Ripped from the pages of our wildly popular webinar, The 5 Biggest Marketing Mistakes and Easy Ways to Fix Them, I have created a guide for you not only to identify the marketing mistakes you’re making, but fix them! So if you’re ready to stop making mistakes and start succeeding, read on!
Mistake #1: Writing Content Without a Plan
You write content, but it sits. And sits. And sits. Nobody is looking at it, there are no comments on your blog post, not a single share on social media. What’s the deal?
First you need to make sure that your content is on point. Everything you write needs to advance your image as an expert in your field, be well-written, and answer the questions that weigh on the minds of your audience. But even if you’re writing impeccable content, there is every chance that nobody is reading it. Why? Because you’ve failed to promote it.
Solution 1-A: Properly Promote Your Content
Publishing your content is just the first step. The next is to promote it. To do so, it’s best to create a content promotion plan that includes:
- Sharing smartly on social media. Share a link to your hottest new piece on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, or wherever you have the most engagement with your followers. Make this a tempting teaser, compelling them to stop looking at pictures of their friends and family and take the time to click over to your site.
- Mention your latest, greatest article in your email and print newsletters, including a link to the piece. Shorten the link in the print newsletter using a site like Bitly) Make the reader feel that if she doesn’t click the link she will be missing out on exclusive, necessary information.
- If you’ve written a killer article, be sure to add it to your follow-up campaign. You can print the article, sending it via snail mail, or include the link in your “thank you for contacting us” email.
Solution 1-B: Make the Most of News
There are two types of news you should be taking advantage of: evergreen and breaking news:
- Evergreen content. This is content that stays fresh and continues to pique the interest of your audience, year after year. Seasonal events are great example of this. A documented rise in searches for “car accident attorneys” has been seen on the 5th of July, so it would be wise to write and promote content that deals with accidents on the 4th of July. National safety campaigns such as distracted driving campaigns are another good example of evergreen content. And don’t forget to add these seasonal topics to your marketing calendar. What, you don’t have a marketing calendar? We’ll show you why you need one and how to create it below.
- Breaking news. Another way to grab hold of your audience is through breaking news. Unlike evergreen content, this event is hot, fast, and over before you know it! So when the news breaks, you’ll need to quickly and carefully write content—and ideally shoot a video—about the big story. Your goal here is to capture some of the traffic being generated by the story and to advance your image as an expert in your field.
One more note on content: people learn in different ways, so a variety of content, effectively promoted, will give you the best chance at capturing the attention of today’s content-overloaded consumer. Include FAQs, long-form blogs, and videos and ensure that every piece is perfectly written and edited before it goes live.
Mistake #2: Giving Up on Social Media
You feel like social media just isn’t working for you…that you post and tweet and nobody gives a hoot. And you know what? Maybe they don’t! If you’ve noticed any of these four failing social media clues it’s time to change up your social media posting plan:
- Your posts have very few likes, retweets, or +1’s.
- You have almost no followers or people who “like” your page.
- Nobody shares or retweets your posts.
- People seldom get to your website via social media.
Solution 2-A: Embrace the Social Media Game
You’re going to have to get social to be successful on social media. This means getting up the guts to ask people to like your page or follow you. The best way to do this is to make asking part of your everyday marketing practices. This means:
- Adding a request to like you on Facebook or follow you on Twitter (with links) in your email newsletters.
- As part of your outtake process, inviting satisfied clients, patients, or customers to stay in touch with you via Facebook.
- Using a Twitter follow request as your call to action in your content.
Solution 2-B: Keep Your Audience Engaged
Once you’ve hooked some followers, you need to keep reeling them in. Make sure your posts and the content you share are hyper-local and hyper-targeted to your perfect client. Pay attention to what works and what doesn’t. If images get people sharing and commenting, keep it up! If nobody responds to long-form content, don’t post these as much. And for all the insider Twitter tips you can handle, be sure to read our article 21 Tips From Our Very Own Queen of the Tweet, Hannah McNaughton.
Solution 2-C: Reach Out to Other Businesses
To give local businesses and boost further your own reach, be sure to tag other local businesses. If you do, chances are good that they will tag you back, follow you, or like your page. This is part of being a good online neighbor. To implement this strategy, tag those you do charity work with and local businesses whenever you interact with them. “Had a great time working with #yourfavoritecharity and can’t wait for next year!” “Nothing goes better with morning meetings than coffee and a muffin from @YourLocalCoffeeShop!”
Another way to connect with businesses in your area and nationwide is to join community sites such as LinkedIn, Avvo, and groups of interest on Google+. While you’re at it, be sure to follow your local radio stations, local TV stations, and local publications. Keep an eye on what they’re talking about, and if they delve into a topic you know a lot about, use your social media connections to offer your expert opinion, point out discrepancies, or help correct mistakes. As our client and friend Scott Grossman found out, keeping tabs on your local news outlets can land you on the radio, TV, or in a feature article!
