Are You Wasting Money on Marketing?

How much have you invested in marketing in 2015?

What was your return on that investment (ROI)?

Not sure?

Neither are most small business owners — but that’s about to change.

Here are the Top 5 ways small business owners waste money on their marketing (stay tuned until the end of the post, as you’ll get free resources to help you make smarter marketing decisions):

1. Purchasing Fake Fans/Followers from Fiverr

I love fiverr and use it often for white board videos, audio editing, and other services.

But NEVER buy Likes, Followers, or Engagement from sellers here.

I cannot tell you how many friends, colleagues and clients I have who have done this:  paid an individual or brand to get them more Facebook fans, Twitter followers, you name it.

Look at these “gigs” on fiverr:

Don't waste your marketing budget "buying" fans or followers

Don’t waste your marketing budget “buying” fans or followers

They promise 5,000 Twitter followers, 500 Instagram followers, 150 Facebook fans and more.

But who are these fans and followers?

Will they have any interest in what you’re offering?

They certainly won’t be in your target audience.

Worse, you’ve completely destroyed your social media account, because Facebook will start showing your posts to people who have ZERO interest in them, and your real fans won’t see them any longer.

Lesson: Don’t waste your marketing budget on promises of fans or followers. Earn them the authentic way.


2. Buying Tools or Training You Never Use

Ever purchased the latest marketing training or tool because it sounded awesome (or all of your colleagues use it)? Roslyn has:

wasting money on marketing

Roslyn shared on Facebook she’s purchased multiple programs but never got around to doing anything with them.

So, the next time you’re about to click that BUY NOW button, ask yourself WHEN you’ll make the time to use it.

Lesson: Schedule time to take training courses you buy or learn the new tools you’ve purchased.


3. Not Measuring Your ROI

I asked my Facebook fans how they had wasted money on their own marketing, and they were generous with their experiences.  Joseph Cameron had this to say about his marketing:

He was “Doing a ton of Facebook ads without assigning the proper tracking pixels!”

are you wasting money on marketing


What are tracking pixels? It’s a piece of code that allows you to measure the results of your Facebook ads.

So Joseph was spending a ton of money on ads, but had no idea how they were generating business (if any!).

Lesson: Make sure you can measure the results of your advertising or social media marketing campaigns.


4.  Advertising to the Wrong Audience

In 2009 I invested $1,000 in an ad to HARO (Help a Reporter Out) readers for Color Mastery, my self-published quilting book.

It was a colossal waste of money.

I wasn’t hoping to sell books from the ad; instead, I wanted reporters to learn about the book and generate publicity for it.

HARO’s demographics weren’t available, but it’s audience was likely far younger than the average quilter (aged 59).

I got ZERO publicity from it, other than HARO readers who emailed me to congratulate me on my book.

Lesson: Don’t invest in advertising unless the publication can provide detailed reader demographics


5.  Overspending  on Glossy Marketing Materials

Exactly how many business cards, postcards, and hangtags will you need?

I still have a box full of postcards for Color Mastery: they’re beautiful, but I simply didn’t have enough of a use for them to justify the expense.

How many business cards have you handed out over the last year?

And it’s quite likely at least some of the information on that card is now outdated.

Lesson: When it comes to printed marketing materials, order in small quantities, even though the price-per-unit is higher.


If you find yourself doing one or more of these marketing mistakes — no worries! We’ve all been there.

Here are free resources from for smarter ways to invest your marketing budget:

  1. LEARN: Use the 80/20 rule to identify your most profitable marketing tactics: Click here
  2. DOWNLOAD: Instagram template showing you how small businesses sell out in one hour: Click here
  3. WATCH: simplify Google Analytics to identify what’s working for your small business:  Click here

Maria Peagler is the founder of Maria Peagler Digital, a serial entrepreneur, and award-winning author/publisher of nine books. She is an award-winning artist in both watercolor and quilting. She is married to her husband of 30 years, mom to two adult sons, and enjoys hiking in the north Georgia mountains.

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