It is unbelievably easy to get caught up in day-to-day tasks and forget to zoom out and see if you can make general improvements in your strategy.
This is even easier when dealing with an international crisis.
To help us all keep perspective, I decided to write down a few of the most common mistakes marketers make that can be especially egregious in our current climate.
#1. Having an egocentric social presence
Social media should be a tool you use to drive conversation and engagement with your audience (presumably made up largely of your customers and potential customers).
If all you’re promoting on social media is work that you or your company completed, providing no value above and beyond that, you might as well be another ad on the sidebar shouting noise into the void.
This isn’t to say that whatever you’re creating or promoting for your brand isn’t valuable; however, think about it like this: If you had a friend who only talked about themselves and whatever was going on in their life, never asking what you have going on, you probably wouldn’t enjoy those conversations. You may not even want to be friends with that person anymore. Social media should be a two-way conversation just like any conversation you’d have in real life.
Admittedly, this can be trickier for B2B businesses than B2C, but it’s doable. Chorus.ai’s Twitter is a prime example. Most of what they share is from their site or related to their product in some way, but you’ll notice the focus on adding value to their core audience (salespeople).
#2. Misaligning your tactics with your desired result(s)
If we meet at a mutual friend’s BBQ for the first time, and you immediately launch into your deepest, darkest secrets, I’m going to back away quickly. But if you start to share more personal information about yourself after we’ve developed a friendship or even a rapport, that’s much more welcome. It’s similar in marketing.
I see this from time to time with new clients at Fractl, and it really boils down to understanding the marketing funnel. Most of the time, you can’t use the same tactic when you’re trying to create brand awareness that you would when trying to convert a customer.
Put simply, the majority of content we create is aimed at creating brand awareness by securing coverage and links from high-authority publishers via digital PR.
In order to do that successfully, the story we pitch needs to make sense coming from the brand, but not so close to the brand that it reads like an ad. It’s a thin line, but a necessary one when you’re trying to make new people aware of your brand without turning them off.
Take, for example, a project my company did for our client Porch.com, which helps connect people with home services. The content we developed for them centered on the cost to maintain a home in America.
So, it was related, but not specifically about hiring for housework. Because we found the sweet spot, gathering, analyzing, and presenting this data led to media coverage on the Washington Post, Realtor.com, MSN, and more.
Further down the funnel, this is less necessary. You should have more of a focus on your product / service, the benefits, and how your brand can help solve the customer’s problem(s).
#3. Neglecting mobile optimization
Imagine you’ve been a vegetarian for 10 years, and you’ve been friends with Joe for that same amount of time. Every time Joe hosts a dinner party, he invites you but there’s not one vegetarian option on the menu. Sure, you could still go to the party and enjoy the conversation, but you’re not going to get the full experience because you can’t eat dinner.
It’s 2020. I truly think this needs no justification. More people are browsing on mobile than they are on desktop. Use an emulator to make sure it looks good across multiple platforms and OS versions. Don’t be like Joe — this is an easy step to take for a disproportionately more enjoyable experience.
#4. Forgetting about searcher intent
When you’re writing or creating content with the hope of increasing your rankings in the SERPs, your goal should be to answer a searcher’s question. This is done through good old-fashioned quality editorial, not by keyword stuffing or adding fluff to increase your word count. This is why sites like NerdWallet dominate the search landscape in their chosen verticals. Yes, they’re pumping out a ton of content, but it’s quality content that’s concise and answers a question.
Let’s take the query “how to build credit” as an example. If I’m searching for that, I likely know nothing about credit and lack basic knowledge about how credit scores work, so I need information that’s very clear and foundational. Nerdwallet has an article on this that’s fairly lengthy but organized in a way that makes it easy to follow, and it’s not full of fluffy or overly complex language. It’s no surprise that they also hold the featured snippet for that query.
When you’re thinking about which friend to go to for advice, you don’t want one who will give you an untruthful answer. You want the one who will tell you exactly what they think and help you find the best course of action for your problem or situation.
The good news is that it’s never too late to optimize or tweak a strategy. If any part of this resonated with you, take some time to explore how you can alter what you’re currently doing to improve your results. And since these mistakes are so common, adjusting for them means you might be pulling ahead of your competition.