Solution 2-D: Have Fun!
Sharing fun pictures in moderation (nobody wants to see a picture of your silly cat 365 days a year) is a fabulous way to increase social media engagement. One very effective way to do this is to work product placement into your shared images. Challenge your followers to take pictures of your bumper stickers on their car, your book on their desk, or anything else to improve the reach of your brand and to have a little fun. Make your free offers, and your audience, work for you!
Mistake #3: Writing Your Content Without an SEO Plan
If your content is failing to get the attention you think it deserves from Google, you may be doing content wrong. There are two primary reasons that your content could be getting ignored by Google and other search engines:
- You’re stuffing your content with keywords, especially the same keywords over and over again. This leads to over-optimization, so your pages compete with one another.
- Your content is too generic. This leads to your content not being found, as it has no keywords, no searchable terms, so it goes ignored.
Solution 3-A: Stop Stuffing, Start Editing
The solution is to find a balance between too many keywords and none at all. When writing content be informative, be precise, engage your audience, and don’t jam keywords into the copy just for SEO purposes. Keywords should be long-tailed, geo-specific and, most importantly, they should fit naturally into the content. A good editor, one who understands SEO, can help tremendously, as can getting a second opinion. Also, be sure to ask yourself, “Am I making one of these top ten SEO mistakes?“ Hint: many of them center around content, so be sure you check out the article.
Solution 3-B: Give Your Content a Second Look
Don’t be scared to look back at your content. We often dig into our old content, even performing an extensive content audit to see what’s working, what’s not, and what we can do to make old content new again. Not in the mood for a whole site audit? Then take a page from our SEO heavyweight Jamie. He did some work for a client, focusing on just the homepage and main practice area pages. Using the best variety of keywords in a natural way, he got a huge increase in the client’s organic traffic. His time commitment was only an hour, yet it yielded fantastic results: a 20 percent increase in organic traffic in just a few months!
Mistake #4: Shooting in the Dark
If you don’t have a solid plan, and if you aren’t checking to see if this plan is working, you will not succeed. Period! Just throwing out marketing without checking to see if it’s working is foolhardy and wasteful.
Solution 4-A: Make a Plan
Get a grip on what marketing efforts you’ve been making by:
- Creating a list of your service areas or products you sell. Order your list by importance.
- Asking yourself, “What have I done to promote this? What content have I written? Where have I advertised?” Do this for every service area or product.
- Determining exactly how much you have spent on each of these efforts, both in terms of time and money.
- Calculate your return on investment.
I’m not going to sugarcoat it; this is going to take some serious time and effort. But once you have all of your data in one place, you can easily update your list quarterly. Keeping your list current will give you a clear map of where you’ve been and where you’re going. And while the map may take time to create, without one you will continue to wander lost in the woods, your every marketing effort forcing you farther off course, when what you want is to be found…Found by new clients, new patients, or new customers.
Solution 4-B: Make a Marketing Calendar
Now that you know what you’re doing and how much you’re spending, it’s time to create a detailed marketing calendar.
This calendar needs to include all of the tasks you need to perform each month, and not only dates to write content, but dates to check back and see how things are working. This schedule needs to be realistic or you will quickly become frustrated.
Be sure your calendar includes trends, such as annual national and local events that can be used as starting points for writing evergreen content.
Schedule time to push out your content. Where will you promote your content and when? Write this down.
Mistake #5: Failing to Track Your Marketing
If you’re doing random acts of marketing, you’re likely also doing random acts of measurement. So add this to your calendar as well! You need to check back regularly on your campaigns, to understand exactly why your phone rings and why you’re getting online contacts. If you don’t track your marketing, you will never know what’s working and what’s failing. And as history repeats itself, you will continue to fall short of your marketing goals.
The Only Solution: Measure Everything
I cannot possibly overstate the importance of measuring every single measurable event. This means:
- Checking your social media stats. Are your social media efforts driving traffic to your website?
- Digging into your website. Is your content getting visitors? Where are they coming from? Does the page visitors land on get you a new contact? Which pages get shared on social media?
- Creating a very specific phone script for your receptionist. Include: Where did you hear about us? Have you visited our website; if so, how did you find it? Which ad did you see, this one or that one? Do you subscribe to our email newsletter? Have you downloaded any of our free offers? The more specific your questions are, the better. Even if you only get half of your new clients or patients to give you solid information, it’s a lot more than you had before!
- Taking advantage of your phone resources. Get a different, trackable phone number for each of your marketing campaigns.
- Track with Google’s URL Builder. Use this tool to keep an eye on the effectiveness of campaigns such as your email newsletter.
Congratulations! You made it through our list of the top five marketing mistakes! Hopefully you now know what mistakes you’ve been making, and precisely how to fix them and get your marketing back on track.
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