Watch out for these six marketing mistakes and assumptions that many business owners make, but switched on operators avoid.

1. No marketing plan

Do you have a plan for how you’re going to market your business over the next six months? (And can you put your hands on it when you need it?) Are you failing to plan or planning to fail?

2. Not knowing who your target audience is

Can you define very specifically who your target audience is for each product or service that you offer?

Savvy and smart marketing decisions are based on knowing and understanding your target audience – right down to the nitty gritty detail.

Be as narrow as possible in your definition. Having less people to market to can be a strong advantage.

3. Who is responsible for marketing?

Is there a person in your business that is responsible and accountable for marketing?

If everyone on your team is responsible for marketing the business, then no one actually is.

Marketing by committee also doesn’t work. Yes, it’s important to take various points of view into account, but at the end of the day marketing is best assigned to someone who can be wholly accountable and responsible for it.

If you’re not finding the time or it’s not a strong skill for you, then consider outsourcing your marketing to a marketing agency.

4. No tracking mechanisms

Do you have mechanisms in place for tracking the results of each marketing campaign you run? If there’s no way to measure your results easily and cost effectively, how will you know whether a campaign was worth investing in?

In the era of digital communication, we no longer need to rely on our gut feelings because keeping track of campaign results is constantly becoming easier and more cost effective.

My suggestions for ways to measure campaigns include:

Using unique website pages, and tracking the results from each URL with programs such as Google Analytics
For large campaigns, the use of unique phone numbers is sometimes appropriate
Using specific coupon codes
Advertising specific offers exclusively via one campaign.
5. No consistent brand templates

Do all your business and marketing tools do justice to your logo and follow the same style guidelines?

It really does add to your credibility if your branding is consistent across all of your business and marketing tools.

Things to check as part of your marketing audit include your business cards, invoices, letterhead, websites, blog pages, and all advertisements (including those in the Yellow Pages).

Over time, it’s very easy to end up with numerous templates in your business. One day you create a fax form, the next day a sales letter, and then a week later an invoice. If you don’t think about these from a marketing perspective, all of them may have your name and logo on them, but in fact look completely different.

A fantastic idea is to utilise the service of a design studio or graphic designer to help create a branding strategy for your business.

6. Poor copywriting, spelling, and grammar

When was the last time you went to a restaurant and spotted spelling mistakes on the menu? It’s a common mistake that I see at least once a week, and it reflects poorly on your attention to detail.