If you’ve got to have a New Year’s resolution, be it this one: getting better in marketing. In marketing and other sides of life, mistakes and failures are learning opportunities. Without them, we wouldn’t have known what would and wouldn’t work.
The following are 12 tactics that marketers made in 2017, some of which are good and others are bad. Let’s discuss what they are, which ones are good to keep and the bad ones to purge out.
1. Using clickbait and misleading headlines
Headlines are still very important. But like other important things, headlines should be treated with care. Don’t fool readers into clicking a headline that they can’t refuse, only to disappoint them with content that doesn’t satisfy their curiosity in the first place.
According to SEO Hacker, title click through can be increased significantly (to 730% in their research) with the right wording. Thus, a strong title is always recommended. Just make sure that you don’t fool anyone.
2. Filling blogs with texts only
A blog is no longer an online journal that it was first intended. Sure, it’s still located on your site and can be used to share about your last holiday to the Maldives, but its main purpose is so much more now.
A blog is both a hub and a platform. It’s the hub for content marketing. And it’s a platform for communication.
Use it as a platform to deliver value to customers before, during, and after closing sales. Communications can be done with blog posts, comments, linkage to social media networks, and educational knowledgebase.
3. Creating content that you want, not what they want
You don’t create for yourself. You create for readers. With this in mind, make sure that you understand what your readers are looking for. Most likely, readers who’re looking for information related to their pain points. Thus, write content that answers their questions, provide solutions to their problems, and give hope to their sorrow.
For this, remove yourself from the equation. Immerse yourself in your readers’ thoughts and perspectives. Find out what they truly need and be vigilant in providing answers. Show sincerity in being helpful. It would show.
4. Topics that are too vague or too narrow
Your landing page may only include the benefits of using your product, which can be unclear to those who need to know more specific or in-depth information. Be clear and use user-friendly concepts, not too technical but not too preschool-y.
If you write about too technical a topic, the regular readers wouldn’t understand it. If it’s too “preschool-y,” it would sound condescending. For instance, if you say that your product helps “building readership,” be clear what it means. Does it mean it brings or attracts more readers? Does it mean it helps people to read better?
5. Putting paywalls and locks on everything
Not every piece of information must be paywalled and locked. If you sell B2B information, you must have paywalled premium content, of course. But it doesn’t mean you can’t have free and semi-free contents. You can lock semi-premium contents that can be unlocked with their e-mail subscription but do so with consideration.
Some information should be available without charge, particularly those that help visitors to better understand your product and how it can solve their pain points. Make the blog a knowledgebase hub that brings visitors with similar paint points together. Let them stay and feel at home.
6. Not repurposing and not automating content
Some content can be automated, like RSS feeds from blog posts. And other types of automation can also be used for repurposing content, such as transcribing webinar recording, extracting substance from other content type, and scaling them differently.
Consider restructuring content by using modules, semantic tags, FAQs, and others. Extracting content from one place to be used elsewhere must be done intelligently, so it doesn’t sound repetitive. Rewriting is important and also being creative.
7. No user stories, case studies, and success stories
Do you know that 93% consumers find user-generated content extremely helpful in their decision-making process to purchase or not? A study by Adweek said so.
Create a section on the blog to show case success stories and case studies from users. Including a community where users can upload their own stories would be excellent if it’s possible. Otherwise, hire professional case study writers to contact several customers who’re willing to share their pleasant experiences with you.
Next, have those stories published as “case studies” or “success stories.” Be transparent and disclose their websites, so prospects can contact them if needed. For this, make sure your “success customers” sign an agreement on this.
8. Not aiming at virality
While not every piece of content can go viral, at least give it your best to make it viral. Craft the headline and the content to reach virality. According to various studies in neuroscience, the “formulas” to creating viral content are VAD and STEPPS models.
VAD stands for Valence, Arousal, and Dominance. Researchers Staiano and Guerini find that individual emotions are important to evoke feelings, but may not cause virality unless they fall into the VAD Model. However, according to Berger, the key to “words of mouth” marketing success is STEPPS or social currency, triggers, emotion, public, practical value, and stories.
Use Almighty.Press to locate pre-viral contents, which are already trending news or other pieces of content, that haven’t reached saturation on the web. This way, you can re-package the viral “tidal wave” early on with your own topics and have them published.
9. Unclear how to contact
Your website, which includes a blog, should include a clear way for visitors to interact with you. A contact form is the least thing you can have available. Consider using customer service chats, like Zendesk and its alternatives.
Or, you can install chatbots, such as Facebook chatbots and other platforms. The key is making your site an interactive place for visitors to find information and get educated. Once they’re confident enough, they’d contact you. And when they do, you’ll receive warm leads for future conversion.
10. Boring images
Use interactive images, like GIFs, animated images, and short videos to maintain stickiness to your content and to cater visual and auditory learners. Today, there are plenty of apps that can help you edit like a pro in a matter of seconds.
Awesome video and interactive image editors like Videolicious, Quik, Snap Movie, Hydra, Ripl, and Photo Fox can create complex-looking marketing collaterals in a few minutes. Thus, there is no excuse for a not creating out-of-this-world’s images and video clips.
11. Unclear CTAs
You can sprinkle a piece of content with several CTAs, but make sure that they are clear. If each of them has its own purpose, be clear about it. Make the readers feel comfortable giving away their e-mail address.
Oberlo dropshipping app, for instance, uses several types of CTAs. On the front page, it has “Get Oberlo Now,” “Learn More,” and “Add Oberlo to Shopify” CTAs. Under each blog post and success story, it has “Sign Up Free” CTA. On each e-book page, it has 2 CTAs: “Start Reading” or “Download PDF.” Clear CTAs and their clean designs spark more interest in readers to give your product a try.
12. Annoying retargeting and bad UX
Nothing is more annoying than bad retargeting and UX designs. It’s the ultimate marketer’s sin when visitors are bombarded by unnecessary pop-ups, especially to those who have signed up or, even, purchased the product.
Stay cool so that you wouldn’t get penalized by Google. As of 2017, Google has started penalizing mobile sites with pop-up ads after users move from SERPs (Search Engine Result Pages) to a website. And penalties are getting stronger in 2018.
In conclusion, be informed and educated on what wouldn’t work anymore in 2018. Stay focused on what you do best and share with the world with sincerity. There are many ways to create engaging and converting contents. Just make sure they are clean, streamlined, and purposeful. Refrain from being fishy, clickbaity, and annoying. 2018 is your year.