As a small business owner, you know that successful digital marketing requires more than just creating an account on Facebook. You need to be strategic and systematic. In fact, one of the biggest mistakes you can make is not planning out your digital marketing strategy in advance. 

Using this information as a guide, here are some common mistakes that many small businesses make when creating their digital marketing strategies:

Not Setting Your Goals

You’ve heard the saying, “you can’t hit a target you can’t see.” The same principle applies to digital marketing. If you want to hit your goals and ensure they’re aligned with where your business is, then you need to set them upfront.

Also, many believe that setting goals is a one-time thing. But that’s not true. You need to keep evaluating your goals. Hence, most marketers keep reprioritizing their goals based on the audience and market trends. According to recent research by Salesforce, around 78% of marketers report new or reprioritized metrics.

Setting SMART goals will help keep your strategy on track and help ensure that it’s working toward the best possible outcome for your business. An excellent way to do this is by creating SMART objectives that are specific, measurable, achievable, and realistic time-wise and then making sure those objectives align with bigger company goals as well.

Not Knowing Your Audience

You need to know your audience to create a successful digital marketing strategy for your small business. You need to be able to define who exactly your customer is and what they want. You also need to understand the market you’re selling, which competitors are in the same space, and what they’re doing right or wrong.

Knowing these things will help guide you through creating content that resonates with them. For example, knowing the audience can help you create gender-specific content for social media platforms.

Data shows that 25% of American men use Twitter, slightly higher than women, at 22%. On the other hand, 76.7% of the global Pinterest audience is female. Hence, you may want to create female-centric content for Pinterest and neutral content for Twitter.

Similarly, knowing other things, such as age groups, demographics, preferences, etc., can help you understand what your audience wants and cater to their needs.

Not Emphasizing Targeting the Local Audience

When it comes to digital marketing, it’s important to remember that you’re not just marketing to an abstract group of people. You’re targeting a specific audience. And when it comes to localizing your marketing efforts, you need to know the difference between an “audience” and a “market.”

For example, let’s say your business is in Nashville and specializes in coffee shops serving espressos and lattes. If you were simply targeting all people living in Nashville with ads for your shop, that would be called targeting a market. But if instead of just using broad keywords like “Nashville” or “coffee” as keywords on Google AdWords, you also targeted terms like “espresso bars near me” or “best coffee shops nearby,” those would be examples of targeting local audiences.

Localizing your marketing efforts can bring in more sales. Most people that look for information about local businesses are looking for quick information and will also act swiftly. Data from HubSpot shows that 72% of consumers who look for local information visit a nearby store within five minutes.

Targeting a local audience is vital, especially for small businesses operating only locally. If your business is based in Nashville, there’s no point in targeting audiences across the USA. It is always best to understand local trends and act accordingly.

If you need help with that, you can always hire agencies offering digital marketing in Nashville. These agencies will have an excellent local market understanding that can benefit your marketing efforts.

Focusing on a Single Channel

Thinking about a single channel is one of the biggest mistakes you can make when creating a digital marketing strategy. There are many different types of channels, and each has its own best practices and rules.

For example:

  • Don’t just focus on social media. It’s essential to also consider other digital platforms.
  • Don’t just focus on paid advertising. Free traffic sources may be more effective for your business.
  • Don’t just focus on organic search engine optimization (SEO). Consider paid search options, and don’t forget about paid links.

As you can see, it’s easy to get caught up in focusing too much on one particular type of marketing activity at the expense of all others. The best thing you can do is maintain an overall strategy incorporating several different forms of digital marketing to reach your target audience in ways that will engage them most effectively for what they need from your business today and tomorrow.

Similar to focusing on different channels, it is also vital to market accordingly. The marketing on all the channels will not be the same. For instance, audiences on Instagram will prefer images and short videos, whereas people on Twitter might prefer short text messages. The content should also be based on the audience segments or consumer persona. Hence, most marketers usually create content for multiple segments, 3 audience segments.

Buying Followers and Likes

Social media has become an essential part of doing business in today’s world, but it isn’t just about creating an account and posting on Facebook once in a while. Successful social media management requires careful analysis, planning, and strategy, knowing what you’re doing before you start spending money on things like buying followers or likes.

To start with social media marketing, it’s essential to understand the difference between building trust with your audience and simply trying to increase traffic artificially. In short, real engagement is key to building trust with potential customers who might one day turn into paying customers, and this takes time.

Buying followers doesn’t build trust because they’re not real people. They have no idea who you are or what kind of business model you’re trying to use. If anything, all those “followers” will do is distract from any meaningful interactions within your community because they’ll be more concerned about whether their account looks legitimate than whether or not it is legitimate.


Now that you know how to avoid mistakes, it’s time to get started on your digital marketing strategy. Remember, do your research and choose a team wisely. Then, focus on one channel at a time, experiment with content formats, and analyze your results regularly.

About the Author

author photo

Mirko Humbert

Mirko Humbert is the editor-in-chief and main author of Designer Daily and Typography Daily. He is also a graphic designer and the founder of WP Expert.