Winning marketing strategies that become losers

Tried-and-true content marketing tactics are all over the internet. “Top 10 best practices …”, “Amazing tips and tricks from the pros …”, “Winning marketing strategies …”

Generally, the advice works. Things go wonky, however, when common sense leaves the building.

Let’s break down six of these techniques:

Tactic #1: Build an insanely great website

You launched a shiny new website that has killer content and many bells and whistles.

Yay, you!

You took an important step in getting rid of the spinning globe, the visitor counter and the bios from people who haven’t worked there in 12 years.

The problem is, your site won’t attract prospects and customers simply because it’s there.

Traction doesn’t happen magically. You have to tell people about your fancy-pants site and encourage them to visit.

Promote it in an e-blast, explaining how people will benefit from the content. Add a teaser to your email signature and your voicemail greeting. Announce it to the world on social media.

And remember that once the site is live, you can’t fuhgeddaboudit.

Post valuable content regularly to keep people coming back and to score points with Google and other search engines.

Tactic #2: Write conversationally

Using everyday words helps people from all backgrounds understand your marketing content. It also makes you approachable and friendly.

But don’t be shallow.

Hint: Emails that start with “Hello, love,” and “Hi, friend!” are claptrap.

Phony overfamiliarity is annoying and fools no one.

“Hey, The Simons Group! I know you want the skinny on how I can grow your business. Maybe you’ve heard of me? Or maybe not since you probably deleted my emails. Ha ha! You don’t know what you’re missing out on!”

The Simons Group isn’t your long-lost pal, and this is stalker scary. Conversational writing should be professional – not creepy.

Tactic #3: Optimize content for search engines

Name a company that doesn’t do a happy dance when it ranks high in search engines.

Yeah, crickets …

But some businesses write for search engines like they want to bed them.

You’ve seen those websites that are stuffed with keywords worse than a Thanksgiving turkey:

“If you’re looking for the best electronic medical records software available today, look no further. Our electronic medical records software is ranked high among hospitals all over the country. You won’t find electronic medical records software any better than ours. Just ask for a free demo of our electronic medical records software.”

Search engines are smart. They will penalize you for trying to game the system.

Keyword stuffing also makes you look desperate and unprofessional. No one trusts a company that relies on parlor tricks.

Stick to writing for humans.

Tactic #4: Write eyeball-grabbing headlines and subject lines

Power words and strong titles are incredibly effective – and abused.

Nothing reeks like clickbait. It’s worse than fish or company after three days:

“Get $15 million in sales without spending a penny!”

“Backstabbing customers deserve THIS revenge.”

“These naughty email marketing robots will terrify you!!”

Believe it or not, these aren’t the worst out there.

Headlines and subject lines need to hook people, but your content must support what your headlines and subject lines are selling.

Making mundane topics relevant and catchy (read: not mind-numbingly boring) is beastly hard.

Be creative – and honest.

Tactic #5: Create email marketing campaigns

Email marketing is effective when you share educational versus sales-y content.

But don’t make the mistake of buying an email list.

Purchased lists are typically full of junk data and people who never wanted to be on the lists in the first place.

You can also land in hot water with your email service provider, such as MailChimp or Constant Contact, and be tagged as a spammer.

Reputable providers will shut that down. They can close your account, fine you and even take legal action against you.

Don’t be stupid. Grow your own email list of people who want to hear from you – and actually read your messages.

Tactic #6: Share customer testimonials

It’s a great idea to ask for and share positive quotes from happy customers.

Unfortunately, some companies think that means creating testimonials pages on their websites (so ‘90s!) and filling them with blasé endorsements.

“Working with ABC Co. is great. They get the job done.”

“We achieved our goal on the project, thanks to XYZ Inc.”

Zzzz …

No sane person would hire ABC Co. and XYZ Inc. on the basis of these pale statements.

Here’s the thing: Testimonials must be product-, project- and service-specific and include quantifiable results to be meaningful. Highlight challenges and problems that you solved.

Once you’ve got an awesome collection, the worst thing you can do is dump them on a testimonials page, where they’ll be ignored.

Like forever.

Place testimonials with the products, projects and services they relate to so prospects see them when they’re making buying decisions.

You want your offers to be as “sticky” as the porch pirates who are trolling your Amazon packages RIGHT NOW.

Have you had good marketing advice go bad? What tactics did you try? Let us know in the comments below.

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