3 Blunders That Drive Prospects Away

Marketing Mistakes Businessman in Meeting RoomAs a small business owner, you need to get the word out about your product or service. You need to pick and choose the marketing tactics that make sense for your business, honing in on the ones that your prospects will actually see.

There are so many ways to market your business: some great, some not so great. But here are three blunders that you can—and should—easily avoid:

1. Adding people to your newsletter list without their permission.
How many times have you heard “the money is in the list”? This is true for many businesses. But, like most things, there is a right way and a wrong way to grow your list.

When I was launching my book The Entrepreneur Equation, I spoke all over the country. When people gave me their business cards, I asked them if they would like to be added to my newsletter list. The majority of them said yes and then, I would note that on the business card. My list grew quickly with people who actually wanted to be on it.

Please do not add random people or contacts to your list. When you receive newsletters or offers from people or companies that you barely know, do you like it? I doubt it.

Just because you worked with someone five years ago and they happen to be in your contact database doesn’t mean that they will have any interest in what you are currently selling. Ditto for the person you just met at a networking group. And it is also a violation of the Federal Trade Commission’s CAN-SPAM Act of 2015.

2. Trying to immediately sell something to someone who connected with you on LinkedIn.
LinkedIn is a platform made for job searches and building business relationships. It can be an effective part of your marketing, if used correctly. Many people who shun other social media sites will often be on LinkedIn.

Keeping your network “warm” and up-to-date on what you are doing is perfectly fine. Post articles that you find interesting because they might as well. Congratulate people on their new jobs or accomplishments. Post personal thought leadership on LinkedIn Pulse (their blogging platform).

But whatever you do, don’t immediately jump into a sales pitch or make an offer after someone has accepted your invitation to connect on LinkedIn. It’s a major etiquette fail and a big turnoff.

3. Being the one with the megaphone on social media.
It’s no secret that I love Twitter. It’s my social media platform of choice. You can find me here @CarolJSRoth and see that I post about many topics, including small business, economic trends, sports, fashion, and entertainment.

Are some of my tweets about things that I’m doing? Of course! But I also post commentary, humor, and retweets of other people’s accomplishments.

The hardest part about getting value from social media is breaking through the noise. Here’s what I know: the fastest way to get tuned out and ignored is to post exclusively about yourself. Don’t make it all about you.

Avoiding these three things is important if you want to make a good impression and get value from the time that you invest in social media.

What you should also remember is that social media is not a quick fix; it takes time and effort to nurture relationships and create engagement. But, if you’re in your business for the long haul, it can help you boost awareness and sales—and be a valuable piece of your overall marketing strategy.

Ajeet Khurana
Ajeet Khurana
Ajeet Khurana wears many hats: author, angel investor, mentor, TEDx speaker, steering committee of the NASSCOM Start-Up Warehouse, Director of Founder Institute, Venture Partner with the seed initiative of a top Venture Capital firm, and former CEO of IIT Bombay’s business incubator, among others. Before all this, he was entrepreneurial twice in the field of education and web publishing. As a lecturer at the University of Texas at Austin, he taught e-commerce back in 1993, when the term "e-commerce" had not yet been coined. An undergrad in computer engineering from the University of Mumbai, and an MBA from the University of Texas, Ajeet is presently an active name in the startup ecosystem. From starting two ventures as a solopreneur, to helping a large number of startups with their go-to-market, he has never shied from getting his hands dirty. At the same time he has helped dozens of startups raise investment. He truly believes that small business owners are driving change in the world, and need to be facilitated as much as possible. Innumerable small businesses have gained from his attitude, vast professional networks, financial acumen and digital mindset.

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