Simply put, you can no longer afford to focus on one element of your marketing and put the rest out to pasture. Your prospects, customers and leads expect a fully integrated experience with your brand, and if your company doesn't provide one, your competitors will. Below are six mistakes most marketers make daily, and some suggestions on how to address them.
1. Marketing without a content strategy (or with a boring one)
If the mantra for veteran salespeople was "always be closing," the modern day equivalent for marketers is "always be publishing." As David Meerman Scott is fond of saying, "On the web, you are what you publish," so brands without a digital content strategy are already playing catch-up. Typically, the biggest hurdles for marketers without a content plan are a lack of inspiration (my industry is boring, no one will read the content) or a lack of resources. But you don't need a large team of writers to create a thriving content strategy: What you really need is a focused commitment to give your prospects, leads and customers content they can't get elsewhere. Need inspiration? Check out GE’s Pinterest page, the Zappos blog, Aaron Levie’s Twitter account or GrubHub’s Facebook page. All of them are a great reminder to all of us that your content, regardless of your industry and company size, doesn’t have to be boring or Hollywood-production levels to be effective.
2. Offering content without context
Some brands have a content strategy, but they are playing to an empty room because they don’t know anything about their audience. Case in point: A recent Razorfish study estimates that just 38% of marketers can segment prospects from existing customers for targeted marketing. There are few things more annoying to customers than being sold products they've already purchased, so instead of being tone-deaf, use tools and technology to inform how you market to people at every stage of the funnel. This can start small (with different calls to action based on the person’s lifecycle stage), but eventually it should include your entire web strategy so that every piece of content you show a prospect is infused with context for their interactions with your brand to date. Amazon, of course, has built a business on this concept, but the lesson holds true for all of us — matching content plus context is the secret sauce for a more personalized and lovable web experience for your customers.
3. Thinking slow and steady wins the race
In marketing, speed is a feature. If a website takes longer than three seconds to load, 40% of people will abandon the site. But the headache doesn't stop there. Slow sites also rank lower in search, meaning that people may never even find your site even if you have a great keyword strategy in place.This blog post from Greg Linden is from 2006, and even then researchers at both Google and Amazon found that half a second in load time could significantly impact everything from bounce rates to revenue numbers. If that was the case in 2006, imagine the impact it could have on your business now, in a world where we are far more connected than ever. Yottaa provides a free website speed test on its homepage to gauge your current performance, so start there, then test how your site responds on tablets, mobile and other devices. Most importantly, instead of thinking of a slow-loading massive banner image or additional lines of code running on your site as minor nuisance, think of time as money, because in the marketing world, it truly is.
4. Talking (or tweeting) about yourself non-stop
We all hate it when a fellow guest at a cocktail party talks ad nauseum about their own work, life and hobbies without taking any interest in the rest of the group. And yet, when it comes to social media, marketers assume consumers want to hear about the company non-stop: That’s simply not the case. The best brands invest 70-80% of time discussing content that helps their core audience live, work or play better — only the remaining 20-30% is about their product or service. When it comes to social media specifically,
Spend as much time listening as you do talking. Monitor what your customers are saying about their experiences, when they are interacting with your brand the most, and what types of content inspires the best conversations and social shares, then adapt accordingly.
5. Not knowing your numbers
Marketing used to be considered "arts and crafts" by senior executives, so knowing your numbers can not only determine the success as a company, but also your career as a marketer. If LTV, CAC, marketing-originated customer percentage, and time to payback sound like Latin to you, it’s time to brush off your math skills and put them to work. This primer is a good way to think about getting started, but to be honest, that should be just the beginning. You should know what your conversion rates look like for traffic to your site, conduct A/B tests regularly to gauge what’s working and what isn't, and create monthly targets for your team that are metrics-focused. Gone are the days where "impressions" or "positive sentiment" carry the day for marketers: Your CEO can't pay the bills with those. Your marketing efforts should impact your business and your bottom line, and the only way to prove that it does is by knowing your numbers and leveraging them to improve your efforts constantly.
6. Death by word count
The average adult attention span is 2.8 seconds, barely long enough to read a tweet, let alone absorb your 210 page ebook. To that end, create a content strategy that matches the way people actually consume content: Quickly, often and with a bias toward all things visual. With 90% of the information transmitted to your brain being visual, you can better your brand by spending more time showing people what you do, instead of simply telling them. This tenet is not relegated to your website, but also to your social channels: Highly visual content isn’t just more digestible, it’s also significantly more shareable.
The way people shop and buy has changed dramatically over the last decade. Whether you have a short period of time to engage a prospect or a limited window to impress your executive team, the six mistakes above are common pitfalls that often trip up even the best of marketers. As the late great Notorious BIG said, "things done changed." It’s about time marketers do too.
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