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Coach's Corner

Updated: Oct 27, 2021

Entrepreneurs' Weekly Update – 1 November 2021

5 basic marketing pitfalls to avoid that will help you sky-rocket your marketing efforts

So often I speak to business owners and find them to be despondent and hopeless about their business and more often than not, the shortfalls and blunders in their businesses are caused by marketing mistakes they are making. Marketing is the beginning of the business journey—it is literally the top of your business funnel—and the simple avoidance of these pitfalls mentioned here can help you. This can radically change the face of your marketing and in turn, the face of your business. Take a look at the biggest pitfalls to avoid and resolve in your marketing efforts:

1) You don’t have a WRITTEN marketing plan Have you ever heard that writing a business plan is the greatest way to secure your company's success? It operates in much the same way for marketing…

When time and money are limited, there is a strong desire to avoid as many "unnecessary" marketing stages as possible. These are not them.

Planning out your marketing strategy—the specific tactics you'll employ, how much they'll cost, and how long they'll take—improves your chances of success significantly.

According to recent studies, marketers who had a written content marketing plan were twice as likely to report their marketing was effective as those who did not have a written strategy. Only 5% of marketers (as measured by how effective their content marketing was) had a defined plan.

So, it’s not enough to have the plan in your head – write it down, so that all are able to see it and run with it.

2) You are unaware of what your competition is doing in terms of marketing

Keep an eye on what your competitors are up to. Find at least three other businesses that are doing well in your field of business and study their marketing – as if you were in school again.

Once you start tracking what they do, you'll be able to identify their achievements and failures.

Pay close attention to the strategies they use once-off and then never again. Take note of the strategies they use month after month after month. Measure and evaluate this against your own marketing efforts.

You will, most likely, learn from all of their achievements and failures. Every mistake they make will teach you something. It can also help you find gaps in the market that they have missed that you could potentially fill… All you have to do is pay attention!

This is similar to “test and measure” (Point No. 5) to find your mistakes, in that you have a big chance to learn what works and what doesn't... yet many small company owners just overlook it.

3) Not knowing what your USP (Unique Selling Proposition) is.

In most business markets and business models, you need to be distinctive. You have to have, and be able to explain, a bulletproof reason why people should do business with you instead of your competitors.

If you’re looking for a good read on this topic, read Al Reis and Jack Trout's book "Positioning" for a deep dive into the value of being unique.

Before you start putting your marketing plan together, read the book and consider; who you want to serve, what you want to give, and how you want to offer it. It may in fact, cause you to go back and review your business plan’s Vision and Mission statements.

Nowadays, in most businesses and communities, you either stand out or go under. The importance of positioning cannot be overstated. You can buy the book on Takealot here –

4) You're attempting to reach the wrong people.

This can totally wreck otherwise good marketing and even your entire business. Some business owners have such a clear, idealistic vision of who they want their consumers or clients to be that they are entirely blind to the customers they already have.

Here's a good example for you: Vusi establishes a sandwich and coffee bar. He believes that non-working young moms and Gen-Zs will be his ideal client base. Despite this, more than half of his tables are occupied by elderly men who are hungry after a round of golf at a local golf course nearby.

The other tables are completely empty. Vusi hardly even sees the gents. He continues to promote gluten-free muffins and green smoothies. The men simply want a good lunch, a few beers, and a relaxing spot to unwind before heading home. Gluten-free muffins are not on their radars.

This type of mismatch can occur in a variety of ways. It might even revolve around a product feature. The owner believes people purchase their goods for reason A, but they really buy it for reason B. Unfortunately, the company's whole marketing strategy revolves around reason A.

This mistake or misreading of your audience, is losing you an unbelievable amount of income.

5) You don’t test and measure

This is more typical in larger, more established firms but it is also one of the most serious mistakes and can affect a small business’s bottom line radically.

If you don't track, you'll never know what works. Whether it's not measuring objectives on your website using Google Analytics, not tracking conversions with pay-per-click ads (PPC), or not tracking phone calls and foot traffic after a large sale or advertising campaign – if you're not tracking, you're wasting money.

It's fine to make errors, as long as you learn from them. There is no way to learn from mistakes if you are not monitoring them. There's also no way of knowing whether you made a mistake, and finally, there's also no way to improve if you don't track – that means there is a tremendous amount of waste in your marketing budget.

One recent case study that I want to share with you, was of a business owner who was putting out ads on various social media channels but wasn’t getting the responses they desired. We had recently been reviewing and fine-tuning their target market and discovered that almost all of their existing clients spoke Afrikaans. It was an “Aha” moment for us.

We decided to run a campaign on social media with two sets of visually identical ads – one in Afrikaans and one in English. The response and signup on the Afrikaans set were more than double of the English and we were easily able to make the decision—from that test and measure exercise—to put all ad material out in Afrikaans from then on. They have, because of this effort, cut their monthly ad spend in half for the same amount of return/conversion for their efforts. Incredible, right?

So in conclusion, marketing is mostly about test and measure, putting solid plans in place, and knowing who you’re speaking to and what you’re selling them. We all know the age-old saying about “selling ice to Eskimos” right? It seems so basic—so as to not fall into that pitfall—in principle but actually, the simplicity is in the application of the principles mentioned above.

This is your success plan guide to your successful marketing plan. Apply and prosper!

ActionCOACH Thabo Pitse

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