This post is part of the Masterful Marketing for Small Business Series, where I aim to teach everything you need to know to start building a marketing strategy that works for your business.

WARNING: The information contained in this series will cause you to question what you think you know about successful marketing.

That's the point.

You can read the previous post in this series, Top 6 Reasons Marketing Fails, Part 1 here.

There are Many Reasons Why Marketing Fails... 

Understanding them will help you avoid these mistakes and put out more effective marketing.

In Part 1 of this 2-part article, I covered the first 3 of the most common reasons marketing fails: Accidental Marketing, Marketing to No One, and Marketing Nothing. If you haven't read it yet, please do that right now and then come on back here to continue.

Top Six Reasons Marketing Fails, Part 2.

AKA Why Most Small Business Marketing Just Plain Sucks and Doesn't Get Results. (this post is broken up into two parts; if you haven't done so already, READ PART 1 HERE.)


  1. Accidental Marketing

  2. Marketing to No One

  3. Marketing Nothing

  4. Unclear, Weak, or Missing CTAs

  5. Misleading or Missing CTA Follow-up

  6. Not Tracking or Adjusting

Numbers 1 through 3 are covered in the previous article; 4 through 6 are covered here. 

4. Unclear, Weak, or Missing CTAs

Awareness Marketing and Attraction Marketing both eliminate one crucial element to their strategy:

The Call to Action.

The call to action, or CTA, is the key element in direct response marketing. It’s also where most people fall down when they switch to direct response marketing...

They forget the call to action.

The call to action is what prompts a person to do something – click a button, view a web page, submit a form, call you, etc.


Another failure of small business marketing is letting the audience decide what to do instead of providing a clear call to action.

But this is actually your responsibility as the business owner. With an ever-increasing volume on the internet, a business needs to be clear with what they want their audience to do to be successful.

Your CTA is something that you determine, not the reader.


However, even when a business is clear about the goals they want their audience to reach, they still often create weak or unclear calls to action.

How often have you seen "Call now for a free quote!" on a website or marketing piece?

How often have you actually called a business after seeing it?

Call now for a free quote is the most common – and one of the most boring calls to action.

Many small businesses will spend hours creating content, refining their designs, hiring copywriters to craft words on a page, but then put out the weakest, blandest CTA like “Call Now for a FREE Quote!”

The CTA is what drives sales and it needs to be a priority, not an afterthought.

Set your CTA before creating the rest of your marketing and build your marketing around it instead of the other way around.


Let’s take a look at our favorite award-winning flyer again.


The goal that Stringline wants to achieve is pretty clear: They want you to attend this event.

They let us know with the CTA: “Come and spend a couple of hours with us…

…Sort of.

Yes, they tell us what we’re supposed to do, but they don't tell us how to do it.

Do we just show up? Call to confirm? Reserve a spot online? No clue.


Let's assume for a minute that they want us to RSVP by phone. With no other instructions, this is the most logical assumption.


But where is the phone number?

Stringline Ad

Our favourite beautifully designed, but entirely ineffective marketing piece.

Reasons Marketing Fails - Bad CTA

Buried way down at the bottom corner of the page in tiny, tiny text.

Face, meet palm...

Side tangent: I was expecting to have to scour the interwebs to find a bunch of different shitty ads to use as examples for this series, but I really hit “bad marketing gold” with this particular flyer.

It's really, really atrocious. But most will fail to see that because it is visually stunning. It is really beautifully designed, but the only thing this flyer has going for it is that it's eye-catching.

It has NO idea what to do with your eyes after that.

And the sad part here is that the design studio that created this ad is going to use that “award-winning” catchphrase tagline to sell their shit to some unsuspecting biz owner who won't see a bit of ROI because

Pretty. Doesn't. Sell.


But, I digress…Moving on…

5. Misleading or Missing Call-to-Action Follow-Up

Let’s say you just can't seem to come up with a better call to action than “Call Now.”

Your creativity is tapped.

A common, boring CTA is better than no CTA.


But the key to making a common, boring CTA better is to make it immediately actionable.


If your CTA is "Call Now", you need to make it as easy as possible for people to do that right now.

Don’t make the reader dig through your content for your phone number.

Give it to them with the CTA.

Is it creative? Not at all.

Is it pretty? Also no.

Does it work? Hell yes!

Call Now CTA

Now if you've created a digital piece, like an email or webpage, your CTA should also be a clickable link.

Most people now view everything on their mobile phones. Make it easy for people to call you while they're looking at your stuff.

Turning your CTA into a phone call is really simple.

It is literally one line of code.

Just one. And you might not even need to use the code people most platforms will give you the tools to make it easier.

Click on the chain icon in whatever platform you’re using. This is the universal “add a link” button. It will look like this:

Top 6 Reasons Why Marketing Fails - Part 2 1

Instead of entering a URL into the input field, add: tel:+1-555-555-5555

(Make sure you’re using your own phone number, and adding the +1 is important as well.)

Note: Not all platforms have this capability enabled. Make sure your test your links.


Not having your number clickable can and will deter people from calling you. You need to make it as easy as possible for your audience to do what you're asking them to do.

If your call to action says something like email us, there's a code for that as well.

Again, click on the chain icon in whatever platform you’re using, and instead of entering a URL into the input field, add:

(Make sure you’re using your own email address.)

