Every business owner knows better than to rely on a single marketing technique to generate new and repeat business. But using too many techniques can muddy the waters rather than driving more sales. And if some of the methods you’re using are outdated, you are not only missing the mark with your marketing, you’re wasting time and money.
With a fresh new year approaching, it’s time to identify those outdated marketing techniques and resolve to stop using them right now. Here are eight awful practices you can use as a guide. Be brutally honest, now.
1. Phone book advertising. You can’t be serious. When was the last time you looked in a phone book? Do you even know where it is? This type of advertising is extremely expensive and, these days, virtually worthless.
2. Telemarketing. Yuck. This is the ultimate in pushy, unwanted promotion. Chances are near-zero anyone will buy, and you’ll develop a damaging reputation for invasiveness. Cold-calling is just cold.
3. Not marketing your business around the clock. We live in a 24/7 world now, and you never know when the next hot prospect will want to find more information about your business. They expect you to have a phone number, address, email, website and more than one social media presence, so make sure you do and make sure you promote all those contact options liberally. The easier it is for someone to connect with you, the less likely they are to connect with your competition.
4. Fibbing. Inventing testimonials is not only dishonest and tacky, if your business cannot attract honestly positive reviews, your problems transcend marketing.
5. Concentrating solely on generating new business. Ouch. It’s not a myth that it’s cheaper and easier to retain customers than find new ones, it’s a fact of business life. Especially these days when customers are more fickle than ever, you’ll be money ahead – way ahead – giving at least equal weight to building stronger, loyal relationships with existing customers than simply promoting with churn in mind.
6. Relying on your instincts. When it comes to your marketing, you may not be as “right on” as you think. Are you prepared to bet your budget on your best guess? This is the era of big data – analytics available everywhere you look – and there’s nothing like the facts to make your marketing more strategic and more successful.You’re not a “facts and figures” kind of person? Become one.
Analytics lay the foundation for marketing creativity; otherwise, your promotions may be amazingly fun and innovative, but they won’t attract customers or clients or patients.
7. Keyword stuffing. You certainly need well-researched keywords in your marketing content so people can find you online. But gratuitously cramming them into every other sentence makes your text unreadable. It will drive away even the most dedicated searcher, and the search engines, too.
8. Following the herd. Some marketing “pundits” will tell you direct mail marketing is outdated. If that was true, this technique wouldn’t keep generating consistently strong results and revenue for a vastly varied range of local businesses all across the country. Keeping up with trends is a good thing, but blindly following the latest fashion is foolish. It’s your business, so use your own good sense to remember it isn’t the age of a marketing technique that matters, it’s how effective that technique is for you. “Tried and true” has real value.
The bottom line?
Scrupulously evaluate every marketing technique you’re currently using. Ask yourself “is this increasing my bottom line?” You’ll know for sure, thanks to your analytics, so you can make smart, strategic decisions about which tactics to stop using. Be ruthless. Stop right now, cold turkey. It may feel like a leap, but you’ll leap into the new year with sharply-honed marketing that will bring the kind of results you’ve only dreamed of so far.