3 Major Marketing Mistakes to Avoid

Make sure you’re not hindering your business by committing these errors that can render your marketing efforts less effective than they should be

3 Major Marketing Mistakes to Avoid

Carter Harkins and Taylor Hill

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It’s still early in 2022 and, if you’re like many of us, you’re thinking about what you need to change and how you can improve your business over the next few months. Maybe you’re looking at your systems and processes. Maybe you’re looking at your team. Maybe you’re looking at your marketing and advertising. Maybe you’re looking at all of these.

There’s always more to do, but the easiest way to make improvements in your business is to start with one focus. In this article, we’re going to focus on your marketing. (Big surprise, since we run a marketing company, huh?)

There are three mistakes we see business owners make time and time again that can turn away leads and render marketing far less effective than it can and should be. Are you making any of these same mistakes? Read on.

Marketing Mistake #1 – Being unclear about what you do, how you do it, and where you do it.

Have you ever visited a business’s website and had to scroll, and scroll, and scroll in attempts to find out if they provide the service you need, solve the problems you have, or serve the area you’re located in? We have, and it’s frustrating.

A lot of businesses make this mistake in their marketing. They assume that potential clients will read every sentence and every page on their website to find the information they need. Or that they’ll go out of their way to connect the dots. But the reality is that most of us won’t. 

Most of us want to skim through a website or flier, and if we don’t immediately and clearly understand what the company offers, who they help, why we should choose them over another company, and how we can easily get in touch with them, we move on. 

Life is work enough. Don’t make your potential clients work to understand who you are, why they should care, and how you can help them. Make clarity a priority in your marketing:

  • Make sure your phone number is prominently displayed on your website and other marketing collateral. 
  • Make sure your service area is prominently displayed on your website and other marketing collateral.
  • Make sure your services are prominently displayed on your website and other marketing collateral.
  • Offer multiple ways to get in touch.

Marketing Mistake #2: Not marketing your authority, reputation, and trust factors.

All home service businesses, not only plumbers and HVAC companies, carry a certain amount of risk. That is why your potential clients want to know:

  • What will my experience be like if I hire this company?
  • Will I get my money’s worth? 
  • Will they do a good job?
  • Can I trust them in my home?
  • Will I regret my decision to hire them?

The more uncertainty and risk you can remove, the more confidence your potential customers will have that you’re a good, safe choice. And the easiest way to remove uncertainty and risk is to feature trust factors on your website and marketing materials. 

Trust factors are signals that show your authority, your experience and training, your reputation, and the type of experience you provide:

  • Licenses and certifications
  • Years of experience
  • Testimonials and reviews from past customers
  • Industry memberships and trainings
  • Service awards
  • BBB logo and other trusted sources of business verification

We recommend putting trust factors on your trucks and anywhere else they can help reassure folks who might be considering working with you. At the very least, these should be on the homepage of your website.

One reminder: Google is one of the top places people search for local service businesses like plumbers. The latest BrightLocal Local Consumer Review Survey shows that more consumers use Google to evaluate local businesses than ever before. In 2021, 98% of consumers read online reviews for local businesses. 

So no matter how many reviews you have, don’t let up. Continuously work to deliver service that earns reviews on Google, Yelp, and other platforms where your clients and potential customers are when looking for and evaluating businesses like yours.  

Marketing Mistake #3: Making it hard, confusing, or frustrating to work with you.

Your business exists to make the lives of your customers easier and less frustrating. But have you considered all the ways you may be making it difficult to work with you? 

Many businesses have unnecessary friction in their booking processes, invoicing/payment processes, and other points of the customer experience. And friction is not what customers — or you — want. 

When you make it hard for customers to book with you — when you add unnecessary work to working with you — you increase the likelihood that clients will stop trying to work with you.They’ll move onto another company that makes it easy to schedule — a company with fewer friction points in the customer experience. 

When you don’t spell out what the experience will be like and what customers can expect, what harm does that do? Remember when we talked about removing uncertainty? You might know every step involved in serving a client, but your clients don’t — especially if it’s their first time working with you. It may seem counterintuitive, but many people will choose to work with another company simply because they know what to expect — even if they know that other company isn’t as good. Better the devil you know and all. 

Remove that hesitation and uncertainty by setting clear expectations. As a bonus, setting clear expectations can also help prevent the disappointments and misunderstandings that lead to negative reviews.

For more tips on removing friction in the customer experience, Roger Dooley has a book called Friction: The Untapped Force That Can Be Your Most Powerful AdvantageFull disclosure: We haven’t read the book yet, but we’ve listened to him talk on the subject many times on his podcast, and we think he’s onto something. 

A Final Word

What’s the verdict? Are you making any of these mistakes? If so, don’t beat yourself up  — just work to make things better.

We know, running a business is about more than just getting your marketing right, but so many aspects of your business really are marketing. The key to getting “everything” right is to start somewhere. So start here. If you’re making any of these marketing mistakes, spend some time each month working on improving — for your business and for your clients. 

About the Authors

Carter Harkins and Taylor Hill are the authors of Blue Collar Proud: 10 Principles for Building a Kickass Business You Love and the owners of Spark Marketer, a "no bull" digital marketing company that’s been getting sh*t done for home service businesses across the nation for a decade. They’re trusted thought leaders in the industries they serve, which is why you’ll find them regularly speaking at service industry trade shows and conferences and writing for trade magazines. Tired of empty promises and ready for focused digital marketing and balls-to-the-wall dedication that gets your business seen? Visit www.sparkmarketer.com.


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