Whether you’re looking for weight loss tips or the best vacation spots, there’s a lot of bad advice out there. Unfortunately, inbound marketing is no different. With a steady stream of Google algorithm updates and ever-changing buyer behaviors, it can be tough to stay up-to-date on what you really need to be doing. But being a savvy marketer means taking the time to differentiate between tips to make your efforts more productive and advice that is just plain wrong. With so much information available across so many websites, where do you even start? To make it easy for you, here is six pieces of advice you can certainly ignore:
“You only need to be on [social media network] if your customers are using it.”
Some people object to certain social media platforms, or social media in general because they believe their customers aren't using it. Typically either one of two things is actually true:
Your current customers are on that social media network, and you should be too!
Your current customers aren’t there yet, but a lot of potential customers are, and you should be too!
Remember, you don't have to be on every social network, but you should be on ones that can help grow your business. A little digging and developing a strong inbound marketing strategy will show you where you need to be, so don’t listen to people who advise against trying a new social media platform because they don’t think anyone uses it.
“Use as many hashtags as possible to get more Twitter followers.”
#this #doesn’t #engage #new #customers #and #looks #like #spam
There's some advice floating around out there that the best way to get more retweets, favorites, and follows is through hashtagging like crazy. Those tweets that follow that advice end up coming off extremely unprofessional and difficult to read. But don’t forego hashtags all together. A report by Salesforce found that tweets with one or two hashtags receive 21% higher engagement than those with three or more hashtags. So use hashtags, just don't overdo it.
“Don’t worry about building up leads, just buy an email list.”
While it may be true that buying email lists will get you a lot of email addresses to blast, those people won't care at all what you're sending them. Most recipients won’t be interested in what you're selling if the first time they hear of you is through an email pitch. There simply isn’t a quick way to get all the organic leads you want. But by taking a little bit longer and doing it the correct way, you will get a list that will be much more engaged and much more likely to convert.
“In inbound marketing, the more personalization, the better.”
This has the right idea at its core, but there is such a thing as too much personalization. Including a few personalized details in an email can work wonders by making your subscribers trust you and feel like you know them. But if you personalize too much, you come off creepy and off-putting. Let’s take a quick quiz, which you rather see at the top of an e-mail:
Happy Holidays, Zack! Do you have all the gifts you need this year?
Happy Holidays, Zachary R. Fox! Do you have all the Samsung gifts you need this year for your Fort Myers, FL family and co-workers at Home Depot?
So even if you have detailed contact records for a lead or customer, don't weird them out too much by including every last bit of information in your marketing materials. It isn’t necessary, and it won’t be appreciated.
“If you don't use the exact keyword at least four times in the body of your page, Google won’t count it.”
This advice typically comes from someone who learned SEO techniques years ago and then stopped learning. Stop worrying about keyword density and how many times keywords appear in the copy of an article you're writing; it isn’t necessary anymore. You want to find topics that are highly searched, but you're not going to need to satisfy crazy keyword conditions to rank. There's lots more that goes into SEO than just keywords. Write naturally to engage readers and the sophisticated search engine algorithms we have now will know which terms you should be ranking for.
“Shorter forms are always better.”
The mindset here is that if a form looks too long, no one will fill it out, and your leads will plummet. That is only partially true. In reality, there's a trade-off on short forms vs. long forms. Short forms make it easier for people to convert to leads because they have fewer form fields to fill out and takes less time. With shorter forms, however, you'll tend to get lower quality leads even if you have more of them since they don’t have to be actually ready to commit to answer a few simple questions. Long forms, meanwhile, are the opposite. They have more fields, so fewer people fill them out, but those people are most likely more qualified for your sales process. Tailor the length of the form to the offer you're trying to get them to download.
Taking advice at face value or blindly following one rule or formula doesn't do anything to increase your marketing know-how. Long-term success will only come when you learn the rationale behind the advice and then decide for yourself if you should take it (or leave it)! Learn the basics of inbound marketing so you can wade through all of the advice for yourself with our free eBook “Beginner’s Guide to Inbound Marketing.”