Note: Not all platforms have this capability enabled. Make sure your test your links.


If your CTA prompts people to do something, the fastest way to ensure they don't trust you is to drive them to a page where they can't do that immediately.

If your Call Now links to your contact page, you're doing it wrong.

If your Call Now CTA should be a clickable button to your phone number only.

If you can't link it to your phone number, just keep it as Call 555-555-5555 Now, making sure you include your phone number.

6. Not Tracking Results or Making Adjustments

I get it.

Data analysis isn't fun.

Especially if you have no idea what the numbers actually mean.

But how are you ever going to know if what you're doing is working if you're not keeping track?


Truly great marketing is tested and adjusted many, many, MANY times over the course of its use. It is never set it and forget it.

Tracking your results can be as simple or as complicated as you make it.

Tracking is how you learn. The metrics tell you what is working and what needs adjustment.

When you don't track your results, you will overpay for your marketing efforts.

Most people will avoid tracking because they don't see the results they think they should be seeing, or they don’t understand the metrics.

But tracking is not used to compare your results somebody else's; metrics are used to track your own results.

This is because metrics will vary from business to business. What is a good metric for one business type, might be a completely shitty metric for another.


While metrics will vary, having a good idea of what a “good” metric looks like can help you to know if you're on the right track.

Let's take a quick peek at what some of the average metrics are across all industries.

Prepare to have your mind blown a little bit.

(Keep in mind this is a list of averages across all industries and the numbers will vary vastly for different types of businesses.)

Average Metrics

These numbers are NOT IMPRESSIVE...

Let's go over them a little deeper:

  • The average email open rate comes in at 17.92%.

That means if you send out an email to 100 people, only around 18 are going to open them.

This is not a high number.

A lot of people just getting started with email expect to see MUCH higher numbers and get frustrated when they see these low numbers then stop.

I've been creating email campaigns for clients for over 10 years, and consistently educate myself on best practices and tactics; I consider it a win if my campaigns reach a 40% open rate. So cut yourself some slack when it comes to your own open rates.


  • The average email click-through rate is 2.5%. It’s important to note that this number is based on the people who received your email not based on the people who opened it.
  • The average number of visitors a website sees per week is 124, not the thousands and thousands we’d love to see. And this is NOT organic. People do not “stumble” across a website; they end up there because you created a path for them to find you.
  • 97% of consumers research businesses online before purchasing.
  • Yet, the average number of businesses that are advertising online is only 27%. If you’re not online, you’re going to have some trouble.
  • HOWEVER…the average sales closed through the internet is quite low. Business to business (B2B) sales closed over the internet is just 8%. That means 92% are closed offline.
  • Business to consumer (B2C) sales are moderately higher, coming in at 15%. But that still means that 85% of sales are closed offline.

So again, check your expectations about the kind of sales you’ll see through your online-only offers.

  • The average Facebook engagement rate is 0.09%. Keep in mind that this is referring to Facebook Business Pages, not personal profiles, and this is the percentage of people that engage in your posts. These are the people reading, clicking, liking, commenting, NOT the people that see your posts.
  • Paid Facebook ads are going to do a little bit better, but only minutely. The average Facebook ads click-through rate is 0.9%. So just about 1%, but still pitifully low.
  • Now, most people now think Instagram is a way better place to be. But the average Instagram engagement rate is 1.5%, not even coming up a full percentage over Facebook.
  • And paid Instagram ads? The market has spoken. 0.6%. Nobody gives a shit about your paid Instagram ads. Even ol’ Zuck knows this, which is why Facebook throws in ads to Insta when you build your ads on Facebook.


So tell me:

Is Social the best way to market your business?

Because the numbers clearly state it’s not.


I’d like you to think about this question logically for a while.

Yes, the numbers here are averages across ALL industries, and you may be seeing numbers that are higher or lower, but if you’re spending even ¼ of your week trying to promote your business on Social, is that a profitable way to spend your time?

How much is that time worth to you?

This is Part 2 of a two-part article in the Masterful Marketing Series. If you missed it, read Part 1 here.

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The next post in this series, Other Reasons Your Marketing Doesn't Get Results, will be published next week.

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Trina Waller Expert Marketing Consultant

Hi, I'm Trina.

I've been a digital marketing consultant for almost a decade, and let me tell you, it used to be soooo easy! Just throw up a website, make a few Facebook posts, and boom! Clients! But the atmosphere has changed so drastically and those days are long gone. We've entered an era where literally anyone can (and does) become a digital marketing "expert" and sell their advice online, which makes it really confusing to know who you should be listening to and what strategies you should be implementing.

I've worked with countless entrepreneurs and small business owners over the years, and I'm hearing more and more about their frustrations with successful digital marketing. Their social feeds are filled with experts, webinars and workshops on all the different things they should be doing, leaving them spinning in information overload with no actionable information. I have a growing list of clients that have come to me after spending tens of thousands of dollars on someone's promises of "easy money" that did not get them anywhere near the return on their investment that they were sold.

It's easy to be thrown in many different directions at once with all various expert opinions coming at you constantly. But the biggest thing lacking with all the opinions is the HOW.

I aim to show you HOW.

If you're ready to learn, hop on over here to follow along.

Make sure you turn notifications on so you don't some exciting announcements coming soon.