As I move into more of a coaching and teaching space in my business, I have lots of weekly conversations with business owners about marketing. More specifically, the conversations tend to revolve around online marketing and how to use it properly.

What I've come to realize is that most business owners totally overcomplicate the marketing process. Most of them believe it's this behemoth of a concept you need to get a degree in to understand when, in reality, good marketing is mostly common sense.

Why You Need to Simplify Your Marketing Strategy

The reason you need to make your marketing less complicated is actually quite simple: People don't respond to complicated.

In fact, if someone needs to try to figure out what it is you actually do based on your marketing, then you're doing something wrong. The same goes if your marketing strategy is some overly complicated online funnel that doesn't get anything accomplished. Not to mention, it will likely cost you more money.

At the end of the day, a good marketing strategy is as simple as helping someone solve their problem with your product or service. With that being said, here are a few marketing mistakes you may not know you're making.

You're not using data to drive your marketing.

In this day and age, if you're not using data to help you create campaigns, drive traffic, generate leads, or increase business revenue then you're leaving money on the table.

All the information you could possibly need to create a better marketing strategy is literally at your fingertips. For example, Facebook lets you upload your own email list to their ads manager so you can target people who already know you. You can also use it to run split tests to see who is responding best to your content.

Another place where you can find data is through your email marketing service. Most email marketing services can show you what people are clicking on and what they are reacting to. If you're not using this information to improve your content or your emails, then you're losing money.

You don't know your end goal.

Good marketers always start with the end in mind. In other words, they know what they are trying to sell and then they create a marketing strategy for it.

A common mistake I see - especially with a lot of bloggers who want to monetize - is people pushing out content with no call to action, no funnel, nothing to sell and no earthly idea of how that content fits into an overall marketing plan.

Granted, not every piece of content you put out there needs to promote a product or service, that might actually backfire. However, every piece of content does need to serve some sort of purpose for your business.

You're not thinking about your audience.

A lot of business owners start their companies because they experienced some sort of issue and found a solution to it. So they start a blog, start a coaching practice and start creating all these products they want to sell.

When they finally launch all of this, they are usually surprised when they hear crickets. "But my stuff is great! Why don't people want to buy?" they ask.

More often than not, it's because the business owner hasn't made the shift from "me" to "they." There hasn't been any testing, no research and no conversation had with a single member of their audience.

It's fine to create a business based on something that helped you, but marketing a business isn't actually about you. It's about your audience and what they want from you. Get in the habit of finding out what that is and create your marketing strategy accordingly.

Final Thoughts

By using data to drive your marketing, knowing your end goal and paying attention to your audience, you'll be able to create effective marketing campaigns that cost you less money. You'll also avoid many of the mistakes small business owners make when trying to get the word out.

Published on: Apr 27, 2017
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.