By Susan Guillory

This month, everyone’s focusing on what they will do to make 2017 a fabulous year, but I want to talk about what you shouldn’t do, at least with regards to your small business marketing.

Looking back at 2016 and how you ran your marketing efforts, I’d like you to acknowledge: mistakes were made. I’m not pointing blame (but hey, if you’re a solopreneur, who else can take that blame?), but I am encouraging you to learn from those mistakes so that your marketing results are even better this year.

1. I put all my marketing eggs in one basket.

I see this all the time: a company finds success with one marketing tool, and that’s all they use to reach customers. It may work for a while, but any marketing tool will lose its efficacy over time. So then you’re scratching your head, trying to understand why you’re not making more sales.

This year, you will diversify your efforts. You will branch out into other areas of marketing, including email, social media, content marketing, advertising, et cetera. I’m not saying these will all work for you. You’ll have to pay attention to results. Unless you continue to make mistake #2…

2. I ignored data and analytics.

I know! “Data and analytics” sounds so technical! So haaaard! And so you’ve ignored them for years. You don’t know Google Analytics from Facebook Insights, and that’s exactly your problem. These analytics tools are designed to help you get smarter with your marketing. And no, they’re not only for tech geeks that work in the basement. They’re for you.

Step away from your phobia and actually spend some time with this data. It can tell you amazing things, like how much traffic a given marketing channel is sending to your website, or how many people are clicking the links in your Tweets. This information will help you better craft your marketing strategy for improved results.

3. I crammed my marketing message down people’s throats.

Wonder why no one is responding to your Tweets or Facebook updates? It might be the messages you’re sending. If you have a steady stream of self-promotional drivel, you are turning people off.

On the other hand, if you only include about 20% of your social content as promotional and make the rest shares of your content and that of others, thought-provoking questions, and other relevant information that your audience cares about, you’ll start to gain traction.

4. I didn’t hire help.

A million years ago, when I started Egg Marketing & Communications, I decided to design my own website logo. Heck, I also designed my website, and this was way before easy-to-use WordPress. I didn’t have the money to hire anyone, and I thought I was up to the task.

[Sorry, I had to stop writing to laugh for five minutes.]

I decidedly was not up to the task. The logo sucked. I am not a designer, and I had no business trying to be. After that, I learned my lesson. I used 99designs as an affordable way to get a professional-looking logo. And people noticed! I felt like they took me more seriously with a quality design.

So in 2017, splurge on help in whatever area of marketing you’re weak at. Maybe your blog posts are lackluster. Hire a writer. Maybe you have no time to manage social media. Find a social media consultant. It’s worth the investment to ensure that your marketing gets done right.

The only way we can improve as entrepreneurs is to learn from our mistakes. Pay attention to what’s not working in your marketing, and take steps to improve it, and I guarantee 2017 will be a great year.