Guest Post: Three Pitfalls I Avoided By Listening To Marketing Sages

by Kenton Zerbin

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There are many pitfall mistakes to make out there in the marketing world. Thank goodness you don’t have to make them! There are those who have made them and witnessed them, and made it here today to save us from doing them. 

Hi my name is Kenton Zerbin, and I started up, an independent teaching business teaching others Permaculture and how to design sustainability into their lives. It was, and continues to be, far from easy but it could have been SO much harder if I didn’t know the following… 

I want to share with you 3 pitfalls I avoided by listening to Marketing Sages:


Pitfall 1: Don’t brand yourself to a market you don’t know exists.

Know what you have to offer and test the waters with it. Don’t take it personally, but this isn’t about you, this is about what you are offering someone else. This concept of needs/yields in marketing is so… well… DUH, for lack of a better word. In Permaculture we call it Needs and Yields analysis; by understanding the needs and yields of the elements we are working with (in this case, “you” and “others”) you can design them together. Essentially, by knowing what “you” can yield and what “others” need, you can market and design yourself a right livelihood. A sustainable business. Success. 

So I repeat. Don’t market yourself until you know you have something worth marketing. Only then get into marketing it! 

How I avoided this pitfall as a Permaculture Teacher: 

I offered two free Intro to Permaculture Talks, one at a Hippy café and one at a University. Now I’m not only seeing IF the seats fill (If I have something worth marketing) but I’m also testing to see how many seats fill at each venue comparatively… which leads to the 2nd pitfall…


Pitfall 2: Don’t start marketing till you know who is shopping for you.

So you know that there is a market for you. Hold your horses! This is where far too many enthusiasts jump the gun…. You know people are engaging you, but you don’t know WHO exactly these people are. If you try to engage your vague clientele at this point you are nothing other than an overexcited door-to-door salesman or that person pushing papers on the street corner. Remember, you are marketing – a strategic use of your energy and time

Know your client! Who are these people that want what you are offering? Once you do NOW you are ready to start marketing! Only now do you know how to wrap it and how to get it out there!

How I avoided this pitfall as a Permaculture Teacher:

I got the participants of my free workshop to do a little questionnaire for me… age, house owner, salary range. I also gave them the choice on that questionnaire to choose what different kinds of courses they would be most interested in taking… which leads me to the 3rd pitfall.


Pitfall 3: DO NOT offer just one “thing”.

So you know you have something to offer that others want… and you also know who it is who wants it and thus are informed how to “brand” and marketing strategically. Now you have to avoid making the pitfall of offering the Holy Grail product…

Nothing will crush your spirit and business faster than seeing your ONE egg sitting in your basket not hatch. The cliché, “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket” couldn’t be more true.

Create your compelling packages! The secret now is to offer multiple points of entry for your potential clients to engage you. 


Let’s say you are starting an orchard… don’t just offer apples! Offer Cider, applesauce, applejack, preserved apples, dehydrated apples, apple trees, orchard tours, pies and an apple-a-day subscription program. 

Lets say you are starting a business offering Permaculture landscape consulting… don’t just expect clients to line up paying you thousands to convert their lawns! Offer a group educational workshop on one of the participants landscape, pre-consultation options, Permablitzs, surveying, landscape plans, tours of properties you have installed/designed, even have a tour/workshop at your own house showing off your food forest/garden of eden! 

For yet another example I will use myself as a Permaculture teacher. I offer: 

  • Free articles sharing my knowledge
  • 3-hour Intro to Permaculture workshops
  • 3-8 hour Workshops for house-owners OR apartment owners
  • 2 day Permaculture course for learning how to design
  • 2-week Permaculture Design Certification Course

Come check out the FREE stuff and all the rest at 

Thanks for reading! I wish you all the best in your business and avoiding these marketing pitfalls! 

Feel free to contact me at


Kenton Zerbin

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