From the Trenches

5 Stupid Things Smart Marketers Do

Right Source | March 13, 2012

Ok, fellow marketers. You may think you’re extremely smart (and many of you are), but even you are not immune to stupidity. There are simple things that many smart marketers do that make me grind my teeth on a daily basis. Some of these things are specific to a channel, but some are just general tips for interactive marketing. Here’s my list of stupid things smart marketers do:

1. Blindly execute social media.

Many marketers make the mistake of underestimating the power of social media when used correctly. Now before you roll your eyes, I’m not saying it’s the end-all be-all of interactive marketing, because social media can’t stand alone and falls flat without a larger marketing and content strategy. Don’t create a page if you don’t have anything to say.

Here’s a few things to remember when you’re creating a strategy:

  • Social media thrives on interaction, so make sure you’re giving your fans and followers something they can’t just read off your website.
  • Add some personality to messages so that your fans know there’s actually a person on the other side of the connection.
  • Remember that different communities have different personalities, so don’t just spam them all with the same line. If you’ve done your job correctly, people who belong to more than one social community may be following your account on each, so it is a red flag to see the same line of content on each. That flag says you’re spamming me.

2. Turn blog posts into advertisements.

If you’re blogging consistently, you’re on the right track. But if all your blog posts are about your own product or service, you’re really just advertising. Don’t do this! Provide value for the readers of your blog. They didn’t come to your blog to read about how awesome XYZ service is, although you can definitely link to that service or even mention it at the end of a post. The more in-depth and interesting your blog posts are, the more people will realize that a) you know what you’re talking about, and b) you’re not just giving them a used car salesman-type pitch. The best blog posts get the reader to think highly of the author, which makes them think highly of the company, which makes them remember that company when they have a need for your product or service. Be subtle. Give readers the perception that you’re awesome, but don’t shove it down their throats.

3. Neglect search engine optimization.

The keyword in that phrase is “optimization.” Optimization means you should be putting thought into it, not just blindly picking keywords. If you’re selling shoes, it may be tempting to choose the keyword “shoes” for your meta data, but re-think that decision. How many shoe companies are on the internet? A ton! And if you’re not, chances are you’ll have to wait in line behind all the other shoe companies and who goes ten pages into a Google search? Instead, pick a more specific keyword or keywords that capture the long tail. Research using a tool like Google AdWords to see the competition, monthly search volume for your desired word or phrase, and even show related keywords that could be better choices.

4. Insist on doing everything.

Accept that you are not the master of the universe. There may be things that someone else can do better and faster than you can—whether that “someone else” is a coworker, employee, or outsourced firm. Keep that in mind as you begin new projects so you don’t get in over your head. Listen to others, especially when they criticize. Accepting help may be the best—and most efficient—way to finish a project and learn from the process.

5. Forget to make a plan.

This circles back to the first point about social media and the entirety of your marketing efforts. Your social media properties, blog, website messaging, and traditional mediums should be part of an integrated plan. None of those elements can stand alone without the others, so make sure they all represent your brand in the right way. Don’t get overwhelmed with new touch points; focus on a few. Giving your best effort to a few properties is more effective than appearing scatterbrained by focusing the bare minimum amount of effort on many properties.

Don’t get me wrong, I could write a post ten times as long about what marketers are doing right. But I often see marketers making these mistakes without even realizing they are mistakes. The rush to keep up with the industry often leads to poorly planned ventures and disorganized tactics just because “everyone else is doing it.” Don’t fall into this trap so I don’t have to keep writing posts like this!

Disagree with one of my points? Have your own to add? Let’s talk in the comments.

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