The Time-Wasting Marketing Tactics You Need to Drop Immediately
By Carly Stec
We're slowly closing in on the homestretch of the forth quarter and you're busy.
Like, really busy.
So busy, in fact, that you're beginning to wonder if it's too soon to reach out to Santa to ask for a second pair of hands for Christmas.
How can you be expected to finish the year strong and lay the foundation for 2015 all at once?
Before you go beggin' the big guy, remember that often times you're a victim of our own choice.
Pressed for time, you continue to waste it by carrying out time-wasting tactics like building up an empty follower count on Twitter.
What's the return?
Last week Facebook announced that beginning in January 2015, users will see less promotional content in their News Feeds.
While they've been moving in this direction for awhile, this update serves as the latest blow to businesses struggling to connect with their audience via the platform.
The new algorithm will now serve as a mediator, deeming posts either too promotional or just right. If your content falls into the promotional pile, you can kiss your reach goodbye.
As a result, Facebook marketers are quickly finding themselves in a bit of a pickle. Should we stay or should we go?
Aware that Facebook rests upon one of the largest collections of consumer insight, it's difficult to leave with no qualms.
What to do instead:
While many big names have already made the decision to bid Facebook adieu, that choice is entirely up to you.
If you are planning to hang around (and don't have the budget to invest in Facebook ads), your strategy is going to need a little TLC.
Aside from steering clear of the "Dog rescues man from burning house AND WHAT HAPPENS NEXT WILL SHOCK YOU" style post you're too used to seeing, there are several considerations to make before you post.
According to a survey issued by Facebook, respondents noted the following traits were responsible for turning organic Page's post into promotional nightmares:
- Posts that solely push people to buy a product or install an app.
- Posts that push people to enter promotions and sweepstakes with no real context.
- Posts that reuse the exact same content from ads. (Source: Facebook)
Focusing on followers
Twitter has become a favorite platform for marketers across the board. (When simplicity meets immediacy, it's a beautiful thing.)
However, it's our appetite for immediacy that has also contributed to the downfall of our own accounts. While the itch to build a bigger following than the next guy is certainly persistent, it's important that you ask yourself – would I rather have 25 pennies or a quarter?
Sure, 50,000 followers looks good on paper, but it's a number that means very little in terms of reach and engagement.
Using cheap techniques to build up a quick list will likely result in an overwhelming amount of cheap followers. Followers that couldn't care less what about you're posting, let alone share it with their friends.
What to do instead:
Growing your following the meaningful way doesn't happen overnight, however certainly it's worth the time it takes.
Rather than mass following people who may or may not be interested in what you have to say, try these strategies:
- Participate in Twitter chats - think of it as a digital cocktail party. Earn followers by mingling with people in your industry (or people interested in your industry) that you wouldn't have connected with otherwise.
- Steal from your competitors - if your prospects are evaluating other products or services like yours, it's likely that they're following their Twitter accounts. Following your competitors followers will help you find people who are interested in what you offer.
- Monitor hashtags - think about what kinds of hashtags your ideal customers are engaging with and monitor them regularly. For example, we often check the hashtag #marketingproblems to identify people who might be in need of our services.
Buying email lists
Believe it or not, people are still buying email lists. (If you're one of them, consider this a digital slap on the wrist.)
Wondering why anyone would waste not only their time, but also their budget on something so worthless?
Quite simply, it's a shortcut. You wake up with a contact database of 100, you purchase a list, and suddenly you're handed 10,000 shiny, new emails.
But that's just the thing; these emails are far from shiny and new.
In fact, purchased lists are commonly so misused that it becomes impossible to reap any benefit from them. The listees have been subject to so much spam that they've become resistant to communication.
Either that, or their roles have changed, their addresses been taken over by someone else, or worse, they've gone inactive.
What to do instead:
According to Seth Godin, "interactions rarely happen with people we don't trust."
Point being, if you're blasting out emails to a purchased list that hasn't opted-in, it's likely that they're not going to trust you enough to take action, even if they find your offering of interest.
Building a credible list requires a bit of a different approach. A strategy that employs careful persuasion, incentive, and context to attract and capture the email addresses of people who actually want to hear from you.
For example, aware that exclusivity is tied directly to appeal, consider positioning your email capture CTAs so that they highlight the benefit of joining your community. (J.Crew uses punchy CTA copy like "shop before everyone else" and "you first" to entice people to sign up for their updates.)
For more on growing a credible list, check out this post.
Optimizing for search engines (& search engines only)
People get so wrapped up in trying to optimize every nook and cranny of their content for search engines, that the end result is well, confusing.
All the keyword stuffing disrupts the readability, and it winds up being written in a language that doesn't align with the preferences of living, breathing people.
Unfortunately the days when this strategy actually worked ended back in 2012 when Google released the Penguin update, which was designed to penalized websites employing black-hat SEO techniques.
Google proceeded to stick a fork in this outdated strategy when they released the Hummingbird update in 2013, which shifted the focus away from individual keywords to encourage more "conversational" search.
With 2015 coming in hot, it's safe to say that it's time for your business to let go of these ineffective measures.
What to do instead:
Technical SEO is all fine and good in moderation, but if it's all that you're focusing on, it's easy to lose sight of the people who actually consume your content.
Big picture thinking about optimization will help you to map your content to the specific needs and interests of your buyer personas, not just search engines.
While there are several ways to apply buyer persona insight to your content marketing to increase your visibility, here are some of our favorites:
- Provide answers - listen in on sales calls to better identify pain points that can be used as the basis for prescriptive content marketing.
- Speak their language - prospects are looking for clear value and a sense of believability, not a verbose song and dance. Rather than worry about keyword inclusion, focus on being clear and direct.
- Identify hot spots - find out where your personas are hanging out online and align with your content distribution with their preferred channels for consumption.
Wondering where to begin?