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Top 5 Mistakes New Marketers Make and How to Avoid Them

Marketing is full of pitfalls. I should know – I’ve fallen down plenty of them myself.

Marketing is full of pitfalls. I should know – I’ve fallen down plenty of them myself.

The reality is that you’re not perfect and never will be. We all make mistakes. You can either let them get you down, or chalk it up to experience and carry on.

I’m very much in the latter camp, if you were wondering…

When you’re getting started in marketing, you don’t know how much you don’t know.

The world of marketing is VAST, and sometimes you’ll make mistakes that you won’t realise were mistakes until literally years later. A nice facepalm moment to pop up in the middle of your day🤦‍♀️.

I can’t stop you from making mistakes, and to be honest, I don’t want to. You don’t become an excellent marketer without getting a few bloody noses on the way.

However, scroll down for my top 5 fundamentals that if you screw up, you’re in for a bad time.

Here’s a video version if you prefer!

#1 Not defining your audience

Oh yeah, this is a biggie.

If you can’t tell me in a sentence who you’re selling to, you’re falling down at hurdle number one.

This seems obvious, right? I’m selling these hang-gliding dog goggles for dog owners who take their pets hang-gliding.

Doggles. Naturally.

Audiences can be tough, though. Especially if you’re selling your product for multiple different reasons/use cases.

Try this:

Oh hey, look. You’ve just created your audience. Now you can really target them with your marketing.

#2 Ignoring the data

When was the last time you delved into your Google Analytics? How about your social platform metrics?

Today? Oh, nice 👍.

Data is the basis for science. Science is the basis for fact.

If you want to convince your boss or your client that you’re investing in the right channels, the data gives you the facts. They can’t argue with facts. Fact.

When you make decisions based on your gut (or even worse, someone else’s gut), you’re setting yourself up to fail.

We don’t live in a predictable world where consumers act exactly how you expect them to. It’s chaos out there.

Get your tracking sorted, get some data, run the numbers, find the facts.

21jump Street Ice Cube GIF - 21Jump Street Ice Cube Infiltrate The Dealer -  Discover & Share GIFs
I’m not sure how relevant this is here, but it feels right

You’ll thank me for it later.

#3 Focusing on the bottom of the funnel

“We need more conversions!” the CEO cried.

“How many leads did you get this month?” the MD asked.

I bet you’re hustling to convert those leads, right? Making sure your CTA’s (Calls to Action) are nice and shiny, setting up that email workflow, giving the sales team a nudge.

I get it. It feels good to get leads and conversions. Scores on the doors and all that.

This desire to supercharge the bottom of the funnel is what drives many marketers (and their wallet-holding decision makers) to focus purely on lead gen and conversion campaigns.

That’s great, if you actually have anyone in your pipeline.

John Travolta Meme GIF - John Travolta Meme Looking Around - Discover &  Share GIFs

The cold, hard truth is that most of your marketing should focus on the top of the funnel. Or TOFU, for the vegans.

People can’t buy from you if they don’t know you exist. Brand awareness should account for 70% of your budget.

Best of luck convincing those wallet holders! (hint: the key to that can be found in mistake #3 😉)

Check out my guide on choosing the right channels for your funnel if you’re not sure what you’re doing here.

#4 Not setting clear goals

Yawn. Nobody likes setting goals.

If you just said “I do!”, then congrats, you’re the only person on the planet with that attitude 🏆.

It’s crazy necessary though.

If you don’t put up some goalposts, you’re just aimlessly kicking around a ball. Kinda takes the fun out of it and makes the whole exercise meaningless.

I’m not a big sports fan, but I’m proud of that analogy.

Go-sports GIFs - Get the best GIF on GIPHY
Yay, go blue team!

Goals are boring to set, but damn do they feel good when you achieve them.

Even if you don’t achieve them, you get to find out what’s possible for your next set of goals.

Reasons for setting clear goals:

Goals should be SMART 🧠:

S: Specific – 5% increase in organic traffic month over month (not “increase monthly organic traffic).

M: Measurable – Percentages, numbers, a checkbox. It should be 100% obvious that you’ve achieved what you set out to achieve.

A: Achievable – Be realistic. Start small. If you smash it, shoot higher next time.

R: Relevant – Make it actually matter to what you’re doing. You’re more likely to care about it.

T: Timely – Put a date on it. If you’re feeling super organised, also put “check in” dates on it, so you can see if you’re on track.

#5 Thinking your website is good enough

Spoiler alert 🚨

It’s not.

I’ve been marketing for a while now and I’ve seen so many terrible websites. I’m cringing in my chair while I write this and remember them all.

No no god please no no god no GIF on GIFER - by Mukus

Let’s be frank here. For many businesses, your website is your storefront, salesperson, showroom floor and point of sale system. It does a LOT of heavy lifting.

Or it should.

If your website isn’t up to scratch it makes all your marketing efforts pointless.

That’s not an exaggeration.

Imagine walking into a shop. The lights are off. The products are chucked all over the place. There’s nobody at the till. Every step you take, somebody jumps out and holds a big sign in your face that says “SIGN UP TO MY NEWSLETTER!!”🪧.

You would immediately leave.

Spend the time making your website as nice as it can be. Make it obvious how to convert and give ample opportunities with clear CTA’s. Your site should be fast loading and easy on the eyes. Information should be clear, without jargon, and helpful.

If you’re not sure whether your site is any good, get your parents to “order” a product starting from the homepage. You’ll quickly find where your UX (User eXperience) issues lie…

Best Old People And Technology GIFs | Gfycat
Sorry, Dad

Well done, you made it to the end.


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Written By

Founder of Latent Clarity and author of the Clarity newsletter.

I help new and solo marketers be the best they can with practical, actionable, (and sometimes funny) advice.

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