From the blog 3 Online Marketing Strategies That Don’t Work (And 3 That Do)

If you’re not actively marketing your business online in 2020, then you’re missing out—big time. 

Online marketing plans build crucial brand presence. But figuring out a solid online strategy is tricky. 

That’s why we’ve researched 3 online marketing strategies that don’t work and 3 that do. And you can start using our tips in the next five minutes.

1. Don’t use keyword stuffing.

Ranking well in search engines takes time, effort and search engine optimization (SEO). SEO involves using high-performing keywords on a webpage to make it float to the top of search returns. Google itself suggests using SEO.

But covering your site with tons of keywords won’t improve your SEO.

That’s keyword stuffing. Some businesses think it helps them manipulate search engines. But most of the time, keyword stuffing (and any other attempts to trick search algorithms) does more harm than good.

Not only that, but visitors can tell when site authors use keyword stuffing, too. Their repetitive nature is often is obvious. It comes across as spammy and deceitful. Stuffing makes your content difficult to read

Visitors—your potential customers—hate that.

Keyword stuffing (and any other attempts to trick search algorithms) does more harm than good.

Google doesn’t like it either. Regular updates to Google’s Penguin algorithm make sure sites abusing SEO don’t show up in search returns at all. Penguin gets more sophisticated every day. SMB owners are better off not keyword stuffing at all. 

Instead of keywords, SEO marketing efforts should focus on value. That way, you’ll end up with the right keywords in a natural way.

Google’s algorithm rewards user-friendly, well-intentioned content. 

Publish a blog instead.

Blogs kickstart online marketing strategies. When used correctly, they humanize companies and provide selfless service to customers. 

Well-run blogs require care and productivity. Thoughtfully pick article topics. Use Google Analytics to figure out what your customers want to know. Don’t focus on keywords. Make quality content.

It’s that simple.

Companies with blogs generate 67% more leads every month than those without them.

2. Don’t use a ton of social accounts.

Like SEO, social media marketing plays a part in every successful online marketing strategy. 79% of the US population has a social media profile, so it makes sense to use a profile for your business.

It can be tempting to try and have a presence on every popular social platform. Try to resist that urge.

Not all social media sites work for every business. A neighborhood beauty salon, for example, wouldn’t regularly post discounts on a Reddit account. It’s essential to have a plan for each account you make.

Managing social media accounts also takes care and time. 

Social media is a lot to juggle. You have to make regular, relevant posts, engage followers and track your performance. 

A better strategy might be to focus on one to two social media networks with hard-hitting campaigns with high success rates. 

Maintain one great social media page instead.

It’s better to bring lots of traffic to one page than get modest exposure on several poorly-managed accounts. Giveaways and online contests do wonders for brand awareness and consumer engagement. 

User-generated content (UGC) gives you content you know your audience is into.

For example, a company with an Instagram account could ask users to photograph themselves with a product, then tag it with a hashtag. Then, they could pick a photograph to win a coupon or a discount.

The best part about this strategy? It’s not expensive to get consumers involved. Just focus on offering value to your audience.

3. Don’t blast emails to purchased contact lists.

Much like buying social media engagement (i.e., Facebook Page likes/followers or YouTube video views or channel subscribers), purchased email lists are very hit-and-miss. You could have luck with them… or they could be a total waste of time and money.

Email contact lists often tempt SMB owners. It’s time-consuming to build from scratch, so buying them instead seems sensible.

Not so fast. Purchased contact lists are a terrible email marketing practice. There are several reasons for this:

  • Contacts in pre-made lists won’t recognize your business email, so very few, if any, will open your marketing blasts.
  • Anti-spam organizations could take action against you if users report your marketing emails as spam. After they do, it could take months or years to rebuild your IP’s reputation. That doesn’t even consider what it takes to improve your Sender Score.
  • Most reputable email marketing services won’t send emails to a purchased list on your behalf anyway. They don’t want to associate with spammers.
  • Your email service provider might restrict your ability to send emails if they catch you sending spam. That could freeze all your email marketing efforts.
  • Some purchased email lists are illegal! They violate the rules of consent under the CAN SPAM act. Contacts on a pre-made list didn’t consent to receive email communication from you. Sending email blasts to those addresses could be a liability. 

In short, don’t buy email contact lists. Spend time building them instead to get the best results.

Create a referral program instead.

A great way to collect customer contact info involves creating a referral system. With the right incentives, you can encourage customer loyalty and attract new consumers. That means long term insurance for your customer base. 

The key to a successful referral program for retail marketers lies in well-balanced incentives. 

Referral incentives shouldn’t hurt a company’s bottom line, but should also be worth your customer’s while.

There are as many types of referral programs as you can think of customer discounts. Some of the most successful (and inexpensive) are viral loops.

Final thoughts

Good, effective online marketing takes time and effort. SMBs can keep pace with the big guys. It all comes down to devising a solid strategic growth plan.

All you need to do is be proactive in your approach and identify relevant business opportunities. A stellar online program is in your reach!

Are you ready to grow together?