The most common mistake in marketing (and how to avoid it)

Please, please don’t make the most common mistake in marketing.

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This is writing from your perspective, not that of your clients. Too many people make the mistake of thinking potential customers already know all the ins and outs of their product or service.

I’ve got news for you, they don’t. What’s more, they don’t care.

By way of example, let us take the murky waters of website development. I recently decided to revamp my website. I know nothing about web design and development so needed someone to do it for me.

So, I took to the web and started searching. Only to be greeted by website after website that talked about ‘agile technologies’, ‘bespoke CMS solutions’, ‘advanced web architecture’ and other technical jargon.

I don’t know anything about technology, which is why I want someone who does know about it to redesign my website for me.

I don’t want to see masses of jargon and long technical descriptions. Instead, I want to know about the things that matter to me as a potential customer:

I want to know how long they have been doing web design for. I want to know who else they have worked for. I want to know how much it will cost. I want to know how the process works – what do they need from me? How long is likely to take? What happens if there is a problem after the site has gone live?

Yet I couldn’t find one single site that could achieve the seemingly easy task of explaining in clear, simple terms what they could do for me and how they would do it.

The same mistake is made across all sectors and all types of marketing. Another example – yesterday, in the paper, I saw an advert for a Microsoft phone that just said this:

‘A great deal of speed – get your Lumia 635 with 4G now.’

All this tells me is that something is fast (what, and what is it faster than?). It also assumes that I know, and care, what 4G is (I don’t and I don’t).

Now, of course there are plenty of people who do understand these things, but this advert still falls down, as it fails to answer any questions.

An advert that said exactly why it’s better than other phones on the market, and said it in simple terms that anybody can understand, would do far better.

Don’t make the same mistake. Do not imagine for one second that the person reading your website – or your adverts, your brochures or anything else designed to promote and sell – understands, or is remotely interested in, the intricacies of your product or service.

All they are interested in is the answer to one simple question – what’s in it for me?

To sell successfully, you need to answer this question clearly and quickly and in language that anyone can understand.

If you do then, believe me, you will be one step ahead of 90% of your competition.