!

That’s why it’s essential not to rest on your successes. You’re missing your chance to improve your results and have substitute campaigns available should your current marketing become less effective. Always A/B test new strategies, tactics, and creative types. You never know when you could find something that could take your marketing to the next level. You owe it to the success of your new business.

6. Looking too much like your competition.

Many new businesses make the common error of copying branding and marketing elements from their competitors. After all: If it works for them, it will work for me, right?

Of course, it’s essential to know what your competitors are doing to brand and market themselves. However, you shouldn’t copy it directly. You’ll confuse your consumers because they won’t be able to tell you apart. Instead, look outside your industry for branding and marketing ideas. Then apply them to your business in a way that’s unique to it and reflects your brand and its values, and will help you achieve your goals. If you find it challenging to develop a brand and marketing assets that stand out, it could be worth partnering with a firm like Sales Maven, which has a track record of helping businesses like yours determine what makes them unique and help them stand out.

7. Avoiding high-commitment content and campaigns.

Most people don’t want to commit to reading or watching long things. But depending on your type of startup, it could be a great way to demonstrate your expertise. It might be just what it takes to convert prospects who don’t know your business into clients or customers.

8. Focusing on micro-content.

This is a more extreme variation on the previous mistake. Many startups put a lot of effort into creating tiny bits of content for channels like TikTok, Snap, Instagram stories, and more. Sure, the right micro-content delivered to the ideal people in a suitable medium can generate a LOT of buzz. But is it enough to convert them to clients or customers? Probably not. Take time to figure out how to leverage the initial buzz from the micro and move people through your sales and marketing process using more meaty materials.

9. Being on too many social platforms

Does your small business try out every new social media channel that pops up? This is a common mistake. It only makes sense to be on the platforms the people in your target audience regularly engage with. If you’re targeting teens, chasing the latest social fad could be a great move for your brand. If you’re going after lawyers, Linkedin could be enough for your business.

Got marketing and sales-related questions about your small business? Contact Sales Maven! Our pros are always available to answer them and chat about whatever is on your mind.