As the new year approaches, many of us are considering which bad habits we’d like to leave in 2018. But what is a bad habit really? If you asked your mother, she might say swearing or eating with your mouth full. But a top sportsperson or a virtuoso musician would say a bad habit is more like poor form or technique which keeps you from reaching your potential.

This is the crux of bad habits for marketers too. Something minor which keeps you from reaching your potential. This could be as simple as focusing on the the wrong metrics or overestimating certain platforms.

Quite often this comes from one of two things. These are trying to emulate other brands and cutting corners. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with sharing best practices or trying to make your processes more efficient.

However, these things become problematic when you start doing them thoughtlessly. Just doing something because everyone else seems to be doing it is hardly a reliable route to success. The difference between efficiency savings and cutting corners should be fairly self-explanatory.

Today I’d like to walk you through what I think some are the most common bad habits among marketers. I’m also going to try and focus on some of the ones which are the most damaging in terms of wasted time or resources.

Let’s go!

Influencer Marketing; Forget Followers

Influencer marketing has been one of the stand-out trends of the last twelve months. Rightly so. It’s an effective way to increase your brand awareness and reach new customers. However, if not done properly, influencer marketing can also be a tremendous way to throw money away.

When creating an influencer strategy for the first time, many marketers put far too much onus on follower counts. Now, obviously, I’m not about to tell you to disregard follower numbers completely. But too much emphasis on this will cause you problems down the line.

Many influencers pay bot networks to gain extra followers. That means that their follower count isn’t necessarily a good indicator of the number of potential new customers.

Additionally, if you pay an influencer X amount of money to reach their Y number of followers, it’s hard to chase them up if you don’t see an upturn in sales. They’ve technically fulfilled their end of the bargain after all.

The key to overcoming this is focusing on outcomes from the beginning. With the right tools, you can select influencers with particular audience demographics or who get particular results. You can then come to an arrangement to pay them based on your desired outcomes, rather than paying to reach their audience and hoping for the best.

PhotoMIX-Company / Pixabay

The fact that backlinks improve your search ranking is most one of the basic principles of SEO. Afterall, other sites linking to your content indicates authority and insight. This, in turn, lets the search engines know that your sight is valuable for their users.

However, what many marketers continue to forget is that this requires both quantity and quality. Too much emphasis on quantity at the expense of quality will quickly ruin your search engine rankings.

The bad news is that good SEO takes time and effort. I won’t give you a complete beginners guide today. Plenty of guides exist already. All I want to impart is that trying to take shortcuts will have the opposite effect to what you want.

That means no buying backlinks. There are sites out there which claim to get you thousands of backlinks for cash. While this is tempting, you have to forget that the search engines aren’t stupid. Buying backlinks violates Google’s guidelines, so they’re on the lookout for it.

If you suddenly acquire thousands of mysterious backlinks, chances are you’ll get blacklisted and your existing SEO ranking will swiftly drop. Just don’t do it.

Contests; Set and Forget

Contests have been another of the big marketing trends in 2018. Many brands have began using them to create new leads and drive sales. Part of the appeal of contests is that there’s a perception that you can set them up and forget about them.

It’s an appealing delusion, but it’s a delusion all the same. If you take a set and forget attitude, you might be lucky and find that you’re getting a lot of competition entries. However, all the luck in the world is unlikely to see these converting into qualified leads, much less sales.

So, instead of setting and forgetting, once you’ve got your contest up and running, and it’s attracting entries, it’s time to start thinking about sales funnels. Just like any other marketing tool.

It’s tempting to think that there are tools out there which will make sales for you in the background, but those tools are incredibly rare. Even the most highly sophisticated automation requires a certain amount of checking in and refining.

Contests, unfortunately, are no different.

Wrapping Up

Obviously, no one article is ever going to outline every single thing you’re doing wrong. The best I can do is try and point you towards some of the areas you’re likely to be slipping up. You may have noticed that these bad habits usually come from applying strategies uncritically.

This is an important lesson to keep in mind moving into the new year. You’ll have noticed a slew of blogs circulating about the top marketing strategies to implement in 2019. What I’d like you to take away today is that blindly implementing these trendy strategies is unlikely to yield the results you’re hoping for.

It’s easy to believe the spin around the hottest new techniques of the day, and indeed many of them offer great potential. However, the thing to remember is that nine times out of ten, they will still require you to put in work and focus on the right performance indicators to reach their potential.

That way you can make 2019 your best year yet.