The 6 Big Advertising Mistakes Entrepreneurs Make

When it comes to building a business, reaching the right people is half the battle. This is why advertising is so incredibly important to the success of a young company. Unfortunately, most entrepreneurs make costly mistakes that set them back and inhibit results. Are you exposing your business to these same fatal errors?

Avoid These Costly Errors

Advertising is challenging, complicated, and ever-changing. Just when you think you’ve figured it out, some new strategy or technology comes in and renders your current approach obsolete. So the fact that so many entrepreneurs fail at advertising isn’t a surprise. However, this doesn’t have to be your story. 

To prevent failure, you must avoid the following costly mistakes:


  • Borrowed Interest


For years, advertising professors in business school have been teaching students about the value of leveraging borrowed interest – which is basically the intentional association of an unrelated theme with the product or service that’s being advertised in an effort to garner attention. Unfortunately, borrowed interest very rarely works. It’s a typically a waste of resources and, if anything, waters down your message and overrides what is otherwise a consistent brand message.

No matter how much someone tells you that animals, babies, and sex are attention-getters, you shouldn’t fill your advertisements with them (unless you’re selling animals, babies, or sex). And just because it’s the 397th anniversary of the canonizations of St. Ignatius Loyola, doesn’t mean your lawn care business needs to run a $397 special. Borrowed interest comes across as confusing and irrelevant – stay away!


  • Egotistical Campaigns


It’s important to build trust with your audience, showing them you’re the best at what you do, but avoid constantly sending a message that screams, “Me, me, me!”

The marketplace rarely embraces egotistical campaigns. Nobody cares which awards you’ve won or how you’ve formulated a proprietary recipe that’s unmatched by your competitors. What they really care about is how your product will improve their life. They want specific details of what’s in it for them. 


  • Time-Consuming Reporting


“Reporting holds a special place in the campaign process as the articulation of what happened in the campaign, why and what you can learn from it,” LumenAd explains. “If you can follow through on this, reporting is an incredibly powerful tool that shapes not only future campaign performance, but the future of the organization.”

Entrepreneurs commonly lament the fact that reporting is just 1 percent of their job, but it takes up 50 percent of their time. In other words, reporting is just a small part of the bigger picture, but it’s time consuming and tough to tackle. The question is, how can you continue to develop meaningful reports without letting it eat up your schedule?

What you need is an advanced reporting tool that streamlines the mundane and turns time-consuming manual reporting tasks into automated processes that deliver meaningful insights. 


  • No Competitive Analysis


While it’s true that entrepreneurs should be focused on their own businesses, putting on blinders and ignoring what the competition is doing is foolish and shortsighted. Competitive analysis is an absolute must in advertising – if for no other reason than it creates awareness of positioning in the industry. A failure to perform competitive analysis puts you at a distinct disadvantage. 


  • Lack of Originality


On the flip side, it’s easy to make the mistake of mimicking what others are doing and letting their ideas permeate your own thinking. 

It’s okay to study the competition and apply any advertising best practices that you discover. What’s not okay is to replicate their ads and use them as your own. 


  • Undeveloped Funnel


Advertising is done with the intention and hope of generating customers. But if your sales funnel isn’t fully developed on the back end, you could find yourself in a situation where too many customers overload your system and render your investment useless. 

“You do not want to be a victim of your own success. Do a soft launch first, and make sure you are fully prepared for an influx of new business,” advertising expert Paul Suggett writes. “Test, test, and test again. Try to crash the website and, hopefully, you have a fully-functioning e-commerce site ready to go. Kick the tires completely before you roll out a much larger campaign. If you don’t, you could find yourself getting hundreds of negative reviews, alienating customers who will never come back.”

Make Smart Choices

Advertising is highly creative and unique. What works for one brand may not necessarily work for the next. It’s all about finding the right strategy for your brand and audience. By avoiding costly mistakes, you can make smarter decisions and reap greater rewards.


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