To grow your business, you must invest in marketing. No matter how awesome your products and services are, no one will know about it if you don’t actively promote your business.
There are many marketing strategies to choose from. However, not all of them are effective. Choosing the wrong ones can do more harm than good for your business. Some may blow up your budget without generating significant returns.
In our previous blog, we discussed the 5 marketing strategies your business can’t live without. To help you avoid the costly mistakes made by many entrepreneurs, here are 5 marketing strategies your businesses can live without.
1. Random Distribution of Flyers
In this day and age of the Internet and targeted marketing, it’s surprising to see flyers still being distributed inside malls and parking areas.
The person distributing the flyer doesn’t profile every patron who enters the mall. He will just stick out the flyer in his hand and keep it out there until someone grabs it.
The question is: What will the patron do once he reads your flyer?
- Visit your establishment
- Enter your establishment and walkout
- Become a paying customer
- Throw the flyer in a trashcan
Four options and only one of the possibilities results in the desired outcome.
In reality, unless the person has a need for what your business offers, the flyer will end up in the trash can.
Distributing flyers at random is a strategy your business can live without because it is not sustainable.
There is a cost to producing flyers and the return on your efforts will be quite low. Flyers are used to promote events or one-time specials. Therefore, you cannot re-use them.
Flyers are printed on paper. With most of your flyers ending up inside the trash can, the strategy is not environment-friendly.
And while we’re discussing the pitfalls of flyers, let’s include other traditional Point-of-Purchase materials such as posters, streamers, and standees.
All of them are expensive, result in poor ROI, and unsustainable.
They could also serve to annoy your customers.
How do you feel when flyers are jam-packed inside your mailbox? Do you get frustrated when flyers fall out of your Sunday paper? How about getting inside your car then finding a flyer inserted in your wiper?
If the marketing strategy is not targeted for a specific customer, the negative reactions will reflect on your business brand and do you more harm than good.
Forget random and focus on targeted marketing strategies.
2. Over-reliance on Print Ads
Print ads used to be the signature play of marketers. They will tell you that spending on a print ad for a publication with high circulation is an investment, not an expense.
One time, big time. Like a home run with bases loaded.
Print ads are not just expensive. They can be very expensive. And given the growing popularity of digital channels, the return on print advertising will not be impressive enough to justify the expense.
It will become an expense, not an investment.
Similar to flyers and other traditional POP’s, print advertising is not a sustainable strategy.
You can only run the print ad once. If the ad is in a newspaper, by the following day, your ad will be just like the paper itself – yesterday’s news.
Print ads are a form of random marketing. Are you sure the person who comes across your ad is interested in what your business offers? That is if he comes across your ad at all or pays it any attention.
In the days before broadband, putting out print ads were thought of to be the best option for marketing and promoting businesses. There is truth to this as during the pre-broadband days, consumers still relied on broadsheet publications and newspapers as sources of information.
Today, with more than 4.4 billion people having access to over 1 billion websites, using Internet-based channels are the most effective and efficient ways to market and promote your business.
3. Overemphasizing Social Media Marketing
To be clear, social media is a wonderful and proven platform for marketing your business; its products and services. After all, more than 3 billion are on social media every day.
An overlooked benefit of social media marketing is that it humanizes your business by giving you a medium to freely interact with your customers and followers.
For these reasons – and they are quite significant – entrepreneurs tend to overemphasize social media marketing in the digital marketing strategy.
Are you one of them? Here are a few signs that show you might be overemphasizing social media marketing:
- You don’t have a website for your business because you think social media marketing is enough to build a visible online presence.
- You have more than 2 social media accounts.
- You spend most of your working days posting content on social media.
Every business should have a website. Without one, you can’t build your brand, provide a showroom for your products, and your customers will not be able to find you much less transact with you.
Social media is a great platform to distribute content for the purpose of driving traffic to your website. It cannot enhance your brand, reputation, and assist potential customers who want to patronize your business.
Further, you don’t have to open a Business Page on every social media platform.
In the first place, having more than 2 social media accounts might be difficult to manage. Second, not all social media platforms function in the same way. Keep in mind that as a “social” platform, each network has its own community.
