**Marketing budgets for small businesses are already too small without having to recoup losses from expensive mistakes. **

Common marketing mistakes that small businesses tend to make

We take a look at a few common mistakes you should really avoid.

1. Using social media to only build followers

Social media is a great platform for small businesses, but many simply go in with a strategy to ‘build a following’.

You might have got away with this back in the days when organic Facebook reach was high, but now to get a good reach you need to pay. Facebook’s constantly changing algorithm only shows your content to a small fraction of your audience, so small business owners end up needing to pay for ads to get their content seen.

Instead, you could try to use social media to build up your email list. If you run an advertisement that gains warm leads, you are already doing better than the majority of others on the platform.

2. Not understanding your audience

It’s difficult to succeed without having a good understanding of your customer base. You need to study the hearts and minds of your audience – finding out what drives them. You should do this before you create a strategy, before you start advertising and before you create any content. Discover what to say to them, how to say it and also where to say it.

The basis of marketing is reaching your audience with the correct messages. You need to know who they are.

3. Not understanding how you’ve attracted brand advocates

Brand advocates are those who swear by your products or services. They won’t choose any other business over yours, and most likely tell their friends and family about you too. Not knowing how you bring in these ever-so-valuable customers in can hamper your overall success. Do your best to find this out.

4. Jumping in the deep end with a large-scale marketing campaign

There are lots of enticing marketing tactics to try. Some of them work well, but a lot of them don’t – especially if you’ve only got one chance to make them work. Small businesses that have limited budgets shouldn’t go all-out on a large-scale marketing campaign straight from the off. Especially if they haven’t tested the waters first.

5. Not tracking your marketing efforts

You have most likely got Google Analytics set up, but do you know how to use it? Are you learning anything from it?

Many small businesses don’t have good answers to these questions as they don’t tend to know how to get the best out of the tool.

There’s also a lot of confusion surrounding AdWords, Google’s pay-per-click advertising platform. It can be very effective if managed correctly, but many businesses buy ads without tracking the performance. This can result in money down the drain.

To fix this you can set up conversion tracking for your advertising campaigns. It will enable you to see if customers have converted by making phone calls, downloading white papers or if they’ve purchased a product.

Read and comment on the original Entrepreneur article.