Seven Deadly Marketing Sins That Will Leave Your Small Businesses in Purgatory

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Photo by Shalone Cason on Unsplash

While the sins covered in this blog post might not rival the seven deadly sins featured in Dante’s Divine Comedy, we marketers are far from guilt-free.

So here goes. My name is John Hayes, I’m a marketer and it’s been forever since my last confession.

I’ll admit it, I’m a terrible procrastinator. It’s not that I don’t get things done. I just don’t get them done during the nine-to-five, and as a result, work eats into my life more than it should.

I guess I’m lucky in the fact that I love my job. But I also love my family and could do a better job at finding a balance.

During my working life, I have personally identified seven deadly sins that I’m doing my best to abstain from in order to become more productive. Perhaps you can identify with them.

  1. Watching stats: Analytics are a huge part of any online marketer’s job. I personally find the analytical data provided by email marketing tools like iContact or events software like Eventbrite hypnotizing, and within minutes of sending an email I will often find myself hitting the refresh button again and again, watching my opens, click-throughs and resulting sales rise. Analytics are incredibly useful for optimizing your campaigns (and you should be doing this), but watching stats for the sake of watching them gets nothing done.
  2. Meetings: I’m lucky in the fact that I now work remotely and therefore am rarely called into many unnecessary meetings. But in previous roles, I found myself sitting around countless boardroom tables, discussing absolutely nothing for hours on end. Yes, managers need to make decisions, and for any business to succeed, there needs to be an element of collaboration. But is it really necessary to include the whole team to make even the smallest decision? If you find yourself wasting too much time sitting in meetings, take a leaf out of the late Steve Jobs’ book and walk while you talk.
  3. Waiting for other people: There is nothing more frustrating than waiting for people. When you make an appointment, that is the time you are meant to meet, not the time you leave your desk or run out the door. Over my career, I’ve wasted numerous hours waiting on people. Now, If someone is running late and hasn’t called me with an update, I wait 10 minutes before moving on to something more productive. If people are too rude to not turn up on time, show some self-respect and don’t hang around wasting even more time.
  4. Getting Lost in Social Media: Social media can be like quicksand. It can suck you in, and before you know it, you’ve lost the day. If you (or your team) are struggling with a social media addiction, set some house rules and try and keep any non-work social media usage out of office hours.
  5. Overplanning: They say a business that fails to plan, plans to fail. While this might be true, it doesn’t mean that planning should take precedence over everything else. If a simple plan turns into a lengthy document, you are probably missing the point of planning: the action that follows. I’m a great believer in restricting my planning to a single sheet of paper, featuring several bullet points, and then running at the task.
  6. Seeking Perfection: If you look at everything in minute detail and then delay projects because things are just not good enough, you’ll never finish anything. Don’t aim for perfection; you’ll never attain it. Good enough is good enough.
  7. Worrying about the competition: Do you spend so much time keeping your eye on the competition that you forget to watch your own business? Instead of following your competitors’ every move, ask your clients what they want from you.

What prevents you from getting the job done? Share your confession in the comments box below.

This post first appeared on the iContact Email Marketing Blog.

Marketing Strategist, Author of #BecomingTHEExpert, Content Marketing Trainer, and Cyclist. Check out my author profile:

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