We get it; you have goals to meet, there’s a lot to do, and there are only so many days in the week. The boss wants to see strong numbers in the next report. You’ve heard, “we need to move the needle,” among other trite business phrases. That sense of “do what it takes” urgency can, over time, instill bad marketing habits that are based on a short-sighted view of progress.
Despite the best of intentions, a large number of companies are using new technologies with old methodologies. From tactical to philosophical, here are 7 marketing bad habits every company should break if they want to see better results.
1. Skipping the Brand Steps
Let’s start here because Brand is the place to start. How do you ever expect to effectively communicate who you are, what you do, and why it matters if you don’t understand it yourself? It’s tough. And no one else will believe it if it isn’t clear enough for your company to walk the talk across all touchpoints. Branding is important, possibly now more than ever, as consumers see the purchases they make as reflections of their own brand. People want to connect with something other than a price tag.
The brand is the core, a perspective from which you talk and a reference point from which decisions are made. It’s just like having a best friend and being able to say, “John would never say that. That’s not like John.”
Work together to get the brand attributes clear. Create a brand guide. Live it. Arm your entire team with it. And use it as a gut check for everything else you do to grow your business.
2. Running Email Campaigns on Purchased Lists
How many times have you received an unsolicited email and said, “how the hell did they get my email address?” or “why am I getting emails from this person?” It’s irritating. You’re busy and so are your prospective clients. Don’t waste their time and yours by spamming their inbox. Not only is it bad for your brand, it harms the chance for long-term relationship development. Not to mention, it can get your domain blacklisted, rendering it and anything tied to it nearly useless.
You may get a hit here or there but the truth is emailing to a purchased list simply doesn’t give you consistent results. Think about it—you bought a list of names; do you think that list provider only sold that list to you? Of course not. The names and email addresses on that list have been bombarded with unsolicited emails. Your open rate is likely to be very low if the email even makes it to an inbox.
Don’t just take my word for it.
Email marketing today can still be effective but it requires a strategy around delivering content of value and attracting folks to opt-in. Those leads are higher quality and the time from both sides is better spent.
3. Focusing On Quantity Over Quality
This is everywhere in marketing, and social media has only fueled the fire. From posting just to meet a cadence goal to obsessing over (even buying) followers, more has been associated with better when targeted is actually the way to go.
It doesn’t matter if you post every day if the content is junk or redundant. It doesn’t matter if you have thousands of followers if none of them engage with your content. And the email thing, we’ve touched on a bit already, but the fact is no one wants to hear from you all the time. When you are reaching out, it better be useful messaging. It’s not good enough to segment messaging by only age and location any longer. Get to know your audience better, then deliver relevant, timely content at a pace that keeps your brand top of mind but doesn’t oversaturate.
In every aspect of communication, the output should be purposeful. Doing more doesn’t help you stand out in the noise. Doing something different and better will.
4. Being Too Guarded
The greatest thing social media has done for business is to allow companies to open up to their audience. We get to see behind the curtain. Sometimes we learn that the Wizard is up to no good. Sometimes we learn that the largest companies in the world are quite endearing. The fact is, companies make mistakes. They are run by humans who do the same and we should expect nothing less. It’s the way companies react to those mistakes for which we should hold them accountable.
Relationship building requires give and take which oftentimes means being vulnerable. Companies who refuse to highlight their team members or celebrate client partnerships out of fear one or the other might “get poached” might have bigger things to worry about.
5. SEO Without Content Marketing
Content marketing and SEO go together like peanut butter and jelly. They complement each other and make a more complete snack. They may be fine on their own, but they simply won’t accomplish separately what they can accomplish together.
All of that to say: SEO should be a vital part of your content marketing strategy — informing what content should (and shouldn’t) be written in the planning stages and a portion of the data used to assess and refine your overall plan. SEO is your North Star, defining the content that will get you closer to your search marketing goals: more traffic, more leads, and more opportunities.
On the flip side, SEO efforts without a healthy content marketing engine will mean a slower return on investment. A major component of SEO is publishing quality content that aligns with your keyword strategy.
6. Repeat Instead of Repurpose
When executed properly, repurposed (valuable) content can be one of the most useful tools in your marketing arsenal. After all, a lot of time and resources go into creating original content, meaning… you should be repurposing! Anything less is like Steven Spielberg making a full-blown movie that only airs once.
Repurposing content gives your audience different ways to consume information and saves them the redundancy of seeing the exact same content over and over.
Say you have a past webinar recording or long-form video that’s still relevant. You could repurpose it as:
- A Shortened Video Recap
- Video Snippets On Specific Topics Discussed
- An Audiogram of Video Snippets
- A Long-Form Article Based On Webinar
- Specific Article Snippets
- Quote Snippets
- Statistic/Data Snippets
- Talking-Head Videos Summarizing Article Snippets
- Audiograms of Talking-Head Video Summaries
7. Not Measuring Your Efforts
Spending time and money on marketing without measuring results is like handing a blank check to your agency partner. What to measure, plus how and what to benchmark the numbers against, should be built into your strategy before you start executing. Make sure what you’re measuring provides perspective on hitting defined goals.
Set a timeline for reviewing the results and tweaking your efforts, but beware of paralysis by analysis. Reviewing too soon and too often could lead you to make changes before your strategy has been properly tested.