Five Marketing Mistakes to Avoid

Did you know that the majority of businesses fail within the first couple of years? These businesses don’t necessarily fail due to a bad idea, but usually due to poor management and not enough marketing to allow them to find their audience. If you don’t have an audience you simply can’t sell your stuff. In the book, Never Get a Real Job by Scott Gerber, he discusses your life burn rate “Every day that you don’t make money is one more day you’ll be unable to support your life burn rate.”


Here are five marketing mistakes to avoid if you want to give your business the best possible chance of long-term survival.

1. Not Choosing a Target Audience

So many people want to just sell to “everyone”. If you ask them who their target market is, they’ll say something lame like “Well everyone” “Moms” or “People with phones”. Sorry, but this doesn’t work. You must know exactly who your audience is – so much so that you can create a persona of your ideal customer down to the type of clothing they would wear and the type of car they would drive. Narrow down your audience so that you can target an individual in your advertising copy and in your local conversations.  Scott Gerber says “Take time to know, meet, and understand them on their own turf. Find out what makes them tick. Devoting a little time to knowing your target audience may show you that you can throw all of your costly marketing ideas out the window—because free options such as handing out flyers at a supermarket or networking in person might be all you need. Putting yourself in your customers’ shoes will often open your eyes to just how misguided your assumptions about your market are.”

2. Not Doing Proper Research and Testing

Many business owners create a product without having the audience in mind, and then they jump right into trying to sell it without having done any type of research or testing of the product. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way. Again, you must know your audience before you create your product or service in order to be sure that it will sell. Good marketers know that research and product testing is vital to creating a product or service that your target audience can’t live without.

3. Not Communicating with Your Audience

Now that you know who your audience is, you need to communicate with them regularly. Don’t just ignore them until you have something to sell them. Keep the conversation going at all times via social media, forums, communities and email. The better you get to know your audience through communication, the better your products will become as you will know exactly what your audience needs.

4. Not Focusing on Benefits over Features

Once you have a product or service for your audience, don’t list the features of the product. Instead, tell your audience what’s in it for them. They really don’t care about you or anything more than how the product benefits and helps them. Your advertising copy should speak directly to the persona you created and explain to that person what your product does for them. It should describe clearly the problems your product solves for them.

Gerber’s advice on this matter is blunt but clear. “Sell benefits, not services. Inspire confidence by identifying a client’s pain points and explaining how you plug the holes. Before you spearhead a single pitch, take a step back and figure out what would make you buy your own product or service. This is not the moment to fool yourself into believing your own sales jargon. Simply saying that your service provides a cheap alternative to the competition or that it’s an “innovative” product may sound great and all, but get real—I highly doubt you’d buy anything based on such a crappy pitch. You probably wouldn’t listen to it in the first place.

Don’t waste time selling the unsellable. All you’ll be doing is alienating and frustrating quality leads for no gain whatsoever. If you wouldn’t buy your own product, then don’t expect that anyone else will. Modify your service offering until you would wholeheartedly fork over the cash in your wallet without a moment’s hesitation.”

Gerber, Scott (2010-11-02). Never Get a “Real” Job: How to Dump Your Boss, Build a Business and Not Go Broke (pp. 180-181). Wiley. Kindle Edition.

5. Not Understanding Your Why

Finally, it’s imperative that you understand why you are doing this. Why are you the one to create this product or service for your audience? What more can your audience know about you in order to convince them that you’re the person to create this product? Understanding “why you” is an important step to being a successful business owner.

If you’re trying to create a successful business, keeping these five mistakes in mind will help you become more successful. You need to know your audience, create solutions for your audience, and then market to your audience in a one-on-one way that makes the customer feel like you are speaking directly to them. If you can do this, you’ll be extraordinarily successful.


Kimberly Design Love