Building a consistent small business lead generation process is a marathon, not a sprint. It is all too easy to get impatient and inject a pushy sales message or two but that is usually a mistake. Your hard won small business reputation can be destroyed in an instant.

Let me give you an example from personal experience. I always set aside time every day to read blogs and articles from authors I have grown to trust over the years. For many months I regularly read the blog of one company (let’s call them Company X). I was evaluating the company as a potential supplier of a marketing tool and I found their blog informative on a number of marketing issues.

Recently it was obvious Company X had decided to cut down on the resources required to keep their blog up to date and guest posts were more and more common. Given the effort required to run a content marketing process that was understandable, to a point. Unfortunately for them, they had not allocated the resources to quality check those third party blog posts.

On reading the blog one day it was obvious the guest post author had very little actual experience of the subject. He was simply regurgitating the standard information (much of it incorrect)  that could be found online. A quick check of his various online profiles and his website destroyed his credibility further. It left me feeling disappointed and more than a little annoyed that a company I had trusted until then could serve up such rubbish. 

The damage was done. When posts from Company X appear in my blog reader they are now routinely ignored. I could be ignoring the best, most relevant information out there. It could be the last piece of the jigsaw that persuades me to buy.

I did buy that marketing tool I mentioned but from Company X’s competitor. Are they going to lose sleep over my lost sale, well no but I would bet I am not the only one. Obviously, a huge amount of effort went into their blog before they tried to take short cuts and lost their quality control. The results of much of that effort, I guess will now dissipate over time.

It can be tempting to cut corners, slip in a pushy sales message or two or become more of an irritant to potential customers than a help. Before taking that misstep think long and hard about the potential damage to your small business reputation and its potential long term impact on your sales. The damage may not be recoverable.