For example, a Facebook user will post a different type of content on LinkedIn.
Social media is also not a search ranking factor. Spending too much time on social media and posting multiple pieces of content will not guarantee higher search rankings for your website.
The best approach is to invest in a mobile-responsive and fully-optimized website then, incorporate social media as a distribution channel for your content.
4. Focusing on the Quantity of Content
Content marketing should be a mainstay in your digital marketing strategy. Despite the growing popularity of video-based content, “old school” blogging remains a solid cornerstone of an effective content marketing campaign.
Here are a few statistics that validate the importance of business blogging:
- Businesses that blog get 97% more links to their website than businesses that don’t blog.
- 77% of Internet-users read blogs.
- Americans spend 3x more time reading blogs than email.
- Businesses that blog experience double the email signups than businesses that don’t blog.
- Blogs give your ROI efforts a boost – by an estimated 13x.
With such amazing numbers, it should never be a question of “If you should blog” rather, “When and how often should you blog?”
According to an updated study by HubSpot, if your goal is to increase brand awareness or organic traffic to your website, you should be blogging 12 to 16 times a month.
Considering that 2,000-word blogs generate the best results and that it takes 3 to 4 hours to write a blog of such length – 12 to 16 blogs per month means one thing:
A lot of writing!
The urgency to write three to four 2,000-word blogs per week creates incredible pressure on the quality of content.
Keep in mind that writing for the Internet is a different skill set. If you scored A’s in Creative Writing, it won’t mean anything if your blog can’t be found.
To be found, your blog must be optimized.
How do you optimize a blog?
- The title and content should have the right keywords
- Content must be fresh and unique
- There must be at least one link to a reliable resource
- The structure of the blog must make it an easy read.
- Your information must be accurate, updated, and useful.
One of your best options is to outsource blog writing. At Mountaintop, we’ve written blogs for our clients. In fact, some of our blogs have been cited by UpCity as among the best-recommended readings for those interested in digital marketing.
However, if you want to experience blogging, start out slow and focus on the quality of the blogs instead of the quantity.
You can start out with only four 2,000-word blogs per month. Once your business gains traction, ramp up the blogging schedule by 50% of 6 blogs per month.
If you can’t allocate more time to blogging, outsource the task to Mountaintop Web Design. You won’t miss a beat and we’ll make sure the quality is kept intact even as the frequency of blogging continues to increase.
5. Telemarketing to Prospective Customers
Whether you agree that telemarketing is dead or not, just don’t include it among your marketing strategies. You will only serve to annoy most of your prospective customers.
Sure, you can outsource telemarketing and save money. However, telemarketing can damage your brand and tarnish your reputation beyond repair.
Put it this way, how would you feel when you’re chilling at home – feet up an ottoman, ice-cold beer in one hand while watching the replay of Superbowl – when your phone rings and it’s a telemarketer offering you timeshares?
Despite the insistence of some quarters in marketing that you need telemarketing for your business, the risks to your brand and reputation will not be worth it.
After all, there is a good reason why the “Do Not Call” registry was created by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and why penalties for telemarketing companies violating the Telemarketing and Telephone Consumer Protection Act are quite severe.
Instead of telemarketing, generate leads through a strategic content marketing distribution plan. Once you have an impressive list of newsletter sign-ups, embark on an email marketing campaign.
To better appreciate the value of marketing, you must understand that the process will not produce positive results overnight. It takes time to build a brand because consumers want to be convinced and assured before they make final decisions.
Marketing budgets blow up because entrepreneurs are sold on the idea to “Go Big or Go Home”. Spending a ton of money on expensive strategies such as print ads will not take your business above red 24 hours after the ad was published.
When it comes to marketing, take a strategic and judicious approach. Identify your budget and figure out the most effective way to allocate your resources.
As we shared in our article, “How To Launch A $100 Digital Marketing Campaign”, you don’t need to shell out the big bucks to get big returns on your marketing efforts.
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And if you need help with digital marketing, give us a call or drop an email. We will get you started the right way without breaking your marketing budget.